THREATS by the Namibia Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to close the Hosea Kutako and Ondangwa airports ahead of the festive season, seen in the context of pressure to force the Namibia Airports Authority (NAC) to spend N$360 million to upgrade these two facilities, smacks of the country being held hostage, in order to benefit tenderpreneurs and their political backers.
It emerged this week that the NAC and the country is being held ransom by the NCAA, allegedly at the behest of officials and politicians who were bribed to the tune of N$60 million, which the new NAC board believes was factored into the inflated tenders for the upgrades.
This shocking state of affairs points to a deeper malaise that threatens the nation, as the corrupt continue with their attempts to empty the State coffers, despite a raft of austerity and anti-corruption measures implemented by the current government administration.
This is a battle that President Hage Geingob and his Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein must win; and in the above matter, the new NAC board, under the stewardship of chairperson Rodgers Kauta and his deputy Beverley Gawanas-Vugs, must be supported, as they continue to keep the tender-hungry wolves at bay.
It is a direct insult to the country, if it is true that the airports’ closure plot has been hatched as part of a double-edged sword – pressure to remove the new board and attempts to get the government to spend hundreds of millions on dubious tenders.
Safety and security concerns at the nation’s airports should obviously be paramount, but according to documentation in Confidente’s possession, the licence for the Hosea Kutako International Airport was renewed in August, while the Ondangwa Airport’s licence was renewed in September.
It boggles the mind then that the NAC has been given 14 days, from 30 November, to do upgrades at Ondangwa, while being given seven days to do the same at Hosea Kutako, and to explain what will be improved.
This in itself presents, in our minds, clear evidence that the NCAA clamouring around upgrading these airports, amid safety concern claims, may be an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the nation, and is a scheme to enrich individuals who have dipped their fingers into the kickback pot.
The pressure on the new NAC board also comes at a time when the political sands have firmly shifted within the ruling party, in favour of President Hage Geingob and those who support his pledge to deal effectively with corruption in the country.
After the just-ended Swapo Congress, which saw the election of Geingob’s team, it is clear that the days of looting and plunder are about to reach a swift end.
The ruling party’s congress’s wholehearted support of the president, his slate and the new and improved Swapo Central Committee and Politburo, bears testament to that.
Namibia can ill-afford, during these economic headwinds, to be left to the mercies of those who want to milk the system for their own gain, through greasing and facilitating the awarding of tenders.
The battle lines between the new NAC board, and those being used by corrupted Works and Transport Ministry politicians and officials is clear, and the ridiculous impasse about closing airports should be dealt with contemptuously by those who have sewn close treasury’s purse strings to the bribed and bought.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015