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Economy - Development | Politics

Namibia's new anti-corruption stance hailed

afrol News, 1 April - Namibia's new President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has announced a new zero-tolerance policy towards corruption and inefficiency. Government was to address corruption "with a sledgehammer." This new effort by President Pohamba was today hailed by Namibian human rights groups, saying corruption had "become endemic" during ex-President Sam Nujoma's era.

Already during his inaugural speech on 21 March this year, President Pohamba declared "zero tolerance for waste and corruption" and solemnly pledged that he would personally set an example in that regard.

Addressing his first cabinet meeting yesterday, President Pohamba listed several concrete preventive and curative measures to be instituted to eradicate corruption, lethargy and inefficiency in the public service. President Pohamba's anti-corruption administrative policies include meritorious recruitment of civil servants, restriction on internal and foreign junkets, enforcement of Ministerial accountability and strengthening of the existing public service legislation.

He told Namibia's new ministers that his government "is fully committed to addressing corruption with a sledgehammer". According to 'The Namibian', President Pohamba also directed Prime Minister Nahas Angula "to put in place immediately effective legislative measures necessary for the efficient and proper management of our parastatals."

Namibia's National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) today strongly commended the President anti-corruption stance. "Corruption has become endemic in Namibia during the last 15 years under former President Sam Nujoma's authoritarian rule," noted NSHR director Phil ya Nangoloh in a statement sent to afrol News today.

According to Mr Nangoloh, the structural deficiencies during the Nujoma administration had enhanced corruption. This included "lack of transparency, disrespect for the rule of law, impunity and little or non-existent separation of powers and other checks and balances." While President Nujoma often had spoken out against corruption this had "very little if any impact on the scourge and on mismanagement, as no action had been taken against corrupt elements in the public service and semi-state corporations."

The NSHR however cautioned that, in order for the President to become successful in his anti-corruption crusade, "there has to be, first of all, active promotion and consolidation of the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and other checks and balances."

This, according to the Namibian human rights group also meant that corrupt practices, such as jobs-for-comrades as well as nepotism or favouritism in the granting of loans, shares in the fishing and other industries and state tenders as well as public procurement "must be restricted to the Nujoma era," noted Mr Nangoloh.

Ex-President Nujoma was however commended for that fact that Namibia was being one of a few UN member states that have ratified the UN Convention against Corruption. The country has an Office of the Ombudsman and an anti-corruption commission is to be established soon.

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