Cde Iipinge’s tantrums counter productive

RECENT tantrums thrown at NSFAF and the Ministry of Higher Education, Training and Innovation by Swapo Youth League Secretary for Education Hofni Iipinge over a gadget tender are counterproductive and smack of unnecessary grandstanding which should be chastised with impunity.

While Iipinge has the right to air his views on the state of education in the country, his statement titled ‘SPYL dissatisfaction on service delivery by the Ministry of Higher Education and NSFAF through its officials’ raises alarm about a tender that had already been cancelled by NSFAF acting CEO Kennedy Kandume, 27 days prior to his rant.

A cancellation letter dated August 3 2020 which was shared publicly clearly has Kandume saying that despite receiving recommendations in the tender to supply 32 000 laptops, they did not reflect the Fund’s intentions to have the bid shared among multiple suppliers and hence the tender was to be cancelled in terms of section 54 (1) (g) of the Public Procurement Act.

Iipinge goes on to make unsubstantiated allegations that students learning processes have been heavily affected by delays caused by public servants and individuals who are trying to enrich themselves with students’ money through corruption adding that, “These kinds of practices are uncalled for and they are putting the name of Swapo Party into disrepute and its leadership”.

Without doubt, Iipinge could be forgiven for having had missed the memo on the cancellation of the tender but what is clear is that the unjustified attacks exhibit his inconsistent approach towards the plight of students having had a muted response to the many challenges that have affected students since the turn of the year.

Corruption is a social evil that we should all aim to get rid of in our society but claims of corrupt practices -particularly in public administration- should be accompanied by reasonable justification or evidence if we are to effectively deal with its ramifications. This is more so important in the difficult time that we find ourselves of Covid-19 where our new normal has been forcing us to try measures that we are not accustomed to.

Baseless claims and rants could emerge harmful even when they were intended with good measure.

We also find it interesting that Iipinge and some his colleagues in the Youth League have sprung out over a dead rubber issue and have sang an anti-corruption chorus but these comrades have been quiet about corruption in other domains in the public space. Even when foreign entities have been abusing the public procurement purse and benefitting hundreds of millions in pharmaceutical tenders, these comrades have been quiet. The very same people have also opted to give a muted response to fingers pointed at them via the Fishrot scandal in which some of them have been accused of  pocketing money from the Fishrot enablers.

We therefore urge Iipinge and his fellow colleagues to be consistent in their approach and if their true intention is to build the country and productively impact lives, they should desist from selective judgement and alarmist tendencies as in this current case.