Criminalise shameful name dropping

THE widely popularised fishrot documentary aired by Aljezeera on Sunday has shown us that name dropping is not just a harmless, albeit unedifying practice perpetrated by inadequate individuals but if uncontained, can bring serious reputational harm to both our leaders and country.

Allegations peddled by the fishrot masterminds that President Hage Geingob sourced for campaign funds through them are not only void of truth but exhibit an ugly culture that is becoming deeply rooted in our country where scrupulous businessmen falsely associate themselves with the President for self-gain.

Since his inauguration as President in 2015, President Geingob has always maintained that his name should never be used for material gain and through his own standing motto, declared zero tolerance to corrupt practice.

Knowing Namibia’s problem of name-droppers, in 2016, Geingob went to the extent of saying that he would not entertain entrepreneurs seeking appointments with him to discuss tenders and business plans referring such appointments to line ministries and relevant offices.

We recall that this was done to create scope for greater transparency which to this day remains one of the positive take-aways from President Geingob’s first term of office.

What is important to realise is that most of the people who indulge in senseless name dropping are narcissistic. They’re more inclined to believe they are unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).

However, now more than ever, this can never be allowed to happen at the expense of the fiscus or the country as a whole.

As we have known for a long time now, government’s financial woes have been acerbated by public servants indulging in perilous acts some of which get their way via the use of names of powerful individuals.

As a gap stop measure, we also recommended that Namibia’s filthy rich tycoons, Swapo bigwigs and wheeler-dealers, who live in lavish mansions sprawling across vast acres of space with landscaped surroundings and drive luxury cars, face a lifestyle audit together with others who have for decades manipulated government systems for personal gain.

It is no secret that some public officials currently own property worth billion inclusive of enormous farms. Some can afford to buy luxury vehicles such as the latest Ferrari’s and the 2018 edition of the Range Rover yet their incomes are not equivalent to such spending hence the question of where they get this money from needs to be interrogated.

We have to come to understand that corruption has become a major problem in recent times and partly explain the financial crisis that the government now finds itself in. Whilst financial overextension has always been the first step towards being bribed or at least being open to bribery and corruption, a move to criminalise name dropping could be one way to stop the leaking taps bleeding government of millions if not billions of tax payers’ money.

As a publication, we have always maintained that corruption has never done this country any good, and in asserting this long held view we reiterate that it must be uprooted with the tenacity it deserves.

For this reason, we should now as a nation come to a point where we have to admit that fraudulent misrepresentation potentially entail criminal liability and these should be investigated and, if criminality is found, they should be charged.