PDM promises 120 clinics in first 100 days of office

By Maria Hamutenya and Paulina Ndalikokule

POPULAR Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani says his party will provide one clinic in each of Namibia’s 120 national constituencies within the first 100 days of office, if elected into power.

Venaani made the remarks at a media event recently during the launch of the party’s manifesto for the Presidential and National Assembly election scheduled for 27 November.   

He said PDM’s ‘One Constituency, One Clinic’ policy would be implemented as a matter of priority, something he claims the Swapo Party has failed to do within its 29 years in power.

“We shall provide clinics in the 120 constituencies in Namibia by buying 12-metre shipping containers, which will be converted into smart clinics to be serviced by at least one graduate nurse,” the opposition leader proposed.

PDM in alliance with the United People’s Movement was the first out of the starting blocks last week when it launched its manifesto among 17 registered parties, with the outspoken Venaani as its presidential candidate.

Its manifesto, titled ‘Strategy Namibia: Agenda for Change and Transforming our Nation’, will be the PDM’s guiding plan if they come to power. Venaani noted that under the proposed ‘One Constituency, One Clinic’ policy, his government would help pharmacists open pharmacies and mini-hospitals in remote villages.

He added that they would provide four-wheeled motorcycles to service patient needs in rural areas and to transport pregnant women to clinics, as is done in Uganda and other parts of the world.

Venaani also said his party would offer free sanitary pads to every female learner to maintain good hygiene. More generally, he said learners would also be provided with free education from lower to upper primary grades and in priority courses, such as engineering and science at tertiary institutions.

While optimistic about the party’s prospects of toppling the long-reigning ruling Swapo Party at this year’s elections, PDM also wants to build institutions of higher learning in every region for quality education with emphasis on vocational training.

“This year presents the opposition parties the best chance to break the two-thirds majority and bring down the ruling party because of the plethora of mismanagement and their corruption activities,” he stressed.

He plans to provide free erven to urban poor people through a ‘One Namibian, One Erf’ policy which the party believes will be the best solution to housing and land reform. “Those with illegal shacks in informal settlements will own those plots, we will also provide a housing guarantee fund to assist them so they are able to build descent homes,” he said.

His party further plans to create opportunities for the youth by encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship. “We shall launch a new scheme to provide collateral-free credit up to 50,000 for entrepreneurs, guaranteeing 50 percent of the loan amount for females…”

Venaani further added that to ensure increased participation of the youth in society he will launch a specific awareness and treatment programme to tackle addiction among the youth to protect them from the harmful effects of substance abuse and addiction.

PDM also has plans to build three desalination plants to transform the agricultural sector. They aim to establish desalination plants to pump water to all the parts of the country in three key locations, including one in Luderitz, one in Kunene region and another between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay to boost agricultural output and to better support farmers.

Through agricultural transformation, Venaani hopes to reduce the unemployment rate to 11% from the current 28%. “You cannot industrialise, mechanise and have a productive agriculture sector if you don’t have water. If we want to bring jobs in the country, we must make sure that we have an agricultural sector that is mechanised, modernised and that can be able to feed our own people,” he said.

The plans of the party include capitalising on renewable resources to increase energy output, to empower women and youth, and to reduce the size of cabinet to only 15 ministers and four deputies, among others.