Today marks a historic visit of Namibian President, Hage Geingob in Botswana on a one day tour of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) headquarters in his capacity as chairperson. The leading question as he enters the iconic building situated in the northern corner of the Central Business District (CBD) to meet and greet the Secretariat staff, is how ready is he to eliminate the longstanding allegations of corruption levelled against top management and cadres.
His visit to the country was announced by President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi on Saturday when addressing the media at the Sir Seretse Khama Airport upon his arrival from Davos where he attended the World Economic Forum. Masisi said he had an occasion when he was about to leave to go to Davos and when he was there to talk to President Hage Geingob who is the chairman of SADC.“I might as well let you know, he will be primarily visiting SADC headquarters as the chairman on February 1st (today) for a one day visit”.
A press release from SADC Secretariat circulated on Wednesday states that the key objectives of the visit are to enable the SADC Chairperson to appreciate the work done by the Secretariat in facilitating the SADC regional agenda and to provide guidance on the Secretariat’s implementation of SADC Programmes including the SADC Theme during the Chairperson’s tenure of office.
Geingob will also address the Secretariat staff, inform himself about the operation of the organisation and review the implementation of the decisions of the 38th Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government, held in Windhoek, Namibia in August 2018
Geingob, a sound administrator himself famous for intolerance of corruption is amongst the few regional leaders who spoke strongly against the alleged rampant corruption at SADC headquarters following the release of an audit report in 2011 which was first discussed in Gaborone in February 2012.
By then, Geingob was Namibian Minister of Trade and Industry and chairperson of the SADC Council of Ministers. Handing over the baton to Angolan Minister of Planning Ana Dias Lourenco, Geingob catalogued the corruption allegations levelled against top management cadres of the SADC Secretariat. He said they included issues such as recruitment and contracts, financial management, travelling expenses and per diem, as well as how often staff members are required to submit mission reports.
He further revealed that concerned staff members of the then SADC Secretariat requested the outgoing chairperson of SADC and Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2011 to institute a forensic audit into operations at the Secretariat. Today, close to a decade later, though the allegations of corruption practices are still stated on annual audit reports and the perpetrators of the alleged white collar crime continue to walk scot free. After taking over as SADC chairperson in August, Geingob promised to promote the SADC Common Agenda to ensure sustainable and equitable economic growth and socio-economic development in the region and to promote common political values and maintain democracy, peace, security and stability in the region.