Dr Rukee Tjingaete
You don’t need to consult Figaro the earth while mathematical genius to ask why 32,000 laptops would cost N$180 million at an average laptop market-related price of N$6 500 per laptop. (I have surveyed the market). He would mock at you in his grave. The true estimate price would be in the range of N$208million or more.
In Namibia, they normally fool you by giving you a low estimate cost price at first to convince you that such project is financially viable. But once approved they slowly start to inflate figures with new calculations which in this case would be “justified” by well-crafted conventions that for many years have fooled Namibians which in this case would sound like these:”
(a) Hiring international and reputable consultants “to conduct feasibility studies on how these laptop would be used and to learn from other countries how laptops are used in online teaching”
(b) Hiring reputable companies on tenders to “distribute, transport, secure, preserve, provide and promote the use of laptops among the Namibian student populace”
(c) Hiring international consultants to “teach tertiary students how to clean and operate laptops in rural conditions”
(d) “Subsidizing private operators who would be given tenders to import laptop from China in a joint venture between Namibia and China to support online education in Nambia”
In the end the cost price that was initially given as N$180 million for this project will balloon up to over N$1 billion. This is how they have been stealing under the noses of the current and former administrations. First a project is proposed that it has benevolent end-results and benefits for the country. But as soon as it is approved, it degenerates into a self-enriching scheme for corrupt government officials and their cronies.
Oh God Cry my beloveth country.
Do the following self-enriching schemes ring a bell in your memory?
(1) The upgrade of Hosea Kutako International Airport by NAC that President Hage Geingob had to stop because of inflated costs?
(2) The inflated costs of the construction of the oil Storage Facility in Walvisbay in which Shafuda the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance was asked to account where up-to-date the public lacks the know-how about the outcome of the investigation
(3) The diamond polishing scheme in which over 320 million was gifted under dubious condition to a well-connected entrepreneur who is also implicated in the Fish-rot
(4) Attempts to inflate the costs of upgrading the Founding President’s resident from an initial cost of N$2.8 million to N$7 million that compelled him to publicly state that these figures were quoted without his knowledge
Namibian thieves and corrupt official are drunk with immunity and impunity which for many years have undermined public confidence. They now think they are smarter than anyone. Why not? If a young connected person of 24 years can work for two years and buy a house of N$15 million in Ludwigsdorf, a Merc and a Landcrouser and even travel to Dubai on holiday in two years and being adored for that, why not?
An introspection meeting was convened for the comrades to come together and devise better strategies for stealing and perfect corruption methods this is because none of the well-known thieves and corrupt government officials who even attended the meeting was reprimanded, suspended or expelled during the introspection to convince the public that SWAPO is now a born-again party that seriously rejects corruption.
Namibian tertiary students may need laptops but not at the expense of their tuition fees. They need more public libraries and public internet centers and modern ITC infrastructure especially in rural areas because such facilities are sustainable and of longer use compared to a laptop that can be sold or stolen or infected with permanent virus or fall from the table and perish prematurely. It is true that online teaching is here to stay beyond the current Corona Virus phase. But this disease should not be exploited to feed the stomachs of corrupt government officials and their cronies.
Fortunately, the world is slowly moving toward finding the cure for the disease. Therefore, we must watch against corrupt officials who want to reap benefits from the current unpredictable conditions and fear. Watch their lips.
It was heartening to learn how Namibian student bodies for the first time had abandoned political patronages to come together and fight for a common cause. It is a shame that unions are still stuck to political partisanship unlike the students who are now waking up.
In modern Namibian society, the students unlike the conservative political partisan unions that are compromised and captured are becoming the true champions of our revolution within the current revolution against corruption for the sake of our revolutions for social and economic justice. The youth that we wanted to undermine at independence are now taking the bull by its horns.
Namibian academics and university lecturers must stand up and support the students to reject the dubious N$180 million scheme of “free laptops” at the expense of their tuition. The tertiary institutions in Namibia are also struggling to survive because many students are not able to pay their tuition and bills for universities to function and in turn pay the salaries of lecturers.