WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA – Namibia’s response to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has drawn praise and admiration, with a top delegate during the 47th Plenary Assembly Session of the SADC Parliamentary Forum (SADC PF), saying it “offers priceless lessons to be shared”.
While thanking Namibia’s Vice President Nangolo Mbumba for officially opening the Plenary which was held virtually from last Friday, SADC PF Vice President Senator Isaac Mmemo Magagula, hailed Namibia for innovatively using data and science to respond to the pandemic.
“It would be remiss of me not take this opportunity to salute the Government of the Republic of Namibia, under the capable stewardship of President Hage Geingob and his team, for responding to the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic in a manner that has been roundly admired at home and abroad,” Senator Magagula said.
He said Namibia’s response to COVID-19 had “kept casualties from this deadly pandemic at the barest minimum compared to other countries.”
He said from a communications point of view, President Geingob and his administration had made information related to Namibia’s response to COVID-19 available to the nation as and when it became available.
“This has been achieved through the setting up of the country’s COVID-19 Information Centre. To the best of my knowledge, very few countries in the SADC Region have such a facility. Through this Information Centre, the Government has been able to keep the nation up to speed with respect to the progression of the pandemic and how government is responding to it.”
He said by setting up the Information Centre, the Government of Namibia had shown that “it is a very transparent administration”.
He said: “Nothing is hidden. There are frequent briefings and there is a hotline handling thousands of calls 24/7! Additionally, the manner in which cabinet ministers have been working closely with the President during his frequent media briefings on the pandemic is exemplary and highly commendable.”
Senator Magagula noted that Namibia’s response had drawn praise from the Regional Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and global publications “who have rightly hailed it as best practice”.
He added: “I find it extremely laudable that Namibia, under the visionary leadership of President Geingob, has so far achieved the incredible feat of largely containing the pandemic to only two regions: Erongo and Khomas. Well-placed sources say that about 80 percent of the COVID-19 cases in the country are in these two regions – and that is not where the bulk of the population reside.”
He put Namibia’s celebrated response to COVID-19 down to evidence-based planning and implementation.
“It seems to me that Namibia has very effectively used data and science to ensure that decisions and responses to the pandemic are evidence-informed and decentralized to communities.”
He said there were indications, also, that Namibia had managed to adapt lessons learned in responding to HIV and AIDS to tackle COVID-19.
“Indeed, there has been repurposing of existing HIV and AIDS tools and architecture to fight COVID-19.”
The Eswatini lawmaker said Namibia’s response to COVID-19 was evidence-backed, multi-sectoral and very well-coordinated.
“Where in the world does one see the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Health pulling in the same direction? That is the norm in the Land of the Brave and the President is providing hands-on, transformational leadership. We can all draw lessons from that,” he said.
On the long-awaited transformation of the SADC PF into a SADC Regional Parliament, Senator Magagula thanked President Geingob for lending his support.
“We draw inspiration from his assured support and we shall not tire in our pursuit of transformation regardless of the obstacles. Failure is not an option.”
The 47th Plenary of SADC PF – which brings together 15 national parliaments in SADC – was held under the theme: “The role of Parliaments in strengthening accountability during a pandemic: The case of Covid-19”