Namibia: presidency snubs meeting with scribes

The Office of the Presidency last night cancelled a meeting with journalists meant to discuss objections raised against president Hage Geingob’s press secretary, Alfredo Hengari, claiming that only a handful out of the 56 concerned journalists confirmed participation.

Sometime in September, a group of 56 journalists wrote to Geingob to express their disappointment at the tainted relationship with his press secretary, who is accused of meddling with journalists’ work after which the president agreed to meet with the group yesterday morning to address the issue.

The meeting did not go according to plans after it was cancelled due to poor participation by scribes. This has been confirmed in a statement released by the Presidency yesterday.

“Unfortunately, due to poor subscription to the meeting, the presidency is left with no option but to cancel the meeting,” the statement read.

The statement further specified that the president was going to deliver a speech during the meeting, emphasizing on some of the changes he has made in realizing press freedom.

Matthias Haufiku, one of the 10 journalists who would participate in the meeting, says he is not surprised by the latest attempt of the presidency to paint the press corps in a bad light.

The freelance journalist says it is disheartening that the Presidency has resorted to formulating lies to hide its weaknesses.

“The Presidency wanted the entire group of concerned journalists to attend the meeting, but as a group of professionals, we deemed it impractical to dispatch such a large group due to a myriad of factors. We duly notified the Presidency well in advance that we will only send 10 people. There is e-mail communication to validate this,” he says.

Haufiku says the group also wanted to comply with Covid-19 regulations, which state gatherings of only 50 people are allowed.

Haufiku says the Presidency’s claim that there was a lack of subscription is untrue and is a clear attempt to create the view that the press corps is divided.

Liberty Pazvakawambwa

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