Shangula ducks visiting Walvis
23 July 2020 | Health
Health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula is adamant that he will not be travelling to the Erongo Region, specifically Walvis Bay, which is the epicentre of the country's Covid-19 pandemic, saying it would compromise his ability to perform as a minister.
“It is not a problem to visit, but you have to understand that when I go there, I will be quarantined and when I come back, I will be out of circulation for 14 days. It means I cannot direct the response which is my main responsibility,” he said.
The situation in Erongo has escalated to the extent that throngs of people, including Covid-19 positive patients, yesterday abandoned a quarantine facility at Henties Bay, claiming poor treatment from the health ministry.
Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Ipinge has also increasingly called on the health minister to visit Erongo and especially Walvis Bay. Shangula told Namibian Sun he cannot visit the region simply because people want “somebody there”.
Serious leadership needed
Former prime minister Nahas Angula, however, begged to differ, and said a crisis like this calls for serious political leadership.
“Not only the minister but perhaps even Vice President Nangolo Mbumba must visit Erongo and Walvis Bay. Of course, they can wear protective wear so that they do not have to be quarantined afterwards, but people are restless and need to see their leaders. We now have people calling and asking for advice,” he said.
The Landless People's Movement (LPM) has also called for urgent intervention from President Hage Geingob.
“Shangula and the governor of Erongo, Neville Andre, have failed the people of the region. Numbers are rising, yet President Geingob did not even visit the region to ascertain the facts on the ground, offer solidarity, increase funding, offer more accommodation facilities and motivate people to stay indoors,” LPM said.
Put differences aside
The opposition party has also urged Shangula to put his political differences with Ipinge aside and act in the interest of Namibians.
“It is regrettable for him to say that he does not get reports from Ipinge when his staff are caught napping on the job, while the epidemic is rearing its ugly head in the region.
“Shangula's comments should be condemned, as they show lack of commitment, deliberate negligence and lack of cooperation to work with teams on the ground, seemingly due to their political association.”