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New Era Newspaper Friday April 6, 2018

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10 Friday, April 6 2018 | NEW ERA thought leaders Opinions in this section must not exceed 800 words. Shorter pieces will enjoy preference and must be emailed to TwitterSphere Hage G. Geingob @hagegeingob My State visit to China was a success. We secured opportunities for Namibian beef exports; increased STE transfers into - McHenry Venaani @mvenaani - Calle Schlettwein @CHGSchlettwein - project-by-project basis. To ensure win-win impact Namibia’s interests must be covered. entered into. Marvellous Shilongo @marve_sh mibia need to stop with the misconception that everyone knows them. Sometimes I ML @aameML consumption is imported. ooeygooey @ooeygooey - WayneThatGuy @FestusMalakia - Clemens v. Doderer @clemensdoderer - Shona Ngava @themediaguy01 corruption with success. Minister Farrakhan@LouisFarrakhan Government has legal mandate on genocide talks our commentator Kae Matundu- - - ictim communities have continued to demand - such conversations that we were made to We have not signed new loan with China D discussed. - - - - Dr Zedekia Ngavirue - reparations. There are three sub-issues that we have had to confront. - The other issue was their attempt to - Calle Schlettwein - - - - short of our expectations. posed of experts from both countries can procedure. *Dr Zedekia Ngavirue is Namibia’s special envoy in the genocide reparation negotiations with Germany. these markets. private investments and cooperation in tax and customs administration. Loan a project-by-project basis. consideration for a win-win impact. For - * Calle Schlettwein is Namibia’s minister

Friday, April 6 2018 | NEW ERA THOUGHT LEADERS 11 President didn’t decide alone on May Day clean-up Following what one thought may have been a consensus and an agreement between President Hage Geingob and the labour unions to engage on May Day in a national clean-up operation, media headlines seem to have it otherwise. Later, the President ate humble pie and bowed to pressure, but for what exactly? One would have thought the president could only have been fed humble pie and said to bow to pressure if the decision to have a clean-up campaign on May Day was his own unilateral decision. Certainly, the unions have much explaining to do in this regard against the background of media headlines giving the impression that the president rammed this decision down their throats. This goes against the very essence of consultations, which was the reason why the unionists had an audience with the head of state to exchange ideas on this issue and others. One such issue, which necessarily may not have been on the menu of the unionists but which ensued, is May Day, and the national mop-up campaign. Certainly, this could not have been a complex issue to catch the unions by surprise when it arose, as it may have with the president proposing that the day also be used for the envisaged mop-up PSEMAS and Methealth arrangement a bad deal he annual 2018/19 budget tabled by the Minister of Finance, Calle Schleitein, on March 8, 2018, allocated .5 billion to the Public Service mployees Medical Aid Scheme PSEMAS), which has, as its obective, ‘to assist its members with he cost of medical care’. However, PSEMAS, as a medial aid scheme for public service mployees, has been lacking in his very regard, with medical ractitioners refusing to treat its embers without an upfront cash ayment to be reimbursed at a ater date because of failure by its dministrator, Methealth to honour ts contractual agreement and pay hese medical practitioners on time or services provided. The member-PSEMASethealth-health practitioner rrangement is one that has raised yebrows over the years and as received prominence in the edia due to the negative effects n most, if not all, of its value hain members, which begs the uestion of why the value chain ctually exists and what other opions there are to make it shorter nd more responsive to those who t is intended to serve. The current set up sees ethealth, as the administrator, playing the role of a middleman in administering a fund, which raises the question of why the Ministry of Finance does not explore the viability of making PSEMAS a its clients at both ends of the value chain, namely, its members and health practitioners. Methealth, among others, is responsible for the processing, authorisation, paying out and auditing of claims by its clients, namely health practitioners. A job with roughly an 180-day waiting period, which often lasts longer as health practitioners often complain that their claims for payment can take periods of up to 15 months to get settled while other practitioners have their claims paid in less than 60 days. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests favouritism in the payment of claims with those who have connections and friendly relationships with Methealth receiving priority. However, healthcare providers who have been experiencing these shortcomings are not willing to go on record to address the issue for fear of victimisation and future delayed payments. Methealth states, as one of its objectives, ‘access to affordable healthcare for Namibians’, campaign. It is hard to believe that the unionists, given the nature of their meeting with the head of state, may have been presented with a fait accompli. Meaning they must have been at liberty not only to air their principled feelings but also to make counter-proposals. indeed the unionists made their principled feelings known there and then to the head of state and he was negative to the point of forcing the matter on the unionists. Nor would one want to believe that the president, by suggesting a tidy up on May Day, maliciously intended to downgrade the day. If anything, it surely must have been an oversight on the part of the head of state, which the unionists, as it behoves them, as the champions of the rights of the workers – and thus the custodians of May Day – must there and then have pointed out the undesirability and incongruousness of such an idea, which vicariously and unintentionally may have denigrated the day. One understands the unionists requested to meet the president. Thus, they must have gone there with their agenda. Surely, one such pertinent issue must have been the celebration of May Day. Indeed, May Day being an important day on the yearly calendar of the workers, and thus the unionists, if not the most important, it must have featured prominently in these consultations. To have been rammed down their throats reversely from its usual celebration and substituted for a tidy up campaign, if the unionists indeed did allow this to happen then they simply betrayed the workers. In all honesty, how and for what can one really blame the president? For daring to suggest a clean-up campaign on May Day? Why blame him if the unionists themselves could not put a foot down and impress upon him the impermissibility and unacceptability of relegating such an important day on the yearly calendar of the workers. Simply, the president consulted on this noble task to be carried out and one is sure he must have been open to suggestions. on the part of the unionists who had the opportunity to make their position clear to the president but did not seem to have done so only to warrant the intervention of the International Trade Union Confederation (ICTU) to convince the president about the unacceptability and indecency of his proposal. Only to implicate the president in unwarranted negative media publicity insinuations and innuendos that he intended not only to hijack the day but also to which is an objective they have not been realising and have undermined PSEMAS patients whom they are supposed to service all along. The relationship between Methealth and its clients has gone sour over the years and health practitioners have complained time and again that they suffer irreparable damage with their own suppliers when their overdue accounts from Methealth are not settled timeously, which means they in turn cannot pay their suppliers on time, cannot meet their obligations with regards to their overhead costs and cannot plan for the future and invest in expanding their practices, a system which is not sustainable and has led to the closure of upcoming practi- pharmacists who have had to close shop due to the above-mentioned. Recent media reports state that PSEMAS has a staff complement of 30 individuals servicing about 100,000 members or approximate- to reason that the scheme itself, outmost importance. However, it is when the scheme starts to become a target for systematic abuse by those who should be its caretakers denigrate it. Certainly, the unionists who met the president owe the public an explanation. One cannot but be conscious the Swapo Party of Namibia, of which Dr Hage Geingob is now the president, are an important cog in the party’s governing works. It goes without saying that they they would realise. It is thus convince the president about the sacrosanctity of the day to them and the workers, only to run to ICTU while that opportunity is and has been all along at their doorsteps. Unless the unions want to tell us they are now only a shadow of their former selves and the alliance partnership in Namibia has never been. If the unions are really not able to make the president wise on such a basic issue (for which surely he cannot need much brain-bushing for someone of his calibre and conviction), can they really be trusted to ensure more fundamental and cardinal matters on behalf of the workers they represent on the national agenda, given that much still needs to be done regarding the rights of workers in Namibia? Vitalio Angula or rather when the members of the scheme start to become quite on matters its members become disadvantaged. Seven years ago, Windhoekbased specialists would be willing to see PSEMAS patients and would only require these patients to pay the 10 percent levy upfront. Today, those doctors are charging these same patients an upfront cash payment to be reimbursed by PSEMAS later. It is not the doctors who are at fault, neither should the blame be solely placed on PSEMAS, but the administrator Methealth, is not working in the best interest of the PSEMAS membership and it is the members who ultimately suffer. - Vitalio Angula is a social activist and political commentator, who holds a Bachelor of Technology Degree in Marketing from the Namibia University of Science and Technology THIS WEEK IN QUOTES “We are mature, we can choose our friends, we can choose what we want for, and what’s good for us,” President Hage Geingob in cementing his argument that said China is not colonising Africa. He made the remarks during his state visit to that country last week. “Namibians are sometimes very negative. Who eats uranium here? Who eats uranium? We want to develop our rural areas where there is no electricity. But just talk about nuclear [power reactor], it is a taboo,” Attorney General Albert Kawana on what he calls the public misconceptions and false information regarding Namibia and her relationship with China. corruption in general and the importance of academic freedom and freedom in particular,” land activist Job Amupanda in denying that his social media postings about then Attorney-General Sacky Shanghala were defamatory. “I wholeheartedly appreciate the con- upon me to be at the helm of its admin- Maria Omahake Region, on her appointment. “We join our South African colleagues in paying tribute to this courageous woman who joined the ranks of many apartheid system till the very end,” National Assembly Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi on the death of South Africa anti-apartheid activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. “All in all, Sacky was the megaphone, a political megaphone of Swapo,” Dr Charles Mubita on the passing of his friend and former radio colleague Sackey Namugongo, who passed away on Monday. Sackey Namugongo “Those seeking to downplay the events tend to make use of selective quotes from what they consider reliable sources on the German side. This is a waste of time and energy. After all, we can easily produce at least as much credible evidence by soldiers, missionaries, observers Karl Lichtenberg and Henning Melber on German genocide against Namibian communities. Compiled from New Era editions from this week

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New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167