Whites who make less than 5% of Namibia’s 2,4 million people control almost 80% of the country’s wealth and for this matter they are being urged to share with the poor.
President Hage Geingob says white Namibians should share the wealth they have accumulated over the years otherwise the less privileged might take it.
He made these remarks during a courtesy call with the newly established Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) headed by Nangula Uaandja at State House last week.
“We are not saying white people must give everything up but we must share. We must share and if we don’t, they [the have-nots] will take it from us by force and destroy everything,” Geingob said.
The president was explaining to the NIPDB executive team and board that peace and development will come second if inequality is rife and the unemployment rate continues to increase.
“When inequality is so rampant you cannot speak of peace and development. You can have good ideas but they will be destroyed by those who are in the streets,” Geingob said explaining the harsh realities on the ground.
Geingob did, however, say that black people who have been accumulating wealth over the last 30 years should distribute it for all to be uplifted.
“People who are benefiting now are the haves including the black ones, so we are not just talking about the white people,” he said.
He said currently Namibia is a place where all can come to the table and talk peacefully.
“So while we have this good time to communicate and talk, let us hold hands and see all of us develop this country and maintain peace,” he added.
The president further said the board should find ways to harmonise the social issues the country faces and get investments into the country because the history of the racial divide which left whites prospering while oppressing black people is still so visible in today’s life.
“Therefore, we need someone to talk to the business people and explain to them that we are open to doing business, however, we have big problems in our country coming from a background of apartheid,” he added.
Geingob has previously said Namibia’s status as an upper middle income country belied the fact that about 80% of its population, mostly black, lives in poverty, while whites who make less than 5% of Namibia’s 2,4 million people were wealthy.
“We are proud to be an upper middle income country … But that is forgetting that we are coming from an apartheid background where blacks were left out,” he said at a virtual session at an event organised by international organisation Horasis.
“Distribution is an issue, but how do we do it? We have a racial issue here, a historical racial divide. Now you say we must grab from the whites and give it to the blacks, it’s not going to work. That is not our purpose here,” he said.