OMARURU, 27 JUL – Immigration officials must guard against bribery, keep their principles intact and serve their nation with passion, veteran journalist and founder of The Namibian newspaper, Gwen Lister said on Thursday.
Lister made these remarks at a workshop at Omaruru aimed at equipping and empowering immigration officials.
The two-week long training, organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, further aimed to equip the officials to interpret applicable legislation and to create common understanding and ethos among staff members on key guiding legal instruments, procedures, principles, security and directives of Government.
Lister made it clear that immigration officials are at the forefront of protecting or destroying Namibia’s image.
“You are very important people. The first and last faces people see when they either leave or enter Namibia and the manner in which they are treated will leave a lasting impression on Namibia,” she said.
She added that another aspect of paramount importance that immigration officials ought to guard against is accepting bribes from those who visit the country.
“We must guard against officials who ask for bribes, not only is this corruption but this too will impact very negatively on the image of the country. We need to use our discretion around those things,” she said.
Other traits that immigration officials ought to possess, according to Lister, is general knowledge about the rest of the world.
Lister said Namibia has earned itself a reputation for being a hard country to visit.
She reminded them that during the years of Namibia’s struggle for independence, Namibians were treated exceptionally well in other countries.
“We owe those countries a debt of gratitude for that they did and it’s not to be forgotten,” added the former editor.
Speaking to the 59 trainees at the start of the workshop, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Patrick Nandago emphasised the importance of being up to date with information.
In recent years, the ministry has enjoyed positive publicity, especially due to its turnaround strategy, Nandago noted.
He, however, was quick to note that the ministry has its own challenges and that the conduct of some of the officers is found wanting.
The workshop concluded on Friday.