WINDHOEK, 30 MAR – Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani will deliver his party’s second ‘Real State of the Nation Address’ on 12 April 2018 – a day after President Hage Geingob’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).
In his address, Geingob will provide more details around the goals of tackling inequality and unemployment, he said on Independence Day.
In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, Venaani said his address will among other things tackle unemployment, housing and education.
“Unemployment will come under the scope and lack of value addition to our resources; shared prosperity, what it really means, agricultural modernisation and urban resettlement for the poor,” he said.
He added: “We are going to give a direction as to how we view the real state of the country, where we are, what brought us here and what we need to do get out of this situation that we find ourselves in.”
The reason for the ‘real SONA’, according to Venaani, is because PDM is denied an opportunity to respond to the President’s SONA.
“In other political jurisdictions, you have a reply that is given by the leader of the official opposition to the president’s address, but in our country that is denied,” said Venaani.
He further noted that their SONA should not be conflated with that of the Head of State, which is a constitutional obligation.
“Ours is the Real State of the Nation Address because the minute we see that the ruling party is depicting a picture that is not truthful of the events, we are compelled to have our SONA as a form of a reply,” he said.
Asked why PDM did not have a ‘Real SONA’ in 2017, he said: “Last year the government came and apologised and they said the economy is bad. So, they were very close to the truth about the situation.”
The same cannot be said in the current year, hence the need for PDM’s reply, Venaani said.
“If you listen to the reply of [PDM treasurer general] Nico Smit to the budget, it will tell you that the figures Government is projecting are not going to work,” he said, adding that they “are going to tell the real situation as it is”.