Current track



Nandi-Ndaitwah’s pension promise slammed as campaigning

Written by on June 11, 2024

Swapo presidential candidate Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah has been slammed for pulling at Namibians’ heartstrings with the promise of increasing the country’s monthly old-age grant from N$1 600 to N$3 000.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani says she is playing with the emotions of struggling pensioners.

Nandi-Ndaitwah made this promise at a public lecture in honour of former president Hage Geingob at Ongwediva on Saturday.

Venaani says Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is also the country’s vice president, is simply trying to garner votes.

She inherited the vice presidential position after Geingob’s death, he says.

“Why does she need to be the president to raise N$3 000? Why is she not doing it now?” he asks.

Venaani says the only way to increase the old-age grant to N$3 000 is if the government renegotiated several oil deals.

He says this would allow the country to generate extra revenue, in which case the old-age grant could even be raised to N$4 500.

Former Swanu parliamentarian Tangeni Iijambo is also accusing Nandi-Ndaitwah of playing politics.

He says Swapo has promised Namibians many things, which it has failed to honour.

“How are they going to ensure they will honour this promise?” he asks.

He says Swapo is desperate to be re-elected.

Iipumbu Shiimi


Minister of finance and public enterprises Iipumbu Shiimi in March told the National Assembly that the government cannot afford a pension increment in one financial year.

“If this increase was to be effected it could have cost the government an additional N$5,2 billion to the current N$4,8 billion to total N$10,1 billion per year,” he said.

Shiimi equated this increase to the budget of the Ministry of Health and Social Services for 2024.

Labour expert Herbert Jauch says the presidential candidate is electioneering.

“The announcement certainly sounds like an electioneering promise as it contrasts with the finance minister’s statement earlier this year,” he says.

Jauch wants Nandi-Ndaitwah to consider a basic income grant, saying it would help alleviate poverty.

“Hopefully Nandi-Ndaitwah will pay attention to this proposal, which is supported by a wide range of Namibian organisations and constituencies,” he says.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende believes the vice president’s promise is an insult to the intelligence of the Namibian public.

“So, where will this extra windfall come from to accommodate this increase?” he asks.

He says Nandi-Ndaitwah’s statement creates the perception that the ruling party would go to great lengths to hold on to power.

“This statement suggests that Swapo is willing to bankrupt the country to stay in power. The question is: At what cost?” he asks.

Economist Omu Kakujaha-Matundu says Nandi-Ndaitwah’s promise makes socio-economic sense.

“Since every penny received by the pensioner would be spent on consumption, it would stimulate economic activities through manufacturing, retail, employment creation, etc. So, the government’s tax base would increase, collecting more to cater for increased pensions,” he says.

The returns, the economist says, would, however, not reflect immediately.

Kakujaha-Matundu says an increased pension would be more affordable than a basic income grant.

“Such an increase would be equivalent to a basic income grant with a cheaper delivery system. You won’t need to have a parallel system to pay out a universal basic income grant,” he says.

Mike Kavekotora


Former member of parliament Mike Kavekotora says Nandi-Ndaitwah’s statement is irresponsible.

“It was indeed an irresponsible statement when the late president made the announcement and is still a political ploy as repeated by Nandi-Ndaitwah,” he says.

He believes Shiimi was “a coward” for not telling Geingob his wishes were not economically viable.

Kavekotora says the ruling party makes promises without knowing their feasibility.

“The problem with the Swapo approach is that they may at times make political pronouncements without testing the validity of these pronouncements against the prevailing economic realities,” he says.

Independent Patriots for Change finance executive Frans Taapopi yesterday questioned Nandi-Ndaitwah’s intentions.

“This proposal appears to be more about political opportunism than genuine concern for the elderly. The Namibian people deserve policies grounded in reality, not in electioneering tactics designed to win votes,” he said.

Taapopi said Nandi-Ndaitwah has failed to tell the electorate where funding for a pension increase would come from.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

Taapopi said Nandi-Ndaitwah is part of the government that Shiimi was in when he said the increase was not feasible.

“The vice president’s sudden change of heart, coinciding with her candidacy in an election year, raises serious questions about her integrity and commitment to realistic governance,” he said.

However, Swapo veteran Nahas Angula says increasing the old-age grant is a good idea as long as the economy can sustain it.

Swapo Party Youth League secretary Ephraim Nekongo says Swapo has delivered on most of its promises in its election manifestos.

He says opposition parties are criticising the governing party as part of their campaigning efforts.

“We are not promising people for the sake of promising. It’s not easy to raise it from N$1 600 to N$3 000 just like that. It’s not easy, because this is also depending on the favourable conditions of the economy.

“She is just saying, look, if you give me the mandate in five years, I will see how slowly but surely we will get that promise that the late president has made,” Nekongo says.

He says Swapo is the only party that “can take the country to prosperity”.

The post Nandi-Ndaitwah’s pension promise slammed as campaigning appeared first on The Namibian.

Current track