Henk Mudge replies to statement by Air Namibia's Egumbo

REACTION TO THE STATEMENT BY MR EGUMBO OF AIR NAMIBIA ALTHOUGH I have no intention to get involved in communicating with anybody at Air Namibia through press statements and/or media conferences, I have no alternative but to react to the statement by Mr Kosmas Egumbo dated 16 June 2008, and I would like to react as follows.

Where I chose to state facts, Mr Egumbo chose to take the easy way out and rather than to address the real issues, he preferred to play the racial card. Since I am the president of the Republican Party of Namibia, a political party which prides itself in the fact that we represent the total spectrum of the Namibian population, a party which works very hard to ensure that our motives, agendas and most of all, our integrity, always remain above suspicion, I can unfortunately not allow the likes of Mr Egumbo to make slanderous statements like he did and get away with it.

It is for this reason that I have referred Mr Egumbo’s statement to my lawyer with the intention to institute legal action. Then Mr Egumbo & Co will have ample opportunity to prove his allegations about me being a racist. Be that as it may, Mr Egumbo will not be allowed to draw the attention away from the real issues by resorting to these kind of accusations.

Just a bit of friendly advice to Mr. Egumbo. In the future he should read press statements prepared for him before issuing it, because this irresponsible statement for one, may cost him dearly. It is quite obvious that Mr Egumbo and his statement writer/s chose to ignore what I actually said and to refresh their memories, allow me to quote a few statements I made:

Page 3 (Par 6): “At Air Namibia we have pilots of whom we can be very proud of and here I refer to those who were previously advantaged as well as the previously disadvantaged persons.” Page 3 (Par 7): “……..It is 18 years since Independence and had we started then with a programme to have previously disadvantaged persons properly selected and trained, persons with a passion for flying, then Namibia could have been the one country with the majority of its pilots from the previously disadvantaged group, but top class pilots who would have been the envy of all the airlines, especially in Africa.”

Page 4 (Par 4): “Let me be very clear on this issue. I am totally in favour of those persons of the previously disadvantaged group to be trained and one day be the majority at Air Namibia ………” Page 8 (Par 9): “……We require a pool of really competent pilots of all races. In this regard a cadet school system, incorporating proper screening and aptitude testing of prospective pilots, must be implemented.”

The million dollar question still remains why Mr Egumbo & Co preferred not to address the real issues that I mentioned i.e. the appointment of the gentlemen I referred to. Again Mr Egumbo tried to distract the attention from the real issues by directing a low blow to my person by insinuating that my statement was the result of a failed application by one of my close relatives.

Mr Egumbo should have done his homework first, because although I accept the fact that he is not familiar with this kind of behaviour, I can assure him that our family’s integrity is above any suspicion and we have never and will never expect to achieve anything by relying on who we know. We are quite content to rely on honesty and hard work in order to achieve what we want to achieve.

But since he mentioned the application for a Senior Managerial position for which one of my close relatives applied, the best way for Mr Egumbo & Co to come clean on this will be to release all the information regarding this issue i.e. the qualifications and experience initially required for the said position and to confirm or deny that the requirements were then changed and if so, why was it necessary and what were the requirements for the second round and also the motivation for the appointment of Mr Ekandjo in favour of all the other applicants.

As was said in my statement, I promised His Excellency, President Pohamba, during a meeting some time ago that I will submit the reasons why I fear Air Namibia is compromising the safety of its passengers and crew. Initially I intended to submit a report, but decided to rather go public for one reason only and that is to put some of the facts on the table, thereby making it easier for the President to have certain specific issues investigated rather than to allow for the possibility of cover ups should he order an investigation in general.

I have therefore already requested an audience with His Excellency at which meeting I intend to brief him in full. The fact of the matter is that what Mr Egumbo said is actually quite immaterial. What really matters is that the President of Namibia be satisfied that the safety of Air Namibia’s passengers and crew is not being compromised for whatever reason and if it is found to be a problem, for him to ensure that immediate action be taken to rectify the situation. Nothing more, nothing less. H. F. Mudge, President of the Republican Party of Namibia 17 June 2008



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