Namibia’s president holds illegal party, then fines all guests

The vice president, prime minister and ruling party’s secretary-general were all attending
Hage Geingob
Hage Geingob

Namibia’s president has admitted that he breached his country’s coronavirus regulations when he hosted a party to mark his political party’s 60th anniversary. 

He has now fined all those who attended the illegal birthday bash. 

Namibia’s ruling party, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO), held a celebration on April 19th, when the sparsely populated southern African nation was under lockdown and gatherings were banned.

Hage Geingob, the president, said that less than ten people attended but those included the vice-president, the prime minister and party’s secretary-general. 

All of the guests have been fined 2,000 Namibian dollars, the equivalent of about £110. 

“We had a very important occasion of the 60th anniversary of SWAPO,” Mr Geingob said in a press conference yesterday. “We were found not on the right side of the regulations and law. We had to admit guilt and we were punished, we paid.”

From official data, Namibia seems to have been extraordinarily successful in its efforts to keep the coronavirus pandemic under control. 

The Namibian government was quick to react when it recorded its first cases of coronavirus on the 13th of March. Soon after, it closed its borders to international travel. 

The vast nation is roughly the same size as France and England combined has just 2.5m people. So far it has recorded 23 cases of coronavirus and no deaths. 

However, this is not the first time the president has attracted controversy. He invited several Africa presidents to his swearing-in ceremony in March, prompting them to breach their own travel bans. Botswana’s president was forced to self-isolate for 14 days upon his return.

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