Kalimbo Iipumbu, Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters MP. PHOTo: Contributed

The Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) is cautioning the Namibian government not to open the border with Angola to allow for sick patients from that country to cross over for treatment until COVID-19 is no longer a threat.

The party’s national coordinator and member of Parliament Kalimbo Iipumbu expressed concern over the decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Safety and Security to open the northern border recently.

According to Iipumbu, the decision to open up the border comes a time when statistics provided by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveal that Angolan authorities recorded 24 positive cases of the coronavirus pandemic and two related deaths on 15 April 2020.

“NEFF is shocked that the ministry’s chief of immigration, Mr. Nehemia Nghishekwa has (in what appears to be a unilateral decision), opted to instruct health facilities in Ohangwena, Omusati, Kunene, Kavango East and West regions to attend to Angolan patients seeking treatment in Namibia,” Iipumbu told CND-News.

He added that this is: “Just days after President Hage Geingob announced an extension of the State of Emergency and a national lockdown in order to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.”

Iipumbu noted that although his party is not saying all Angolan citizens tested positive of OVID-19, they are concerned that this decision was arrived at without consultation with all relevant stakeholders including Parliament.

“The need for such consultation is paramount because opening up our border during these times places the lives of our citizens at great risk and it remains crucial that such directives are thoroughly interrogated. They cannot be made a responsibility of a single person or institution.”   

Furthermore, Iipumbu is of the opinion that Namibian health facilities are currently struggling to cater for the health needs of Namibians. He stressed, this recent decision by the home affairs ministry will add more pressure to the already suffocating health system.

“NEFF is requesting the [ministry] and Mr. Nghishekwa to put on hold the opening of the borders as per their directive until this period of the national lockdown passes. 

“Furthermore, the NEFF advises that the ministry seeks the input of the relevant stakeholders when it comes to the lives of Namibians.”

Namibia has reported 16 cases which tested positive of the COVID-19 virus of which six patients recovered and 127 are currently in quarantine, while no deaths have been recorded.   

“The NEFF notes that during times when we as a nation are not certain about our own fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, it is suicidal and a gamble with the lives of our people to open up our borders, especially without providing a clear plan of action on how we are to respond if the decision backfires.”

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