State House has dismissed claims made by a local daily newspaper, which alleged that President Hage Geingob had warned locals against interfering in the Hyphen Hydrogen Energy green hydrogen project.
In a statement, the presidency says Dr. Geingob was urging Namibians not to miss out on the transformative opportunity of green hydrogen.
After the signing of the Feasibility and Implementation Agreement between the government and Hyphen Hydrogen Energy last week, President Geingob cited the lessons learned from the Epupa Hydropower Dam project, a joint venture between Namibia and Angola, which was intended to bring about socio-economic transformation in the Kunene region.
However, the project was indefinitely halted due to concerns raised by certain communities in the area.
In a statement, the presidency says, It is in this context that President Geingob earnestly appealed to Namibians to give the project an opportunity to be implemented successfully.
State House clarifies that President Geingob's word of caution was never intended to imply that the challenges faced by the community of the Kunene Region are solely their responsibility.
However, a local daily newspaper alleged that President Geingob and the government are prepared to use their authority to suppress opposition regarding the development of the Green Hydrogen project in the 4,000-square-kilometre area surrounding the Tsau-||Khaeb National Park.
Furthermore, the publication claims that the President fails to address legitimate concerns in a democratic and transparent manner, attributing this criticism to Tony Hancox, the Director of the Legal Assistance Centre.
State House refutes the claims, stating that President Geingob actively promotes transparency and accountability as essential principles within Namibia's governance framework.
To demonstrate this commitment, the Head of State recently conducted official visits to Luderitz in April, engaging in town hall community meetings that included leaders from various political parties in the ||Kharas Region.
During these meetings, State House says community members, including representatives from traditional groups, youth groups, and businesses, had the opportunity to express their concerns and provide feedback on the specific project to the President, cluster ministers, and the Green Hydrogen Council.
The Presidency has also acknowledged an insinuation suggesting that it would suppress environmental concerns during the assessment of the project's viability.
However, the Presidency emphasised that such an approach would contradict the underlying rationale for initiating the project, as outlined in the Harambee Prosperity Plan 2.
The Presidency argued that the project and subsequent industry are explicitly designed to safeguard and protect the environment, contrary to the suggestion made by the Legal Assistance Centre that the Presidency would neglect or harm the environment.
The Presidency asserts that any suggestion to the contrary is not only inaccurate but also a deliberate attempt to misinform the people of Namibia.