Namibia’s social media streams were for the last two days abuzz with critical comments, rebuke, condemnation and even outright denunciation for the remarks of First Lady of Namibia Mrs Monica Geingos who declared that unvaccinated citizens will not be allowed to set foot at President Hage Geingob’s house and farm.
Mrs Geingos said in a video clip that went viral recently that: “Nobody is welcome at our house, who is not vaccinated. That is the decision we have taken as a family. Nobody is welcome at our farm; you know people like to follow presidents, wherever the president is they want to run there.
“We have decided [that] nobody is coming to our farm who is not vaccinated. [That is] to protect ourselves and those who are around us. So those of you who would like to visit, please don’t come if you don’t have a vaccination card.”
The First Lady’s remarks didn’t sit well with people who went out to condemn her on social media and also on some radio talk shows. One caller on the radio drew the First Lady to the fact that the role of her office has not been spelled out in any law.
“The First Lady’s role is not spelled out by the Constitution or by any Act of Parliament. Actually her role is simply an informal agreement between the Namibian nation and the State House. So, if the First Lady would say or do things which are seen to antagonize some sections of the society, it would be a tricky thing for her. Otherwise those people have a right to withdraw from such informal agreement so that she will no longer be welcome to speak in public.”
Another caller said that the First Lady was stepping out of her role, which is to be just the wife of the president and mother of the nation. “We elected the president. And we know what the president’s role is. We don’t know what the role of the first lady is.”
One social media commentator said: “Look, whatever her intentions are, she needs to understand her position is limited to her husband, which happens to be president HG. She is not elected or even appointed. Her proximity to power is through matrimony and therefore doesn’t have bearing on anyone else except her household and her office.
“In actual sense a First Lady is a ceremonial leader. It’s a breach of trust and responsibility for the Ministry of Health to allow her to administer any medicinal product through her office. She is not even a trained medical doctor so under which clause is she allowed to dispense vaccines? And speak for government on vaccines or any health matter? We are treading in dangerous territory here.
“I think Lou Lou [president] must address this matter at home before it spirals any further. This is no longer about having an opinion, it’s about pushing an agenda and simply put, it is wrong.”
One commentary went even as far as suggesting that the First Lady needs a mental checkup.
Namibia’s vaccination speed is very slow as a result of hesitancy in the population, which is a result of factors such as deep-rooted anger and resentment against public officials across board who have performed dismally during the years of Independence.
In the photo: Namibia’s First Lady Monica Geingos.