1996 Great improvements are made since independence in rationalising the education system, increasing access, and improving the quality and relevance of education. From 1990 to 1996, the Government devoted between 20% and 28% of its annual budget to education. This had its results over 100 schools that have been built since 1991, and the increase of teachers from about 12 800 in 1991 to 16 000 in 1995.
With 107 500 tons per annum, an exceptionally good mahangu harvest is experienced during the 1995/1996 rainy season (average annual output 49 000 tons). In order to promote the production and marketing of mahangu in the north-central regions, the Ministry of Agriculture creates the Mahangu Marketing Intelligence Unit (MMIU) which is managed by the Namibian Agronomic Board.
The copper mine at Tsumeb closes after the mineral deposits have been exhausted.
While the vast majority of Namibia’s import trade is still with South Africa, the United Kingdom is Namibia’s most important export destination, receiving 40 percent of Namibia’s total exports. As far as trade within the Southern African Development Community (SADC) is concerned, Namibia itself makes up only nine percent of intra-SADC trade.
08.01. In order to mediate in the Angola civil war, Namibia sends 200 troops to this war torn country. This happens in terms of the United Nations Angolan Verification Mission (UNAVEM III) and the Border Security Agreement of 1990.
15.01. Eberhard Hofmann becomes editor of the Allgemeine Zeitung.
29.01. Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, announces that now, nearly two years after the re-integration of the Walvis Bay Enclave, Namibia (Namibia Port Authority (NamPort)) and South Africa (SA port company Portnet) agreed to take over the port infrastructure for N$ 30 million. Dierks also makes known that the planning study financed by the German Government (Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW)), to develop the Port of Walvis Bay into a major transport player along the African west coast and and as a end point of the Walvis Bay Corridor to South Africa, makes good progress.
An agreement is signed between the Government (Klaus Dierks) and the German Carl Duisberg Foundation (CDG) to train 18 Namibians to operate the country’s Air Traffic Control and Surveillance Radar System at the German Academy of Air Navigation Services in Langen near Frankfurt.
30.01. Namibia invites for the second time the UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi to Namibia. However, Savimbi again declines the invitation.
February Influenced by a book of the German Reverend, Siegfried Groth (Namibia: The Wall of Silence), the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) calls for a conference on the mastering of the history of the "SWAPO detainees".The CCN is supported by the National Society for Human Rights (NSFHR) and a new political pressure group "Breaking the Wall of Silence".
06.02. The Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication uses a competition to decide on a contract for the new National Archives in Windhoek. Dierks chairs the architecture competition for the new building. The Namibian architect, Hugo Scheepers, wins the competition.
15.02. Although the boundary around the Kasikili Island remains a point of conflict between Namibia and Botswana, the two countries sign an agreement to refer the case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague.
21.02. The Minister for Finance, Helmut Angula, tables the Budget for the Financial Year 1996/97. The main objective of the 1996/97 budget is a realistic estimation of the budget opportunities within the socio economic limits of Namibia. The budget concentrates on the First National Development Plan (NDP1) which has as its aim the alleviation of poverty, the promotion of economic growth and the creation of job opportunities, setting a target of reducing the percentages of relatively poor households from 47% to 40% and extremely poor households from 13% to 7% by the year 2000. The real growth estimate of 5% must be regarded as too optimistic. Namibia’s economy is still highly dependent on the mining, agricultural and fishery sectors which are heavily influenced by external factors like climatic conditions and world market prices. Another handicap is the size of the public sector. The budget makes provision for an expenditure of N$ 5 073 million, an increase of 17% against 1995/96 which is more than the inflation rate of 10% for the year (37,5% of the GDP). In spite of the calls by the Minister of Finance to reduce the civil service, the number of officials again increases with 1 280 persons (1,9%) to a total number of 70 192 civil servants. The two sectors education and health still receive more than 40% of the total expenditure. The expected deficit is estimated with 4% of the GDP. The total debt of 23% of the GDP has still manageable proportions. It once more will be covered on the domestic capital market. The capital budget is not sufficient to stimulate the economy with state funded projects in the productive sectors of the country.
25.02. The ever increasing tendency of high ranked officials to enrich themselves is continuing. A typical example is the approval by the Permanent Secretary of Works, Transport and Communication, Peingeondjabi Shipoh and the Undersecretary for Works, Farah Nadimi, to allocate public funds to pay for lessons to obtain a private driving license for the Deputy Director of Works, Rosalinde Nakale.
March Namibia is visited by the Prime Minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong, and the USA Vice President, Albert Gore.
06.03. President Nujoma cautions that a CCN-conference on the mastering of the history of the "SWAPO detainees" would endanger the Policy of National Reconciliation which is not a "one way road" and the prevailing peace and stability in the country. In the thirty years long liberation war atrocities were pledged on both sides and many innocent people landed below the "wheels of history". This sentiment is echoed by Nujoma’s speech at the occasion of the independence celebrations (21.03.) where he indirectly asks apology to any innocent victims who suffered under the hands of SWAPO. Here it has to be observed that until the present point of time it is not known who spied for South Africa and who didn’t. The South African Secret Service was before 1994 one of the most efficient secret services in the world, and everything was tried to penetrate the ranks and files of the "arch enemy SWAPO". Nujoma’s plea influences the CCN to withdraw from the planned conference on "Breaking the Wall of Silence".
07./08.03. President Sam Nujoma visits Angola.
14.03. The Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, halts a Russian-registered Antonov-12 aircraft which is connected to Ters Ehlers, the last private secretary of former South African Prime Minister, PW Botha. The Namibian authorities ground the aircraft at Grootfontein airport because it is alleged that it transports illegal cargo to war torn Angola without any license from the Namibian Government. Ehlers was introduced to Dierks by the Auditor-General, Fanuel Tjingaete, and the Member of the National Assembly, Moses Katjiuongua. Both pretend that Ehlers intends to bring humanitarian aid to Angola. This later is found to be untrue.
Dierks announces that the construction of the proposed Government Office Park in Windhoek will start during June. He assures the National Assembly that the tender adjudication process will be open, transparent and clean. The building of the 250 million complex is based on economic considerations which will ensure that Government rather should invest in her own property before paying ever escalating office rentals for the various ministries.
20.03. The completion of the Trans Kalahari Highway has fallen behind schedule by more than a year as a result of Botswana’s bureaucratic bungling and inadequacy of funds. Dierks declares that the new estimated date of completion stands now at February 1998. The Namibian section is, however, 95% completed.
29.03. The overdue Married Persons Equality Bill which regulates the rights and duties in a marriage and eliminates the gender bias against women, is not accepted by the National Council and referred back to the National Assembly which, however, passes the Bill on 03.04.
30.03. The National Society for Human Rights (NSFHR) and the pressure group "Breaking the Wall of Silence" organise the conference on the mastering of the history of the "SWAPO detainees" which takes place without any problems in a Windhoek Hotel. During the conference Siegfried Groth’s book (Namibia: The Wall of Silence) is launched.
End March Cabinet announces that traditional group leaders have to decide whether they prefer to remain political office bearers or to exercise their traditional role as chiefs.
April The Government accepts the proposals by the Wage and Salary Commission (WASCOM). The salaries of Members of Parliament are more than doubled and those of higher civil servants increased by up to 66%.
UNICEF makes known in a report that nearly 50% of the Namibian population has to be regarded as poor or very poor.
03.04. President Nujoma makes known his first cabinet re-shuffle during his second term. The Minister and Deputy Minister for Youth and Sport, Pendukeni Iivula Ithana and Martin Kapewasha are moved to the Ministry of Land, Resettlement and Rehabilitation. Minister Richard Kapelwa-Kabajani and Deputy Minister Timothy Hadino Hishongwa take over the Ministry of Youth and Sport.
24./26.04. The Traditional Leaders Conference which tries to regulate the relationship between Government and the role of traditional group leaders, takes place in Windhoek.
29.04. TransNamib’s Managing Director, Francois Uys, is dismissed by the Board of Directors. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, Peingeondjabi Shipoh, becomes his successor. The National Organiser of the Namibian Transport and Allied Workers Union (NATAU), A Onesmus, supports the demise of Uys.
07.05. The Powers, Privileges and Immunities Bill is passed by the two houses of Parliament.
The Cabinet takes a decision to approve the draft terms of reference for a study to prepare the Development Aid Management and Co-ordination Policy for Namibia, covered by funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This is necessitated by the fact that an appropriate donor aid policy is necessary to ensure efficient and effective aid coordination and management.
09.05. Parliament promulgates the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Amendment Bill. This Bill improves the investment climate in the EPZ by introducing limitations in the constitutional right to strike. The share capital of the Offshore Development Company (ODC) increases from N$ 2 million to N$ 20 million during the year. Fourteen companies get EPZ status, six should commence with production until the end of the year.
15./16.05. President Sam Nujoma visits South Africa. He signs with SA President Nelson Mandela an Agreement on the Nullification of Colonial Debts.
18./20.05. The President of the People’s Republic of China, Jiang Zemin, visits Namibia.
25.05. Hompa Frans Haingura Muronga becomes traditional leader in the Mbunza area in Kapako in the Kavango.
June Damara Chief Justus 5Garoëb from the UDF decides to relinquish his position as Member of the National Assembly and returns to his traditional role as group leader in Okombahe.
The Minister for Regional and Local Government and Housing , Libertine Amathila, is accused to be involved in the loss of N$ 5 million incurred by the state owned National Housing Enterprise (NHE).
21./26.06. Sam Nujoma visits with a big Namibian delegation the Federal Republic of Germany, followed by an official visit to France.
28.06. President Nujoma participates at the summit of Heads of State of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Botswana.
Middle of the year The United Nations UNDP announces in their Human Development Report the extreme income imbalances between different groups in Namibia. While the average per capita income ranks Namibia on place 79 out of 174 countries, the Human Development Index only brings Namibia on place 116.
07./08.07. Sam Nujoma takes part at the summit of the African Development Bank (ADB) in Gabon from where he travels to Cameroon to be part of the OAU summit (08./09.07.).
27.07./01.08. Nujoma visits Malaysia.
02.08. In order to put the continent of Africa on the map of the global development of the information and telecommunications sectors a new all-African initiative is established. For this purpose Telecom Africa International Corporation is established by its president, Joseph O Okpaku. The Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, is one of the founding members of the company. The ambitious project is supported by the Organisation for African Unity (OAU), the United Nations UNDP and the USA Government. In the White House in Washington an agreement to support Telecom Africa International Corporation is signed by the Director of the USA National Security Council, McArthur De Shazer and Dierks. The objective of the initiative is to manufacture Information and Telecommunications equipment in Africa, to standardise telecommunication norms and to increase the speed to spread telecommunication systems to the continent. Telecom Africa has to serve as the development engine of this scheme.
03.08. The Otjikaoko Traditional Authority elects a new leader, Ombara Paulus U Tjavara, followed by the Vita Royal House which appoints Ombara Kapuka John Thom as its traditional leader (29.08.).
10.08. The site inspection for the road rehabilitation project between Otavi and Otjiwarongo takes place. The Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, played a key role in the realisation of the project.
19.08. After the death of Subiya Chief M Moraliswani, Munitenge (traditional Subiya title) Maiba Kisco Liswani III, becomes the new traditional leader of the Masubia Traditional Authority at Bukalo.
21./22.08. Tanzania’s President, Benjamin Mpaka, visits Namibia.
22.08. The Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, announces that he had agreed with the European Union (EU) that the EU will finance the expansion of the two ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz to the tune of N$ 120 million.
22.08./08.10. A prolonged strike (45 days) takes place at the Tsumeb Corporation Limited (TCL). This strike is the longest and most difficult one since independence. It is not only caused by wage demands and other grievances of the mine workers but also by the harsh and uncompromising attitude of the TCL management. The Government intervenes on 08.10. A compromised wage increase of 10,5% is achieved. The strike causes losses to the company of N$ one million per day. 500 workers lose their work. At the end this strike leads to the bankruptcy of TCL and the closing of the TCL mines and smelter in 1998.
23./24.08. President Nujoma participates at the summit of heads of state of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in Lesotho.
26.08. The thirtieth anniversary of the Battle of Omugulu-gOmbashe is celebrated at the site where SWAPO commenced the armed struggle against South Africa. At this occasion President Nujoma presents a list of all victims in the war for the liberation of Namibia. The celebrations at the remote place in the western part of the Omusati Region is witnessed by members of the Namibian Cabinet, the two houses of Parliament, hundreds of foreign dignitaries and thousand of Namibians. Due to the fact that no road to the battlefield is existing, the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, gives order to construct such a road, although no proclamation for such a road is in existence (some weeks later the road is proclaimed as district road 3633 from Tsandi to Omugulu-gOmbashe (21,6 km)). The opposition silently condones the illegal instruction of the Deputy Minister, he is only criticised by the Prime Minister, Hage Gottfried Geingob.
02./04.09. The Prime Minister, Geingob, visits Angola.
10.09. Jeremiah Jagger is sworn in as the Chief of the Orlam Afrikaner (|Hoa/Aran/|Aixa Haes) in Windhoek.
12.09. President Nujoma announces his second cabinet re-shuffle during his second term. He exchanges the Minister of Finance, Helmut Angula, with his counterpart from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development, Nangolo Mbumba. The Minister for Health and Social Services, Nicky Iyambo, becomes the new Minister for Regional and Local Government and Housing and exchanges the portfolio with Libertine Amathila. The Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah, becomes Director General for Women Affairs (in the rang of a Minister) within the organisation of State House. Caused by the recent death of the Ombudsman, Jariretundu Kozonguizi, Nujoma makes known the filling of the vacant position by Ephraim Kasuto. This unconstitutional move has later (18.12.1996) to be rectified because the position of the Ombudsman is to be filled after a proper selection process by the Judicial Service Commission.
15./16.09. President Sam Nujoma attends the World Solar Conference in Harare.
17.09. Loide Kasingo becomes the new Deputy Minister for Regional and Local Government and Housing and replaces Ben Ulenga who becomes the Namibian High Commissioner in London.
27.09. The case before the Windhoek High Court arising from the publication of an advertisement in the Windhoek Observer (17.08.1994) in which the seventh anniversary of Rudolf Hess’ death on 17.08.1987 was glorified, is heard by Theo Frank. Frank gives judgment that the Racial Discrimination Prohibition Act (Act No 26 of 1991), on which the charge was based, is in conflict with Namibia’s Constitution (Right of Free Expression). Many Namibians are dissatisfied with the outcome but the "Hess-Case" has one result: No such publication has been published any more to date (February 2003).
30.09. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Theo-Ben Gurirab, appeals to the UN General Assembly to provide Namibia the permanent status of a Least Developed Country (LDC), due to the extreme inequalities between different income groups. The General Assembly grants Namibia in UNGA Resolution 48/204 for a further three years the status of a "as if" LCD country.
A common tool to measure these inequalities is the Gini-coefficient which goes from 0 (complete equality) to 1 (complete inequality). Countries with a Gini-coefficient of between 0,2 and 0,35 are regarded to have a relative equal income distribution. The Namibian Central Statistics Office calculates for 1996 a Gini-coefficient of 0,701 which indicates a highly skewed income distribution.
01.10. President Sam Nujoma visits Angola.
News appear in the local newspapers that the Government without tender approval has placed an order for Chevrolet cars and commercial vehicles in the sum of N$ 142 million with General Motors in the USA (Barden International). The Ministry for Works, Transport and Communication is not involved in the purchase. The Minister, Plichta, and the Deputy Minister, Dierks, were not even informed about this.
10.10. Klaus Dierks makes known that the tender for the proposed Government Office Park in Windhoek has been allocated to Stocks & Stocks Namibia for a tender sum of N$ 235 million which is N$ 91 million lower than the next cheapest tender, although Stocks’ technical design is not considered to be the best.
13.10. Dierks announces that the German Government through the development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) has for the first time ever in a developing country made N$ 30 million in the form of a grant available to construct four district roads in the Oshikoto and Oshana regions. The negotiations for this grant started shortly after the Namibian independence. This was a difficult task because some German senior officials were originally against the idea, as infrastructural projects like roads in developing countries are normally assisted in the form of soft loans with low interest rates, which have to be paid back over a certain period. However, Dierks convinced the German Minister of Economic Co-operation and Development Aid, Karl-Dieter Spranger, to give this grant due to the social character of these roads. The roads will be built by labour-based means in an effort to alleviate the unemployment situation in Namibia’s north. Informal road contractors will also be trained during the construction phase and the workers will be recruited from the area and paid on a task-work basis, in other words, for the actual piece of work completed. The four roads are the roads from Onethindi to Oshigambo, from Oluno to Uukwiyu, from Oshakati to Ompundja and from Onethindi to Olukonda.

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District Road 3605: End of Seal (Oluno) to Uukwiyu: View to the North-East
Copyright of Photo: Dr. Klaus Dierks

Namibia_Owambo_Oshana_Road3636_LabourBased_2.jpg (71823 bytes)Namibia_Owambo_Oshana_Road3636_LabourBased_3.jpg (63823 bytes)Namibia_Owambo_Oshana_Road3636_LabourBased_4.jpg (67873 bytes)Namibia_Owambo_Oshana_Road3636_LabourBased_6.jpg (98185 bytes)

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District Road 3636: From Main Road 92 (Northwest of Ondangwa) to End (Onakamwandi): Labour-based Construction: Task Work: 4 m³ per Task for approx. US$ 2,20 per Task: Up to 4 Tasks can be managed by some People: Labour-based Road Building was introduced in Namibia, against the Resistance of many conservative, South Africa trained Engineers, by the Author of this Chronology at Independence: After many Years of Research and many Trials, Namibia is now a Leader in Labour-based Technology in Africa: Project financed by German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau
Copyright of Photos: M Engelien

Middle October Namibia plays host to a summit meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the European Union (EU). The German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Klaus Kinkel, assures that a planned Free Trade Agreement between the EU and South Africa will not violate the interest of the SADC countries.
15.10. An Agreement on the Withdrawal of Water from the Okavango River is signed between Namibia and Botswana. No such withdrawal may take place without prior consultation.
21./26.10. Sam Nujoma visits the People’s Republic of China followed by official visits to Japan (27. to 30.10.) and Singapore (01. to 04.11.).
13./16.11. President Nujoma takes part in the World Conference of the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Rome. Nujoma appeals to the United Nations, to provide Namibia the permanent status of a Least Developed Country (LDC), due to the extreme income inequalities between different population groups.
20.11. Due to the drought conditions in the country the new Minister for Finance, Nangolo Mbumba, tables an Additional Budget for the Financial Year 1996/97. The drought requires an additional expenditure of N$ 150 million. The Namibian Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU) is tasked to overview the distribution of drought relief subventions to the affected population groups. The Additional Budget 1996/97 requires also an additional expenditure of N$ 100 million for salaries for civil servants according to the proposals of the Wage and Salary Commission (WASCOM). Another N$ 65 million are required due to the weakening Namibia Dollar against hard currencies. With the revised budget the expected deficit is increasing from 4% to 4,9% of the GDP.
26.11. The Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, warns that on top of the growing need for road development and routine maintenance, due to decades of fiscal constraints and resulting neglect of the bitumen network, Namibian road users are now faced with the alternative: to either foot the bill for major road rehabilitation projects or face the prospects of losing a portion of Namibia’s excellent black top roads network. The only remedy to this situation is to create an economically and technically optimised road maintenance management system based on extensive research. To this effect the Ministry for Works, Transport and Communication has initiated a research joint venture between the Ministry and the German Technical University Berlin (Siegfried Huschek), funded by the Carl Duisberg Foundation (CDG) in Cologne.
End November Ignatius Shixwameni becomes the new Deputy Minister for Information and Broadcasting.
Beginning December Sam Nujoma attacks homosexuals during his speech at the occasion of the Congress of the SWAPO Women’s Council. While his remarks are condemned in the western world, the majority of Namibians support the President.
04.12. The controversial agreement to purchase some 800 vehicles from General Motors in the USA (Barden International) is signed between the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Theo-Ben Gurirab and Don H Barden from Detroit, Michigan, in the USA.
13.12. Windhoek’s Mayor, Matthew Shikongo, announces that it was agreed to form a city partnership between the two capitals Berlin and Windhoek. The Secretary of State, Volker Kähne and the Deputy Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Klaus Dierks, are instrumental in the establishment of this historic partnership.
18.12. The Judicial Service Commission appoints Bience Gawanas as Ombudswoman.. Simultaneously the government announces the assignment of Tom Alweendo as Governor of the Bank of Namibia, the first Namibian in this position. He becomes successor of a Malaysian national, Jaafar Ahmad.
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