Some Namibians have expressed outrage over the inclusion of President Hage Geingob’s children in the government’s delegation to the ongoing COP-28 climate summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
In a list published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), four of the president’s children were included in the Namibian delegation.
“We are treated like orphans in Namibia. Why should the president’s children go to Dubai and we have to go Swakop? And we still have to pay they don’t!!!!,” Chango, an X user, tweeted on Tuesday.
The Namibian presidency confirmed in a statement that the first children were part of the delegation but said their trip was not state-funded.
“There is no truth in the allegations that the children of the First Couple travelled at state expense to the United Arab Emirates,” the statement said.
“President Geingob and Madame Geingos paid for the flights and accommodation expenses of their children.
“The Presidency considers these allegations to be malicious and politically motivated, with the clear intent to detract from the excellent work President Geingob and the Namibian delegation have been carrying out at #COP28.
“The Namibian public and the media should be rest assured that not a single cent of public funds has been spent on the children of the First Couple.”
However, Inna Hengari, a member of parliament, said the first family travelled at taxpayers’ expense and the funds should be accounted for.
“We will bring it to the House when we resume next year,” she said.
The controversy in Namibia comes amid criticisms against African governments for sending large delegations to COP28, which some citizens describe as a waste of scarce resources.
According to the UN’s attendance list, Nigeria, Morocco, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda were among the nations with the largest teams.
Nigeria topped the list with 1,411 delegates, followed by Morocco with 823, and Kenya with 765.