FALSE: Al Jazeera’s ‘Fishrot’ documentary was not aired before the 2019 elections

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False

The statements, information and/or data referenced in this article have been assessed and found to be false.

29th July 2020

Frederico Links

Frederico Links is the editor and lead researcher of Namibia Fact Check and a research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)

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Photo courtesy: Namibian Presidency

President Geingob has again falsely claimed that Al Jazeera’s ‘Fishrot’ documentary was aired before the November 2019 elections.

During his opening speech on Saturday, 25 July 2020, at the Swapo Party Postmortem Meeting on the Presidential and National Assembly Elections 2019, held in Windhoek, ruling party and Namibian president Hage Geingob made the following claim:

“Our meeting comes at a time when the Former Liberation movements of Southern Africa are faced with numerous challenges and where those who have sought to preempt our downfall are intensifying their efforts through various tactics of destabilization. In this regard, it is not a coincidence that prior to our national elections of 2019, Al-Jazeera released a documentary with the intent to influence the outcome of our elections. Similarly, as we approach another election later this year, Al-Jazeera is resurfacing with more so-called exposés. In the world of politics, these are not coincidences.”

– President Hage Geingob
The facts

Qatar-based satellite news broadcaster Al Jazeera aired its Anatomy of a Bribe documentary, about the ‘Fishrot’ fisheries corruption scandal, on Sunday, 1 December 2019, four days after the National Assembly and presidential elections of 27 November 2019. The documentary was also broadcast after the elections results had officially been announced on the evening of Saturday, 30 November 2019.

This was not the first time the Namibian president had made this claim.

During the first Cabinet meeting of 2020, on Tuesday, 4 February 2020, president Hage Geingob made the same claim – that Al Jazeera’s documentary based on the Fishrot Files had been broadcast ahead of the 2019 elections.

Here’s Namibia Fact Checks debunk of the claim at the time:

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