Memorable Year Comes to End

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Farayi Munyuki As the final hours of 2005 tick away, thoughts inevitably turn to that special night when Lazarus Kandara, under the care of the police, was reported to have shot himself at the Windhoek Police Station. That incident confirmed that corruption in Namibia was alive and kicking. This followed the disappearance of N$30 million from the Social Security commission, which had been invested under some shady deal in a company known as Avid Investment Corporation. Some of the perpetrators of this crime are still walking free, as if they committed no crime at all. If 2005 is to be remembered, first and foremost as a year of change and loss, then perhaps the way to begin is in recounting the year in Namibian politics. The country overwhelmingly voted in Hifikepunye Pohamba as the next President after former President Dr Sam Nujoma retired after his third term in office. The new President made it known that he was not going to tolerate corruption. Before and after his swearing in ceremony, he made it known that there would be zero tolerance for corruption. As a result of this new policy, Deputy Minister Paulus Kapia lost both his seat in Parliament and position as minister. Did his removal end corruption in the country? But it was a significant move, one that no one ever imagined would happen. In some countries in the north, R30 million would not be something to write home about. Consider such a thing happening in Nigeria, the DRC, etc. It wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. The return to Parliament of Hidipo Hamutenya was a milestone event in 2005. It was rumoured that he did not wish to replace Kapia but under pressure from his friends inside and outside Swapo, he was persuaded to return. Another milestone for Swapo in 2005 was the appointment of Dr Libertina Amathila as Deputy Prime Minister. This is the first time that a woman has occupied such a high post in the country. She took on the plight of the San people and campaigned for an end to their marginalisation, suffering subjugation by other Namibians. For the first time too, their plight occupied front pages of local newspapers. Perhaps in the New Year she needs to widen her net to take in those Namibians who have lived with scarcity of water in the Herero land, in the Caprivi region and in the North. The expulsion of Nyamu from Swapo party was damning to say the least, for those who are regarded as belonging to the Hidipo camp as it is called. Calls to entice Hidipo Hamutenya to say something about the man who had stood for him drew a blank. CoD and NUDO failed to make a mark in 2005. Both parties were trounced at the polls but comments by Ben Ulenga when the President included him in his delegation to Maputo in the Republic of Mozambique are worth noting. The economy in 2005 was sluggish and did not perform as it did in the early years of independence. Today there are more jobless men and women than they were last year. In terms of sports, it was pathetic. In soccer, the country was beaten hands down by teams it should have massacred. But its victory over Botswana highlighted the passion and there is a chance that there could be a revival of the past when the national team was really brave warriors. The intervention by the Father of the Nation to help a woman who had children, no husband with cash to restart life again is worth noting. Behind the fearful masks of our politicians, they are humans after all. Perhaps in the New Year, serious politicians will be telling the country what they have in store for them. Not some kind of gimmick to hoodwink the public.