We All Have Reason to Celebrate

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Tomorrow is not just another day, another Tuesday. Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 21, 2006 marks our country’s 16th independence anniversary. That is why tomorrow is a special Tuesday for all of us. The significance of tomorrow’s independence anniversary also lies in the fact that it marks the first anniversary of Hifikepunye Pohamba as president of our republic. It was on this day last year that our young nation experienced a change of guard from Founding Father of this nation Dr Sam Nujoma to President Pohamba. This in itself represents a milestone in our country’s road to democracy. We have every reason to celebrate tomorrow, together as a nation. In the past, some Namibians especially our white compatriots failed to feature in large numbers at occasions marking national days, including independence day. Some of our white compatriots in the past used flimsy reasons to excuse themselves from joining their compatriots on national days. That was then. We hope tomorrow will mark a turning point where Namibians from all political persuasions, colour and ethnic divide will see sense in coming together to celebrate our national independence in style. Our white compatriots have to realise that we are all bound together by a common bond of blood, culture, geography and history. We have a common destiny and a common home called Namibia. As Namibians, we have to make good on our commitment to nurture our nascent democracy and build a united nation out of the many diverse cultures. Indeed, we are a rainbow nation and tomorrow’s festivities must reflect the unique stripes that make our nation. These have been 16 years of hard work and success. The country has maintained peace and stability, the very prerequisite for progress. Although our resolve for unity and peace was tested by Mishake Muyongo’s separatists in 1999, we not only succeeded in quashing his rag-tag elements, but also in reassuring the people of that troubled region that they are part of Namibia and have a critical role to play in the affairs of their country. A foundation has been laid for future economic development. Government has produced a road map for future prosperity in the form of Vision 2030. It has engineered economic programmes that should ultimately free the country from the shackles of poverty. Services have been extended to the doorsteps of communities that did not have them in the past. Among these are formerly marginalised groups such as the San and Ovahimba. Skills development forms a priority for government in its drive to empower citizens. There are many successes as are challenges that have to be tackled. It is these successes that we must celebrate tomorrow, while at the same time thanking President Pohamba on his first anniversary for his leadership and commitment to lift us out of the morass of corruption and social decay. We must celebrate the birth of our nation in all our numbers tomorrow. Happy birthday, Namibia!