In her latest Political Perspective, Gwen Lister of The Namibian took issue with the decision by the Tender Board to award the right to advertise government tenders “exclusively” in New Era. Wittingly or unwittingly, Gwen Lister creates the impression that this newspaper is undeserving of being awarded the tender. In the past, other newspapers won the same tender with the same exclusivity without Lister lifting a finger. Seemingly, it is only right and fair when her newspaper and others win tenders but not New Era. To those who are by now acquainted with her antics against us, this will come as no surprise at all. It is part of her overall strategy to denigrate us and to drive us out of the industry. But to you Gwen, we say you are living in a dream world. We do not owe our existence to you and however much you try, we will never surrender to your whims and tantrums. We tendered for the right to run government advertising tenders and won purely because we tendered the most competitive price. There was no favouritism, the entire process was transparent and there was nothing dodgy. The various tenders were opened in public for all to see and New Era won the tender transparently! By the way, if you are so concerned about transparency Gwen, why not question Misa’s media awards which are perennially awarded mainly to journalists from your newspaper and not to others? Considering, mind you, that some of the articles that win the awards are never made public. Last year’s awards are a case in point. We never got to see the lead articles by your reporters that made them winners of the awards and the basis upon which they were judged the best. Obviously, this is no fault of theirs and we are not saying their articles did not deserve to win. All we are saying is that a Gwen Lister who is concerned about transparency should make it her business that even those things that her newspaper wins are handled in a transparent manner. She must not close her eyes when winning comes her way and howl nonsense when it does not. Gwen Lister says she has doubt about whether even with the award of the tender and government funding, New Era would become economically sustainable. Such is her arrogance. Why does she think economic sustainability is the preserve of her newspaper and not others and that others should not succeed where she succeeded? Madam, go on dreaming about our demise. We will not fold up. Our readership figures have climbed significantly as well as the advertising volume. That is what is bothering you. You are scared out of your wits of the competition that we are giving you. That explains why you continue to whip a dead horse for in your opinion, we are as good as dead and we do not deserve mention. Time is the best judge Gwen and not you. New Era is here to stay. We will persevere. Time is on our side and we have the patience. So rest assured that you would never witness the death of New Era in your lifetime. And if you are so concerned about transparency, can you please open your books so that the public can see how black employees fair when it comes to pay, bonus and so forth when compared to other races employed at The Namibian? If you are the angel that you claim to be, could you shed light on the issue of ownership of The Namibian and not hide behind the so-called trustee because mind you nations of the world pumped money into The Namibian for the cause of Namibians and not you as an individual. And their stake is now conveniently being swept under the carpet.
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