Let’s Not Be Copycats


The idea for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission seems to be harboured by a group of people. It would be interesting to know the size, interests and plan of action of these fellows once all is finally concluded. An interesting question is, where do we start since the whole issue according to my understanding is wide with many technicalities? To some, the issue might sound simple but practically it is a very complex matter that can be equated to the opening up of a healing wound, the scratching of it and then finally an attempt to close it, which according to my understanding is what some fellow Namibians feel or think would bring a better healing. In the process, emotions, different feelings and of course negative reactions cannot be ruled out. Another question will be, who will be at the helm of this whole exercise and to whom will he be answerable? I hope that the pushers of this idea would be in a better position to clarify. To my knowledge, the Government of the Republic of Namibia introduced the policy of reconciliation and at the same time the ruling party through its collective leadership extended its hand of friendship to whoever was wronged by it. For a right thinking person, the government policy and the ruling party’s extension of its hand of friendship are very wise and constructive decisions while the shunning of these would be unwise. What should also be taken into account is that the pushers should know that some stakeholders might be demanding for the shelving of the policy of reconciliation while the process is ongoing. The imagination of this vacuum should not be ignored. What I think should be taken into consideration is that for the so-called Truth and Reconciliation Commission to be credible and fair, the root cause, viz., colonialism and all involved should be included otherwise it would manifest itself as a mockery. But personally, when weighing the question of those calling for the establishment of the commission, it looks like only one particular party is targeted, viz., the ruling party and its president. To me this appears to be hypocritical. If the following issues below could be the premises of the whole exercise, then the Commission might be starting on a right footing, viz: 1. The period and happenings at and during the German invasion of the territory, today Namibia. 2. The treatment of blacks by the South African colonial government. 3. The treatment of blacks by whites. 4. The treatment of South Africa and its collaborators of blacks. 5. The treatment of South Africa and its collaborators of the liberation movements especially the ruling party (whose members suffered the most). 6. The ruling party’s treatment of South African collaborators and the implicated; and, 7. The South African collaborators’ treatment of the masses, some who never even belonged to political parties during the liberation campaigns. Another interesting question is, how is the issue of the lates (the dead ones) who might be implicated in one thing or another to be tackled? The pushers of the idea I believe would know. For my fellow countrymen who might have forgotten , the pursuing of the independence struggle by Namibians is quite different from the one by our friends across the Orange River in the south. Conditions differed quite a lot, the terrain too was different, even military campaigns were different and were at different intensities. Factors leading to the achievement of our respective independence differed too as well as the dates of independence, we in Namibia being the first to declare independence in 1990 and our brothers in South Africa years later. Seeing the need to stabilize our country by way of maintaining peace and to move forward, the policy of reconciliation was declared, accepted by the majority of our peace-loving people. Our brothers and sisters south of the Orange river, years later came up with their way of dealing with their own problems, experienced under different conditions than ours. And all of a suden some of my compatriots are calling for a similar commission like the one of South Africa. Why should we emulate things that we think are not of need to us? Why are we not able to shed the mentality of still looking to the south for everything like what was inculcated in our minds in the bad old days? No. We are our own people, sovereign. We are not copycats. Can somebody tell me what achievements were reached and benefits derived from the commission south of the Orange river, and what achievements will we reach in Namibia if pursue the same path? There is no doubt about how early people were wise and experienced. The fact that they believed that it was wise to maintain peace, hence they taught us to let sleeping dogs lie. This expression might be as old as the mountains but it is still valid. Therefore it would be unwise to create problems that we might not be able to handle. Ndinomwaami