Dangerous Demands

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How can a politician in his sober mind publicly request time for illegal shebeens to continue operating without toilets “at least a month, until the law has been amended” and see himself in NBC news just after the nation has been told that polio is transmitted through the faecal-oral cycle. If this is too complicated to understand, let me put it in more simple English: people relieve themselves in the open and the polio-virus, which hides the stuff they relieve, gets into the mouth of somebody else; a child for example who plays the next morning where the person relieved him/herself the evening before, or a fellow drunkard who falls … or picks up something, it can also be transported on the hoof of an animal that passes by, or on the shoe of someone and turn up somewhere completely else or spread however. This has happened and it will happen again! Maybe this week, next month or next year. If the first person would have had a proper location to do his/her business in the first place the virus would have stayed where it is and we would have had a sick patient, but not an epidemic. Sorry to be so explicit, but it seems to be unavoidable to make opportunistic politicians understand what they are playing with. Shebeens are places where many people come, drink, eat and do just what I had to describe above. The more people do it at the same place day in and day out, the bigger is the danger that one day in one shebeen someone gets infected. And there is not only polio, many other diseases are spread in the same way. One toilet for men and one for women is the minimum, that NEEDs to be installed close to any place where people gather. It does not have to be a water-flush toilet like the ones the pro-shebeen demonstrators have been using in Parliament Gardens (hopefully); a simple, clean and well-built dry toilet facility would do. If someone bothers, the information on how to build such toilet can easily be obtained at www.gtz.de/ecosan and at many other websites and archives. There are also trained people in Namibia who know how to build and maintain various types of non-water toilet systems including small biogas plants. It is amazing to see how a bit of demonstration in Parliament Gardens opens way to the most obscure demands from the opposition: They say, the law must be “amended”. What they mean is, it must be watered down so that more people who want to profit from legal or illegal shebeens can do so without sanctions and even without having to invest in the most basic installations. Why is that so? Since when can a group of people just set up a camp anywhere, wash their clothes with the water of the owner of that place, sleep all over, slaughter a cow, have drinks, produce litter and it is accepted that they say, they are not going to move before a law of this country is changed in a way that suits their selfish interests better? What if the commercial farmers set up camp in Parliament Gardens, and say they are not going to move before the Land Reform Act is being “amended” in such a way that no land can be redistributed any more? What if some previously advan-taged business people set up camp to make sure that BEE does not result in any decline of their privileges? Where does it start and where does it end? I thought that in a democracy, it is the argument that counts and that Parliament has the noble task to consider the arguments of all concerned and make a decision that suits the interests of the majority of the population. And it does NOT suit the interests of the population to have as many shebeens as possible just because the owners can make a quick buck at the expense of the majority. Even if someone fulfils all requirements and applies for a license s/he should possibly not be granted such license if in that area there are already enough or too many alcohol outlets. By requiring a license the law gives the power in the hands of the authorities to decide whether OR NOT to grant permission for yet another quick buck maker at the expense of his/her fellow citizens. If Namibia had as many tailors, carpenters, shoemakers, hairdressers, take-aways, painters, nurseries, bookshops, radio/TV repair shops, bicycle outlets, window-glass providers, computer service providers, mechanical workshops, etc., etc. as there are shebeens, we would all be much better off. So, once again, dear comrades, please stand firm and implement the law that you decided about eight years ago and refrain from going for the temptation cheap populists are setting to “amend” the law in such a way that obvious dangers for all of us become more prevalent. Harald SchÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¼tt Windhoek