Let’s Abolish AA and BEE

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The article in New Era of Friday, 15th December 2006 titled” Economics of Traditional Kingdoms Absurd” by Dr Mupoti Sikabongo is of interest, but telling a story without pinpointing the way forward. Any government policy or initiative meant to advantage one race or a group over another has negative economic consequences, and only makes people “cling” and invest in familiar grounds. Addressing the past imbalances must be pulling all citizens together and tackling issues – without playing the “race card”. Call it, Economics of Traditional Kingdoms. Which is true today in Namibia as in any other part of the world. The prospects of investing in a climate one understands better are the most compelling reasons people start from home. One cannot simply start a project without first knowing the environment one is throwing himself/herself in. So do a number of highly built industries/enterprises have support of the financial sector – which facilitates loans and other securities that enable people to invest in any society or another country without fearing personal loss. Whereas in Namibia, many a business is a one-man show – built with capital from their own pockets. Another common factor in Namibia is that many such would-be investors had not been trained on how to run their businesses – to a point where they could explore competitively in other parts of the country. Talk of Njangula, Mubonenwa, Mutanimiye, Kabbinda and many others in Caprivi, so is CIS – why did they fail or why could they not grow to fully-fledged business entities. Not only that, even government-sponsored initiatives like DBC – why could they not get off the ground? Don’t tell me it’s Economics of Traditional Kingdoms. But a whole range of reasons which mismanagement and incompetence are amongst major ones – resulting in corrupt practices and theft. Surely, after Namibian independence – people have moved from one corner of the country to the other like CIS and Njangula, why they could not make it – is not because they were denied a piece of land, but question of “management”. Where observance of business practices and ethics are minimum – like appointing people to positions because of family ties versus competence, lack of financial advisors and business consultants etc. And believing too much in the power of “witch doctors”. Therefore, such a class of people cannot go any further – because they lack “thousands” of ingredients that bring growth and prosperity in any successful businessmen. Again, the constitutional argument doesn’t hold water because there are no Namibians known not to invest in another region because of tribalism. If one had such a mentality, he/she could be the best loser by not seizing the opportunity to make more money. The equivalence of civil servants deployed across the country not based on their ethnic grouping – for those that need a job, but still one has the right to say “no” for one’s own good reasons. Which is a constitutional right. Vision 2030, is a “pipe-dream” – it will never be realized, look at the state of affairs: from unemployment, corruption and overspending to discriminatory policies in government, do not be fooled. For sure, 2030’s masterminds will never be there to see and account for their failures. Just forget it. Summing that up: lack of knowledge and managerial skills – coupled with “black magic” are some of the big obstacles that fail our business to grow and expand across the land. Coming to other political aspects that colonialism bore – we can deduce the following: Our colonial masters came to oppress and suppress the people of such communities, and had not come to share power. A King or Chief for them was an instrument used in achieving their purpose and goal. Be it looting our natural resources or the slave trade, there was some collaboration from such African Kings or Chiefs. The title did not mean anything for the colonial masters and could not have changed anything on who was in power. Though even now when Namibia is independent – do we understand the King or Chief titles and their roles? Unfortunately with independence – such titles have become more useless. Our Kings or Chiefs have become rubber stamps and beggars amongst their subjects. Or what kind of Kings are we impressing upon? Like Prince Charles or Queen Elizabeth? Freedom and independence of the African continent should not be tied with a few English words, but a will whose time had come. One doesn’t have to be learned to see injustice or discriminatory and corrupt practices. So was the displacement of people from their own land – anger , resentment and frustration if not hate are bred with what came to be. Katutura! Winding up, people from Caprivi should not make an issue of the name “Caprivians”, but must surely decide what the region must be called. If “Mr Caprivi” is too much of a surname to carry – why not be called what the region was first called before our colonial masters came into being? Be it Itenge – it doesn’t matter. A region needs a name, just like there is no Owambo, but a collection of tribes within – how about the Caprivi? Will the name change come with benefits or it is just another academic exercise to bury our inability to bring genuine change that is highly needed with independence. Asked about “Whites”, Martin Luther King, Jr said: ” I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.” Is “White” investment secure when one of the hands is tied to the back? Or is that not discrimination like “BEE”, where one group of people is made to enjoy the harvest over another. As Nelson Mandela stated:” I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunity…”. Opportunity where all people can expand their investments – irrespective of their position before independence and colour of skin. Let us fix that that needs fixing, thus abolish – Affirmative Action, BEE , Land “Grab” Program for more progressive and inclusive policies which don’t undermine our democratic principles. Thank you Mulife Muchali Vancouver, Canada