While it is too early to say precisely what the New Year has in stock for our young democracy, it is not far fetched to speculate that like all others, 2007 presents both opportunities and challenges – hence welcome 2007. Generally, the mood in the country is a positive one. Our people are in upbeat spirits as they seek to navigate their way into the New Year. Many people have drawn up wish lists or resolutions for the New Year while others have chosen to deal with each day as it passes. Their dreams vary from seeking peace with themselves and others to making more money, good health, strong family ties, etc. We can only hope that many of their dreams will come true this year. As a nation, we enter the New Year with great optimism and full of hope about the future. This hope is based on our resilience and tenacity as a people and the solid foundation that has been laid since independence. Certainly, 2007 will not be an easy year. On the home front, the ruling Swapo Party will hold a party congress in August. This Swapo Party congress is important in so many ways. The party will have to once and for all deal with the political intrigues within itself or risk instability and paralysis. Another important challenge this year as set out by President Hifikepunye Pohamba is service delivery and the provision of basic amenities to rural communities by government. The president cast the die at the last cabinet meeting last year where he told his cabinet to ensure the acceleration of service delivery to the people. He was also concerned about the high unemployment rate and the impending power shortage in the sub-region. Obviously, there are many more challenges this year such as the speedy implementation of the land redistribution programme and HIV/Aids, among others. The country also awaits more rain. While prospects for more rain have not diminished, the latest dry spell is cause for concern for many farmers who have begun to worry about future harvests. Although we continue to enjoy peace and harmony in our country, the situation in some parts of the world is worrisome because we cannot continue to be an island of peace in a world that is at war with itself. Namibians should be worried about events beyond our borders because of the dire consequences they may have on our nation’s security and economy. The situation in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East where war is likely to escalate poses a serious security problem for the entire world, including Namibia. Despite flexing its massive military might during the past three years, the United States of America has failed to subdue sections of the people of Iraq who are opposed to its occupation of their country. The US is now considering pouring in even more troops into Iraq. This follows the hanging of Saddam Hussein, the former Iraqi president on December 30, 2006. While the US has sought to distance itself from the judicial murder of Saddam Hussein, many people across the world do not believe them. Iraq is under American occupation and thus unable to take sovereign decisions. It is as simple as that. If the Americans had not wanted Saddam Hussein to be hanged, he wouldn’t. He was hanged because the US wanted him hanged. Nothing gets done in Iraq, a country under occupation, without US approval. To tell us otherwise is to under-estimate our intelligence. Even the case against the former Iraqi president was built on evidence gathered by the Americans. He was their prisoner and they handed him over for death as part of the so-called new strategy for Iraq. It was Saddam first, and then the Iraqi Prime Minister had to announce a strategy for war last week before the master this week. All these events are connected. So that is 2007, a year of both challenges and opportunities. We must persevere. Happy 2007.
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