A Matter of Who You Know


LATELY, we have been inundated with an alarming increase in mismatches of appointments at all levels. Frankly speaking, it has been a case of being appointed for positions based on “who you know” and not “what you know”. What do you expect if you appoint a nurse with no prior administrative and financial experience to manage an institution? Likewise, what do you expect if you appoint a militarist or economist to spearhead the decentralization process! No wonder decentralization in our 13 regions is moving at a snail’s pace! I personally feel that President Pohamba could do with a radical reshuffling of the Cabinet or are we likely to see him presiding over the affairs of the nation for five years without a reshuffle? If not, what is the problem? Is it an issue of misplaced loyalties? The reality is that all is not well. Namibians are tired of recycling incompetent people from one assignment to the next. Take the example of some accounting officers in both the public and private sectors who have “clouds” over their heads but are entrusted to manage offices. There are even dubious deals undertaken by senior people close to higher offices. Even the lameduck Government Council cannot do anything. One wonders whether we only want to create posts for our kith and kin in this country. However, when it comes to “sweet talkers,” we have them in abundance. We all deserve to reap the fruits of independence by being given a fair chance to compete for anything in this country – not just the filthy rich masquerading as born-again BEE businessmen and women. What is needed for all of us is to stick to meritocracy whereby we appoint Namibians with the right qualifications and credentials. We have now entered an era of appointing technocrats in specialized fields to run the affairs of government and parastatals if we are to achieve the goals of Vision 2030. Conversely, I totally agree with the staunch position taken by our President to stamp out corruption in our country. The majority of Namibians concur with the no-tolerance position taken by our government: however, this is not “the Pohamba Government’s” policy decision but that of the entire nation. The crux of the problem, however, is that there is a justified perception that the enforcement of the policy has no “beef” but exhibits tentacles of “window dressing” to appease the top echelons of government. The Anti-Corruption Commission targets “small fish” because it makes good public relations to advance the position that corruption knows no boundaries: but is this not fulfilling the adage of not “biting the hand that feeds you”? We demand the Commission to target high profile cases, such as the misappropriation of state funds (N$3.2 million that disappeared at Defence, N$100 million squandered at ODC under the noses of Trade and Industry, the outcome of the Commission of Inquiry at Social Security Commission, the Roads Authority, Road Fund Administration, Road Contractor Company, etc.) because there is foot-dragging in cases where high profile figures are implicated. I must caution that we must desist from “personalizing” matters of interest. We must instead work together as a united people to achieve developmental goals. The tendency of certain groups of people, such as the deliberate witch-hunt of those who were in exile at one state institution by ex-South African Security Police senior officials must stop. We must call a spade a spade. Cases of misconduct must be dealt with fairly without fear or favour. Joe Inambao Sinvula Oshana