Kae Matundu-Tjiparuro Inaugurating the year of the NBC Otjiherero Language Service discussion programme, Tjirimeyo, hosted in two or three of its programmes early this year, panelists surrounded the issues of traditional leaders, their functions and recognition and non-recognition. Instead of focusing genuinely and in an enlightened way on these matters, the programmes seemed little more than just avenues for flushing out the verbiage overflow of the different adversaries to the debacle on the recognition and non-recognition of the Ovaherero traditional leaders and their attendant disunity/unity among this ethnic group. I don’t know the rest of the listenership that tuned into these programmes, but I personally shall not claim to have come off better enlightened on the issues that were under discussion. On the contrary, I came worse off than before. The programmes turned me into a fool of the worst fools. This is despite tuning in to be a better informed person. One onslaught on my afflicted eardrums was one fateful Tuesday evening for the battering to continue on a Wednesday morning on the current affairs programme on this service, Keetute. Most saddening was the fact that the panelists were supposed to be eminent people in their own way and enlightened leaders of some sort. Listening to this programme reminded me of the constant complaints by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting concerning the abuse of the NBC airwaves. If there is an example of typical abuse of the airwaves of the NBC, I am sure the offerings I am referring to on the NBC’s Otjiherero Language Service’s programmes, Tjirimeyo and Keetute could easily run off with the best awards in airwaves abuse. Not so much because of the intentions or ill-intentions of the presenters, but the panelists seeing in this programmes a niche for the continuation of their out-of-control, internecine, intra-tribal and political wars. The panelists did not seem inspired by a genuine desire to debate issues of national, intra-tribal or communal importance. The pool they are also drawn from seems limited, with tribal and political attachments the prime qualification with little regard to expert knowledge in the subject matter under debate. As long as these programmes continue to recycle such panelists who cannot rise above their parochial sub-tribal and dogmatic political hanging-on, to see matters from different tribally and politically untainted perspectives, I am sure they cannot be a credible forum for debates their presenters strive for and the listernership would like them to be. It’s time the presenters get more meticulous in choosing the panelists they feature on this programme and many others, flush out self-styled and self-opinionated community leaders and plastic intellectuals, and for a change open up our airwaves for real and informed debates with no hidden parochial agendas. Our profession in the realm of freedom of expression and information is partly all about defending the right of anyone to express and air her/his views, whether we share such views or not. Those holding and expressing views also do not only have a duty to have defensible views, but reasonable ones within a civilized society. I am hesitant to accolade most of the views expressed in the programmes in question with such.
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