The Article in New Era on Friday, 23/02/2007 – “Planning for Retirement” – refers Please allow me some space in your esteemed newspaper to express my views on the above-mentioned topic, which I found so interesting and attracting for open discussion in our beloved country. At the very outset, I would like to thank and congratulate two of our leaders for the statements they made recently in view of “planning for retirement.” Our deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila, said: “It is time for others to move in…” She is quoted to have said that she would not run for any position, even if she was nominated. I am so happy and delighted to hear those words from her. Thank you, Madam! Dr Hendrik Witbooi, who is our retired politician and former Deputy Prime Minister, is paraphrased in the following way: “…proposed that young people be groomed into positions so that they are able to play a significant role in the political, economic, cultural, and religious life of the country.” Thank you, Dr Witbooi, for reminding our leaders, your former colleagues, that there is always someone to replace them. Furthermore, the article says that our Uniformed Services “…are saddled with aging personnel…there is nothing to attract them into retirement.” Let’s be honest with ourselves. For a good seventeen years now, some comrades are holding key positions, and are just rotating among themselves. Many leaders who were very active in the struggle are totally forgotten. And lately, a very dirty game of eliminating each other has started. Shamelessly, leaders are campaigning against each other, and DO NOT WANT TO MOVE. Without any doubt, our own comrades – who are now holding positions as ministers, deputy ministers, parliamentarians, etc. – have piled up enough to be ready to retire. For them, in my view, the phrase, “there is nothing to attract them into retirement…” is not applicable at all. In fact, some of them are just warming up chairs at the expense of the taxpayers, because you never hear them contributing to any debate. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening and Namibia is rapidly developing “two faces of social classes”. Imagine what an ordinary parliamentarian is receiving per month, not to talk about the salaries of the ministers and their deputies. Yet, the same leaders rejected the proposal of the Coalition of the Basic Income Grant for every Namibian (N$100 per month) under the age of 60 years. They came up with clever talks and explanations. They are not willing to retire, because they are used to the huge salaries at our expense. They do not want to move! What happened to the promises of the past? We were told that basic services like water, electricity, and hospitals would not be privatized in an independent Namibia. Why do we have “NamWater” and “NamPower” today? The elderly, the single mother, and the low-income groups are suffering. Their houses are sold by Municipalities, because of “NamWater” and “NamPower” bills. Recently several Namibian towns went through dark days without electricity. They do not speak for them, yet they do not want to move! Our political leaders must be reminded about their promises during election campaigns. Almost every political party in Namibia today is divided because of power struggle, racism, and nepotism. Therefore, my view in this letter is not aimed at criticizing one particular party. No, I am concerned about all who are claiming to be leaders but who are living so that others must die. Yet, they do not want to retire! I am sure many Namibians are hoping for a good reshuffle and change of names on the lists of our political parties for the candidates for the National Assembly elections. However, once they are in, they do not want to move! Retirement is not in the vocabulary of many leaders. Sometimes they claim there is no replacement for them. This means they did not prepare their followers to be able to lead themselves. Leadership is about leading people to lead themselves. Remember, power is like salt-water; the more you drink it, the thirstier you become! Please, get ready for retirement. Be willing to move in a respectful manner. Be willing to make space for new ideas, not necessarily for young people only. Don’t let the saying become true in our beloved Namibia, which someone once said: “In Africa, they don’t go down by themselves; you have to shoot them down.” PASTOR WILLEM PIETERS DUBUQUE, IOWA, U.S.A.
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