Reforming Government

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By Alexactus T. Kaure

Our Government is an elephant. And being the king of the animal kingdom, it fears none of its neighbours and brooks no opposition. It is slow and works at a snail’s pace, but once it starts moving it causes a lot of damage in its way – destroying crops, trees and even homesteads. And if you encounter its convoy crossing the road between Okavango and Katima, please get off the road. Now, who needs all this trouble?

Can we think of an alternative form of government? How about a cheetah? It is attentive, fast, agile, responsive and much slimmer than the bulky elephant and pleasant to the eye. It causes less damage – except the normal expenditure that a cheetah government would incur.

What I am proposing here is not your usual bottom-up approach to government reform ala Ambassador Leonard Ipumbu’s style, but top-down.
I hope the process would be less bumpy – with a ‘human face’ as the free-marketers would say. But don’t rule out some limbs and debris being strewn along the way.

Let’s start with some cutting, pasting and merging. First goes the head – the Office of the President is gone – history.

I’m not doing this to deny the Founding President another shot at the Presidency. No. It’s just that a cheetah doesn’t need a big head.

Please note that these reforms would be implemented only after the next elections, so Cde Pohamba shouldn’t worry too much – just pray the Koreans complete the new State House on time.

The Prime Minister becomes the new head. Look, we are not trying to copycat the British system here. This is an entirely homegrown reform from the deep south – somewhere in Berseba, Tses area there. Now, let’s give the PM chance to form her new government (I say ‘her’ because Cde Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, the Iron Lady, would be the new PM). Liberians have set the precedent for us anyway and soon the Americans.

Here is the first baby. Finance and Planning merge to form the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, with two deputies – one for finance the other planning, at least to accommodate Cde Helmut Angula (but let’s have many of those ‘pro-poor’ budgets).

Then comes Foreign Affairs, Information and International Trade – Cde Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, with her training in international relations, gets this one. (Just hope Cde Ngatjizeko doesn’t get incensed because his empire is being sliced up).

Now that Ithana is the new PM, we can comfortably divorce Attorney General from Justice. But both stay. Cde Uutoni Nujoma can have one of them – preferably the Ministry. The AG is a little bit tricky. Do you think former AG, Cde Vekuii Rukoro would be interested in this or is he thoroughly entangled into the capitalist tentacles?

Let’s slow the pace and show our human face. So, the following ministries remain as they are: Education, but I’m tempted to bring back youth and sport into its fold – after-all we want to build an all-round, refined young Namibian persona – in the Greek tradition emphasizing hard physical and mental training. So, here we go again – Education, Youth and Sport. Now, I promise these ones will stay as they are: Transport, Works and Communication (but how about a tarred road to my village?); Mines and Energy (Cde, don’t give too many diamonds to foreigners); Agriculture, Water and Forestry (please bring water back to the people); Environment and Tourism (again make the lodges much cheaper and affordable for the local folk to enjoy the land of the beauty, oh! sorry the brave); Fisheries and Marine Resources (revisit the quota system and let every Namibian have a fish even though most don’t know how to fish); Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (Cde, how about more jobs?).

Now, let’s welcome these new mergers: Ministry of Health, Social Services and Child Welfare (look after our nurses lest all leave for the UK); then Home Affairs, Immigration and Prison Services (after-all it’s your police who apprehend the criminals, so look after them).

There is this idea of scientific parks being mooted. So, how about a Ministry of Industry and Scientific Parks Development? (Ngatjizeko is back in business).

For humanitarian and security considerations, Ministry of Veterans Affairs survives the hammer (come on, it’s still a baby trying to crawl but will, in any case, die a natural death after 20 years or so).

Please Cde Pandeni and Kazenambo, we are in a fast-paced, high tech-era.

Who has the time to be saying: I’m going to see the PS at the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development? Gosh! That’s a mouth-full. Here it is: Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (you lose none of your functions, but please start developing the rural areas).

Defence, security and safety, this is one cluster – Ministry of Defence and Security should do (but please no more dealings with bogus, brief-case arms dealers lest we lose those millions again).

I know that most lecturers at Unam and the Poly have one leg in academia and the other in business.

But can anyone there help us out with this gender thing? Does it only refer to women? We hear so much about gender mainstreaming these days – just hope the stream is not already infested or dry.

Now, welcome the mother of all problems – Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation.

What can one say? In theory land belongs to all Namibians, so who is there to be resettled anyway? Chinese perhaps? My advice: do away with this ministry and the land problem is gone (Cde Ekandjo and Katali can go into full-time goat farming).

It doesn’t make sense to transport people from Okamatapati and dump them at Ongombo-West (to eat flowers or what)? But let’s rescue rehabilitation.

Let’s have a Ministry of Gender Equality and Rehabilitation (to rehabilitate all those criminal-minded men who beat and abduct women and children at night). Some extra work for Mungunda (hope she walks and even runs the talk).

The Auditor-General’s Office is a holy cow and is doing a good job (but catch some thieves as Fanuel Tjingaete used to).

Here is another holy cow but let’s stick to one name please – it’s either an Ombudswoman or Ombudsman Office, right? Let’s not waste too many resources changing letterheads and stamps – but do they still have an office though?

Did I leave anyone out? If I did, then it’s not a fault of my own. Just look at the official Government website – half the ministries are left out. Unbelievable!
Do we have a cheetah now?

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