Infighting Detrimental to Development

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Boardroom fights, particularly at the top as reported recently at the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication, although not limited to that ministry but spread right across the spectrum has the effect of negating good governance and service delivery. These fights have little to do with productivity but rather are of a personal nature arising from petty jealousy, insecurity and tribalism.

Another example of these boardroom fights happened recently when the Chief Executive Officer of the Karibib Municipality was mysteriously suspended in what appears to have been a palace coup. While the circumstances leading to her suspension are unclear, what smacks of ill motive is the fact that her suspension letter was served on her while in a restaurant enjoying a meal.

This action is symptomatic of conflict at the work place and there are many examples of such conflicts in public offices where those entrusted with leadership are engaged in internecine wars.

Public offices have become theatres of war and scarce resources and official time are being wasted in these useless personal wars whose motive is personal power, greed and tribal fiefdom.

There is a growing culture in this country where some people think they have the divine right to decide who should work at a particular office as if they own these national institutions let alone the country.

This form of intolerance manifests itself in so many ways such as open victimisation and marginalisation and is motivated by tribalism, regionalism, politics and economics among other factors. We know of cases where competent public servants are marginalised resulting in lack of productivity and poor service delivery.

It is also true that sheer arrogance has a lot to do with some of these boardroom fights. The boardroom fights at work places and national institutions, in most cases involve those at the top and are an indictment on their leadership.

Unlike their top management, ordinary workers embrace one another and work together in harmony. On the other hand, senior managers and chief executives are constantly at loggerheads. Most often, senior executives ignore organisational hierarchies and deal with subordinates of those who report to them.

It would be remiss if one thought that the problem of conflict at the work place is a new phenomenon because for a long time now, this issue has bedevilled our public institutions.

Victimisation of the “unwanted” has been rife with many of them having to endure these hardships in silence hoping for mercy from elsewhere.

The infighting in public offices is further fuelled by the political situation outside, where polarisation and strained relations are a common occurrence among leaders.

Unless, the powers that be tackle these issues head-on, the country risks sinking deeper into the mire of uncertainty and hopelessness.

For their part, Namibians from all walks of life must hold each other’s hands and move on. They must accept that they not only share the geographical space called Namibia but also its institutions and resources. Theirs is a common destiny.

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