The Founding Father of the Nation, His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma’s opening statement at the Swapo Central Committee meeting on Sunday this week makes for interesting reading.
One could not but read and re-read the version relating to the individuals who “supervised and undermined projects and companies” initiated to create employment as one grappled to get the essence of the statement.
The Founding Father of the Nation mentioned companies such as Pidico, the Development Brigade Corporation (DBC), Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), Patriotic Construction Company, and Offshore Development Corporation.
“What magic do they have now to create better opportunities when they have failed the Namibian people for years?” the Founding Father of the Nation categorically wanted to know.
There was obviously an implied reference to the likes of Mr Hidipo Hamutenya who in his day as Trade and Industry Minister – ironically under the presidential supervision of none other then the Founding Father himself – indirectly presided over some of these concerns.
It is clear as daylight that in the opinion of the Founding Father, some if not most of these ventures were failures. The blame for this failure he squarely seems place on the shoulders of his would-be magicians.
By the Founding Father’s own admission, his failing officials had been failing the nation for years.
However, the Founding Father does not tell us what happened to the principle of collective responsibility in Cabinet that suddenly now makes the failure of these ventures, failure by individuals?
It also boggles the mind how in the face of such failures those directly responsible were allowed to continue perpetuating such failures “for years”.
One also wonders why such failures only become apparent now when those blamed for the flops have changed political camp?
Without doubt there are ventures and projects that have been debacles for years.
Whether such failures are not going to be repeated, is not clear.
However, what is certain is that such failures are probably not unique to the Founding Father’s presidential era.
Needless to say there are currently ministries, ministers, deputies, permanent secretaries and their deputies who leave much to be desired in terms of performance and service delivery. The fact that the current President has voiced his opinion on this aspect on different occasions attests to this.
The closest we have come so far in terms of rectifying the situation is the re-shuffling of some permanent secretaries between ministries suspected of poor if not dismal service delivery.
I dread to think of the possibility that we may have to wait for another split within the ruling party in order to be able deflect blame for failures on any defecting individuals.
As President Pohamba stands before his second term in office in a year or two, this is the time for serious stock-tacking in terms of the capability and calibre of those at the helm of policymaking, notably ministers and their deputies.
Yes, it may be instructive to have a balanced government in terms of appeasing the various segments of society. But the essence of any government is not power for its own sake but delivery, especially social welfare delivery.
A great deal has been achieved in this regard. Likewise much still needs to be done.
That is why at its congress which is coming to an end today, the Swapo Party must pay due regard to its leadership both on the executive level, Politburo, and the policy-making level, the Central Committee.
Probably, the look and shape of these two bodies are likely to mirror the next Cabinet. While striving for continuity and experience, the Swapo Party must also put a high premium on freshness and energy.
As much as allegiance and loyalty is important to the Party, merit defined in terms of professionalism, capability, patriotism and vigour should be the guiding principle in the make-up of the Party leadership, and by extension that of the government and State.
There should be no place for a reward system for Party loyalty, such as patronage that is quickly eroding the ethical edifice of this society.
To conclude delivery, or lack thereof, is not the only determining factor of the failures or successes of Government programmes or policies. The process starts with the identification of the situation the programme or policy intends to address.
If the problem that needs addressing has not been correctly identified, in all likelihood any policy formulated will be addressing the wrong ill. It is also crucial for the Swapo Party to engage in a serious policy review. I am sure this is a matter that is enjoying the attention of the delegates to this Congress.
At this juncture one cannot but applaud the ruling party for a smooth transition. Looking at the transitional hitches within the ruling party in our southern sister country, Namibia’s ruling party appears to be passing with flying colours.
While the media hails the process as “The End of and Era”, I would like to hail it is the “Beginning of an Era”. Whoever is taking over from the Founding Father as the leader of the Party at the congress, does not only have the unenviable task of keeping the ship on course but also afloat.
Most importantly we so far been through the process of establishing a democracy, but now we are for all intents and purposes embarking on its consolidation.
We already stand before one test in this consolidation, the establishment of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
Nevertheless I have all the trust and confidence that the Land of the Brave, through its diverse leadership, will continue on its chosen path of freedom, liberty, democracy, peace, tolerance, justice and egalitarianism.