Let Us Heed the President’s Pleas

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PRESIDENT Hifikepunye Pohamba’s milestone ‘living parliament’ speech this week should resonate right round the country and find receptive hearts in all Namibians.

It was a great speech, one that was tailored around tolerance and peace. The speech was not only appropriate but also timely because of a growing tendency by some to become antagonistic.

Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab, reinforced the President’s statement with usual candour, eloquence and brilliance.
The hallmark of the President’s address was a call for Namibians to embrace one another and to shun violence. He urged citizens to be guided by a desire that ensures that the country is not consumed by violence and civil strife as has happened elsewhere in the world.

“Our citizens should always exercise their democratic rights in a peaceful manner that fosters the growth of our democratic ideals,” said the President.
The President’s plea for peace and tolerance is relevant and is in the context of what is going on around us and what could possibly go wrong should we lower our guard. Nations that have been there before us are in turmoil today. We dare not follow that path.

Pohamba’s speech should motivate and inspire us as citizens to strive for greater success in terms of building peace because it is through peace that we can achieve economic development and survive as a nation. It should propel us to aim high in our quest to make Namibia better, bigger and stronger.

US President George W Bush took aim at Zimbabwe this week prejudging elections slated for next month as not free and fair before they are held.
Bush berated the election process in Zimbabwe, adding that he was looking forward to a time when the people of Zimbabwe would regain their freedom.

While demonising Zimbabwe during his Africa safari, Bush’s friend and military dictator General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan was taking a beating in an election that by any standard could not be termed free and fair.

Musharraf whom Bush has hosted at the White House on numerous occasions came to power through the barrel of the gun and has presided over one of the most brutal regimes in South Asia. Lately, he has clamped down hard on the media, political opposition and the judiciary and save for expressing ‘concern’ about events in Pakistan, the US has never publicly rebuked Musharraf in the manner it does when it comes to Mugabe.

The US has shown little respect for Mugabe, whom it has called all kinds of names, but not Musharraf, for instance, who fits the description of a dictator so well.

In Tanzania this week, Bush chose not to talk about his dictatorial friend General Musharraf who was being hauled over the coals by the electorate in his country. The motive for the double standards is all clear – Mugabe has offended the West while Musharraf is their pawn. That is the difference between the two and that explains the double standards.

Would it surprise anyone therefore if the US withholds recognition of a Mugabe government in the event of a win in next month’s elections while conferring recognition to whatever arrangement between Musharraf and others? In any case, Musharraf is refusing to vacate office despite being trounced. Let’s hear the US speak.

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