A national call of duty

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President-elect Hage Geingob this week added eight people to a pool of party cadres from which he will assign individuals to various portfolios in government.

It is from that group of cadres that he will appoint ministers, deputies, the director general of the National Planning Commission and heads of other key government agencies.

This marks the end to many months of distractive sloganeering, fighting over trees onto which to hoist party political flags and tying campaign placards on lamp posts across the country.

But the political honeymoon must end now. One could easily deduce from all of Geingob’s recent actions that he is keen, if not desperate, to take the country to the next level. But he alone cannot do it unless his pillars – in the shape of those he will deploy – remain firmly upright.

It is a national call of duty. It is, more than anything else, a call for service. Those who hold office in politics and government are granted power, by the people, under the condition that they serve with integrity.

Ours is a search for leaders of integrity. Genuine integrity is not paraded about for others to admire, but is shown through noble action and behaviour.

Namibia is still recovering from decades of decline and marginalisation, imposed by foreign aggressors who descended on our soil with all sorts of ill intentions, including raping and killing our people, as well as looting our resources.

Against this background, Namibians, especially those tasked to lead us out of our quagmires, need to take full charge of this country’s destiny.

While foreign donations have been helpful in addressing immediate problems facing our people, the real solution lies in self-determination in all aspects of our life as a nation, including on the economic front. We can no longer dance to the whims of donors whose handouts arrive with conditions attached to how to run certain things in our own country.

Of course foreign ideas must be understood, interpreted and applied correctly in any given local context, but overreliance on such ideas will make us lose our own identity.

Our clarion call is that of Namibian solutions to Namibian problems. Determination will be key in achieving this. Admittedly, we faced a backlog of challenges at independence and many of those that have served in government over the years have, in fairness, tried to rectify the anomalies that existed.

It is in this context that we surmise that significant progress has been achieved, albeit not enough given the enormity of the challenges facing our nation. But the incoming leaders – the majority of whom have been in government for almost all of their entire adult life – have to step up a notch in making sure the incoming president achieves whatever he will set himself to achieve.

Perhaps one of the conundrums this country faced in the past was that there was no clear national path, policy-wise, to set us on a concerted course for achieving narrowly defined national goals.

For Geingob, one of his priorities should be to define – in not so broader terms – what he wants to achieve so that his lieutenants in government can narrow their efforts to exactly what the incoming president wants done.

Also, for many years our country has put little emphasis on ethics among those leading us. There have been countless ethical lapses by some of our leaders but little was done to ensure such behaviour would not be tolerated.
Ethical lapses have sunk institutions, including governments, across the world and it is high time we set the benchmarks for what is expected.

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