The elections of 2014 were unlike the previous ones in at least the following aspects:
(a) the promises, explicit and implicit, made by all political parties were about the consolidation of democracy in ways that would begin to translate that life was better for the majority of the citizens, not just a few;
(b) a greater number of eligible citizens went to vote and in so doing expressed their faith in the state on the one hand, and put government on notice to deliver on their promises on the other;
(c) the appetite for change across the length and breadth of the country was not about ending some form of foreign or colonial rule, but was instead about new issues and challenges affecting the people, especially the youth of today, and the cry to make the country better for the majority of the population;
(d) the issues of the nation were greater than the interests of any political party, hence the dismal performance of opposition parties;
(e) Namibia is doing much better than many Afrikan countries in terms of developmental goals and levels of poverty, hence the international description of Namibia as an upper middle-income country, something that irks our political leaders, while we do not behave like a poor country which cannot afford the wage bill we have for the state bureaucracy at the expense of national development, and
(f) the voices of the people are saying that the future is more important to the majority of the citizens than the past.
The direction set by the leader of the nation thus has to be in response to these factors, to take the nation forward, not backward, and to build upon the foundation of the edifices of peace from first President Nujoma, and stability from the second President Pohamba, respectively.
The priorities for my administration – if I were the third president – would be predicated upon the following government programmes.
Consider the fact that Namibia is the first country in the history of post-colonial Afrika that has enjoyed peace and stability for 25 years without a major disruption in the form of a civil war or coup d’états.
The 1998 hiccups with the secessionist attempts led by former SWAPO and DTA leader Mishake Muyongo need to be calibrated in a manner that does three things:
(a) contextualise the ill-fated desire to tear the Republic apart as an illegal act in the spirit of the Namibian Constitution;
(b) send a message to those who were ill-informed, that the state understands the confusion and is sensitive to the people who were affected by virtue of them full citizens;
(c) bring in the context of national reconciliation, which ought not to be seen as being aimed at white people only, but also towards black Namibians for the errors of the past.
In this spirit, I, as President, would have issued a Presidential Pardon to Chief (Litunga or Mulena) Boniface (Bebi) Mamili, so that he can return to his motherland before fate takes him away from us in a foreign land.
I would also pardon all those who are in prison or in countries where they sought refuge, on condition that they will not engage in similar activities in the future. Muyongo, on his part, would not benefit automatically from this dispensation, as the acts he was accused of were more unlawful by virtue of the position he held not only in the country, but also because he was part of the liberation movement, which fought for the unitary nature of the country; was one of the 72 members who wrote the constitution, which declared Namibia as a unitary state; and he was a leader of opposition for many years.
Yet at no time during his tenures in these roles did he raise the matter of an ‘Independent Caprivi’. His acts were thus premeditated, treasonous, and exposed many innocent people to severe danger, and can NOT be forgiven without a clear and deliberate process to restore justice in the country and reconfirm that One Namibia One Nation is sacrosanct.
This deliberate process would entail a high level deposition of contrition on the part of Muyongo to the government and the nation.
A NEW ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION PARADIGM
Over the last several years, the Namibian Government has been seized with the commitment to translate political freedom into economic emancipation for a growing number of the citizens in the country.
Constrained by realpolitik, it has not been easy or practical to transform the economy, as most would have wished. However, there are critical areas where it needs to be transformed in order to deliver on the peace dividend of our political transition, and the imperatives of security, stability and unity of our sovereign Republic.
We have, as a country, earned the reputation for what we have endeavoured to do in the last 25 years. Our reputation as a moral leader in Afrika must now become a psyche, which informs the way we do things for ourselves and in relation to other nations. We must therefore constantly look to identifying new ways to respond to our citizens’ evolving needs.
Our economy needs a fundamental overhaul from the bottom to the top and from side to side. Having learned not only from Afrikan experiences that the state in post-independence Afrika is part of the problem, I would therefore introduce revolutionary measures to reduce the weight of the government on the backs of the people by making the executive small, lean, expert-based and functional.
The next five years would see the following economic thrusts initiated by the Government:
LEANER AND EXPERT-BASED ORGANIC STATE BUREAUCRACY
The first announcement would have been the Cabinet to serve in my administration for five years. No Vice-President and No Deputy Prime Minister. No more than 18 Cabinet Ministers and no more than 10 Deputy Ministers in portfolios that need extra hands.
Executive positions should not be places to park comrades. The limited resources at the nation’s disposal ought to be channeled purposefully towards Education, Healthcare, Agriculture and Crime Prevention.
I would have created a central Directorate for Vision 2030 to coordinate and synchronise all Vision 2030-related projects nationally, regionally and locally in a manner that streamlines policy activities towards development in tandem with the National Development Programs (NDPs).
To alleviate poverty requires a multi-pronged approach to national economic planning, not handouts to the poor, which simply deepen their dependency on philanthropists or the state.
Creating a huge bureaucracy to tackle poverty is not a creative way to reduce, never mind eradicate it, as no country has been able to do that, not even those with more means. Sometimes poverty is (in) a state of mind. It is about doing more with less, not less with more.
REFORM OF EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, AGRICULTURE AND SAFETY AND SECURITY:
No country can prosper without serious attention to and investment in these sectors, as they are the life-blood of any economy. This means the following:
Education and Training: The Namibian state has yet to find its way philosophically and ideologically in so far as education and training are concerned. There is universal acceptance that our education system leaves much to be desired. This is mainly because we have not as a nation asked the fundamental questions that must precede the establishment of an education system that is suitable for the New Namibia in the New World.
Education is a function of the state, not a particular government. Education is about the whole character of the nation and what it wishes to become and do and define strategic partnerships and methodologies to go about it.
To be angry about the past is not a good enough motivation to design an education system. It is more important to be passionate about the future to figure out how best to get there. This is so because we cannot change the past, but we can influence the future.
The missions of education in the next five years will be:
Comprehensive education and capacity-building reform that would translate in significant paradigm shifts to influence a regional conversation within SADC towards a uniform education system that serves the youth in the southern African region;
Serious focus and attention on the training and remuneration of personnel in the health (doctors and nurses) and safety and security (Namibian police constabulary) sectors;
The re-introduction of teacher Training Colleges and entering into partnerships with first language English speaking countries to assist with the development and training of a teaching corps, since English is the only official language in the country.
The immediate establishment of a University for Agriculture and Food Security in Katima Mulilo
The establishment of a National Technical University in Otjiwarongo by virtue of the town’s equi-distance between North and South. This university will be the catchment area for public-private partnerships, whereby industries and the government team up to create possibilities for innovation and job creation in the medium and long term across the country. Students learn here while they are in mentorship and apprenticeship programmes with the private sector.
The establishment of Sports Academies in all the 13 plus 1 regions to cater for talent identification, development and management of potential sports men and women, who are not academically-oriented, but who have the gifts to grow their talent in various sporting codes. As a matter of urgency the Government will build a first-ever Afrikan Institute for Marathon Studies to be stationed in Tsumkwe, which will attract athletes from Afrika who want to hone their skills in long-distance running.
The government will enter into partnership with the United Nations and other international agencies to create a center for Gender Studies and Development to be stationed in Okahandja in the next two years to focus attention on the pertinent issues of gender mainstreaming in Afrika. Administrators, trainers and students and participants would come from across Afrika and around the world to put brainpower on this vexing socio-economic development imperative.
As a matter of urgency the Government will embark upon a comprehensive human settlement reform that will lead to the passing of laws to regulate the distribution and allocation of space for citizens, young and old, to have land space to build decent shelter for residency, and where necessary and applicable, commerce.