Cool heads required as critical week looms

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This morning President Hage Geingob is scheduled to open State House’s doors to young leaders of a radical movement advocating better access to land in the country.

The President must be commended for again keeping his word on remaining accessible and in constant touch with the people he is leading – irrespective of their background and ideologies.

Leaders of Affirmative Repositioning (AR) have been threatening to mobilise the masses to illegally occupy land countrywide next week Friday, an act that could have far-reaching implications for our country and its inhabitants.
The political maturity and the leadership credentials of both parties will be on trial during today’s scheduled meeting – and the entire nation would be hoping consensus would be reached.

With this consensus, it is hoped that plans for illegal mass land occupations would be shelved and that short, medium and long-term solutions would be proposed.

Our inspiration lies in the fact that despite the differences in approaches, both the President and AR agree that indeed accesibility to land has reached crisis levels and that a sustainable solution needs to be found.

In his wisdom, President Geingob saw it fit to sit around the same table with the AR leaders. Geingob knows that to lead a country where people have multiple interests while remaining committed to democratic principles or norms is an uphill task, but one that must be fulfilled.

The stability and survival of our country’s peace and stability hinge on many aspects – including today’s meeting at State House.

This is not an ideal platform for egos and self-centredness. It is not a stage for a hard-headed competition of ideas, but an opportunity for common cause and solution.

We are aware of the events currently happening in the ruling party Swapo – capped by expulsions of the three AR leaders as confirmed by the central committee yesterday, but this should not cloud the President’s meeting with land activists today.

There is a famous say in the ruling party that ‘when Swapo sneezes, the entire country catches the flu’. It is not a phrase of arrogance. It is a true depiction of how big a political movement Swapo is, and the influence it commands across the length and breadth of our country.

Swapo is so powerful that even its internal politicking affects everyone – including non-members. Gladly, the ruling party too agrees in principle that indeed land scarcity is a serious matter that needs addressing.

The planned mass occupation of land has smoked everyone out of their comfort zones. From government to civil society, everyone fears the worst that could happen from next week Friday.

It is against this background that all leaders, including those leading AR, must show willingness to avoid the calamities that could result from unsanctioned occupation of land across the country.

This is a leadership test of monumental proportions. The outcome of this meeting could make or break our country – something both sides know very well.

Any mentor in politics would choose to intentionally invest in the lives of others. This meeting is not about its attendants, but about those they lead – whether by design or default.

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