Let me start off in my opinion piece with a notable quote from Toni Morrison, who said:
“To be given dominion over another is a hard thing; to wrest dominion over another is a wrong thing; to give dominion of yourself to another is a wicked thing.”
At this point in time of our supposed to be matured democracy, we have regressed a great deal with our experiment with multi-party democracy and we are slowly fading into a one party state. Others, who had the same fantasy, came out bleeding and shunned it for as long as they live. The same fate is about to befall us. Oh, cry out loud, my beloved country.
Namibia’s democracy is bleeding and this has been necessitated by dishonest, opportunistic renegades who either formed, joined or hijacked aspiring and promising movements that would have made our polity a pluralist one.
The opportunists hijacked and sabotaged the hopes of the ordinary men and when they finally decide to abandon the ship that they downed, they go back to the same system. These renegades play with the feelings of people, who really yearn for plurality and in the process abandon them in despair in their (renegade) quest for glory.
Most of them in opposition politics did little to uplift the ordinary men and women, who have been sitting around bus stops selling home-made products, be it food or artifacts, because they have no national policy or vision as to how they want to see the country go forward. Their aim is glory and this is what they keep hunting for before extinction.
At the dawn of a supposedly new era, with the end of direct colonial rule, the country experienced political plurality in terms of multi-party democracy as to its representation in the houses of assembly. The country had a working democracy that ensured that de jure dictatorship got nipped in the bud.
There was little room for abuse of power, even though the Presidency received more executive powers to hire, fire and even rule by decree in extreme cases, with enough room for checks and balances.
Our fate was sealed in the 1994 elections that saw opposition parties’ representation dwindle in the National Assembly – whether by hook or crook. This was the beginning of the end of real multi-party democracy and its consequences are still seen and felt.
This brought about the presidential third term, which was not a necessity, but a convenience of the elites in the interest of someone.
It did not end there, regional governors, who were usually elected by councilors, were now appointed by the Presidency, who has already appointed the minister who is their overseer.
And lately the Security Commission and Law Society no longer provide a variety of credible people to the president to choose from, but the president now chooses who he/she wants in what position. Hence we find ourselves in a situation whereby we have an Attorney General, who cannot argue or defend the government in court. Should there be issues to be resolved in court government has to hire lawyers to defend it.
A lot of leftist political pundits will argue that the incumbent governing party prepared the ground for the status quo to remain the way it is by making life difficult for those who oppose it. Yes, this is true and so many people have been victimised and generations sent into deliberate poverty, because the family’s sole breadwinner was ostracised for having a different political opinion.
Be that as it may, most opposition parties, led by opportunists, have little chance to convince the masses that they are an alternative. They do not have clear – if any – policies on issues. Those that had a chance to glance parliament, got swallowed up by S&T’s (subsistence and travel allowances) and started fighting others for demanding that crumbs fall from their tables.
Opposition parties have gained a reputation of power mongering and the aim of that power is to go to parliament and represent the depth of their pockets.
Those that do not make it to parliament seek shortcuts by political grasshopping to the governing party under the false pretense of being promised offers that never materialise. Most of them ignore the fact that the latter also has its people, who have had flags on their shacks for the past ten years, never wavered and still there is no change in their social status.
Namibian politics is a great tragedy. Every time fortune-seekers give themselves to the governing party, democracy bleeds and never clots. We are the co-authors of our own tragedy.
We canonise oppressors and vilify the saints. We succumb to their oppression. We are egalitarian citizens and our loyalty should be directed to the protection of our democracy and not what the oligarchy has to bribe us with.
Let me end off with a quote from Dr Martin Luther King:
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”