The New Year is a moment for quiet reflection where we all recount the good and bad of the past year and endeavour to ensure that the good of our thoughts and actions always outweighs the bad.
As a husband, father and friend, the past year was about communication, compromise, caring and fostering a closely-knit Namibian family. These continued to be defining lessons as the President and Head of the Namibian House.
In my personal and Presidential capacity, 2015 was devoted towards promoting a shared vision and creating a firm foundation to build a prosperous Namibian house.
Allow me to quote President Buhari who said: “I belong to all of you, I belong to none of you”. This quote echoes my conviction that my allegiance is to the Namibian family and not to individual groupings of family or friends.
The introduction of a shared ideological belief into the Namibian vocabulary through phrases, such as “the Namibian House”, “Harambee”, “no Namibian should feel left out”, and “War on Poverty” was the deliberate, rallying call to establish and articulate a shared vision.
We were privileged to gain insight into the dreams of Namibians by visiting all 14 regions and listening to the challenges and, most importantly, the suggestions of our people from all walks of life. Our people are resilient and resourceful and given fair opportunities, will excel.
The town hall meetings and other forms of engagement were aimed at including the experiences of all Namibians into government policies and actions. We will continue engaging and consulting with stakeholders, like farmers, the media, trade unions, youth, women and the private sector.
These consultations will go hand in hand with a drive towards implementation and transformation of workable suggestions into actions.
Peace is the ultimate enabler of prosperity. Put differently, there can be no prosperity without peace. Our country faces challenges relating to hunger, provision of decent shelter, youth unemployment and provision of basic social services.
Our government is focused on addressing these challenges. However, the success of our Republic is incumbent on each Namibian feeling and acting responsibly in the preservation of peace and the implementation of prosperity.
The Harambee Prosperity Programme is an economic plan that requires all Namibians to pull in the same social and economic direction, to ensure shared growth. This economic plan will be effected in an environment of enhanced transparency, accountability and performance management.
The declaration of war on poverty requires a parallel war on tribalism, racism, sexism, favouritism and corruption.
The new State Procurement Act will not only ensure the empowerment of Namibians through State institutions, but will also enforce transparency. This in turn will expose, reduce and eliminate corrupt or negligent practices.
Any tender allocated outside the Procurement Act will be cancelled and those in transgression of the law will be held accountable.
The need for State institutions to act swiftly and effectively is greater then ever and this requires a renewed emphasis on competent, honest and accountable leadership at these institutions.
The actions taken to ensure that public officials act transparently will extend to the private sector, as corruption is a collaboration between businesspeople and state officials who lack integrity.
The blacklisting of businesspeople who fail to deliver on their contractual obligations, or who are reasonably suspected of acting against the interest of State resources, is one of the many measures to be taken.
We must exercise caution in viewing Namibia’s challenges within a narrow domestic context, as we do not live in isolation from the rest of the world. We are vulnerable to external shocks, which have materially negative consequences to our economy but are not within our control.
The global slump in commodity prices, exchange rate fluctuations and climate change are key examples. As a nation, we must ensure that we strengthen our economic ability to absorb these shocks.
The maintenance of our positive credit rating is testimony to our focus on safeguarding our economic sovereignty by preserving and enhancing the current fiscal and macroeconomic stability.
In order to meet our national growth targets, targeted and substantial investment in economic infrastructure like water, energy and transport is required in order to preserve and expand our competitiveness and stimulate economic development.
The expansion of the economy and job creation requires us to invest in industrialisation programmes and value addition to our resources.
Like many other nations, we grapple with global challenges, such as high income-inequality, poverty and the need for affordable land and housing. These global challenges require Namibian solutions and as a government, we welcome the participation of all non-State actors who offer constructive and workable solutions.
It is my sincere hope that we are able to unite as Namibians to focus on principles and not personalities. Support for a cause should never be based on whether we like or identify with the person being held to account.
It is important that we recalibrate our moral compasses in the direction of what is right and not which direction fits within our economic interests, pre-existing views and personal prejudices.
We also need a critical re-evaluation of our hearts and minds to rid ourselves of self-destructive behaviour. Our country is held back by the consequences of gender-based violence, alcohol abuse, risky sexual behaviour and other social evils.
We, therefore, call upon parents, churches, schools, community activists and traditional leaders to champion the moral regeneration of our collective value system.
In conclusion, Namibians can look forward to a year where government preoccupies itself with removing economic and social obstacles, which prevent Namibians from fulfilling their full potential.
As a nation and as individuals, we must allow ourselves to be ambitious, we must allow ourselves to dream, but most importantly, we must live our dreams.
My dream is to deliver on the prosperity promise through an efficient, transparent and accountable government. What is your dream?
Finally, let me end by wishing you all a happy and productive and, therefore, a prosperous New Year 2016 – the year of implementation.