Nothing wrong with demanding fairness

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At the onset, I extend best wishes for the New Year 2016 to all. Let it be a year of renewed hard work, dedication and patriotic commitment to ensure equitable distribution of economic wealth to all Namibians especially those in rural areas and informal settlements. Let us also remember that a hungry stomach cannot forever continue to sing praises for the selected bellies that have access to the eating table. This should be at the nucleus of advocacy for economic inclusion in all 121 Constituencies of 14 Regions.

The object of this writing is to comment on media reports towards the end of last year (2015) regarding the demonstration in the Kavango (East and West) regions against what was termed as “exclusion” and for having been regarded as “voting cows”. Some commentators attributed this to an article by Professor Joseph Diescho on 9 October 2015 titled “Kavango: a time bomb”. For the purpose of clarity and emphasis, a selection of the article is quoted below:“…The people in the two Kavango regions produce election results. Yet the Kavangos are grossly underrepresented in all national government structures.

Other groups who rank very low in the population count are over-represented. Not long after authoring this explosive article, Prof Diescho was unprocedurally dismissed from his position of executive director of NIPAM. As indicated earlier, planned demonstrations too were partly highlighting this same message. It is a concern, which was not invented by Prof. Diescho. Ironically, some quarters deliberately misconstrued this as a demonstration in support of Prof Diescho.

The spinning started and reported bribing ensued. But the issues he raised and what the organisers of the demonstration raised could not be postponed or bribed. They are as glaringly obvious as the sun during the day and the moon at night. The demands and simmering summer of discontent is about the constitutional provision of equality. As some might agree, sometimes equality means “equality of results” – meaning what is the empirical data which can be used to refute the statistics above? Are these facts fictitious or factual?Until those questions are answered, it is demonic to divert attention from these real issues to unfortunate phraseology that “traditional leaders were being instigated”? I found this reference highly disrespectful to traditional leaders all over Namibia. I hope those who suggested such could retract it speedily.

I was born and grew up under the leadership of late Hompa Daniel Sitentu Mpasi, a traditional leader of impeccable wit and inspiring bravery. He was never instigated to remain principled in defiance of the apartheid rule even when his own life was at stake. He stood firm and ndjikiti throughout his life until his final breath. Fumu Mbambo is the same, so too Hompa Kassian Shiyambi, Hompa Kudumo Siwombe and Hompa Kaundu.Like all traditional leaders across the country, these are leaders we must respect and look up to at all times regardless of whether we are holding big public offices. I state therefore, unequivocally, that these traditional leaders are not strangers to the challenges facing the people of Kavango, both East and West.What they want to see in Namibia is equality for all.

They would never oppose equal opportunities extended to any part of the country be it to Warmbad, Sangwali, Okalongo, Onesi, Tsandi, Omundaungilo, Onkumbula, Oshikulufitu, Ohamakari, Hoachanas, Otjombinde, Okangwati, Khorixas or Rehoboth.Equality in the Namibian context should not necessarily mean that everybody should have the same amount of material goods, but that all people should be able to hope, yearn, and strive to improve their lot and especially the opportunities for their children.

This is the issue. Every Namibian deserves equality and if those in Kavango feel left out or excluded, it is their democratic right to demand fairness and inclusion.I have no problem that some are monitoring who we contact, even boasting “we know Ngurare and Diescho are communicating”. But why should it be a national sin to speak to Prof. Diescho? Here is a man who was headhunted from South Africa and treated as a darling, used him like a bubble gum, and now he is spit out just like that. Who doesn’t know how State machinery can be misused and abused? Spare us the lecture, all of you involved know that we know what you did and are still doing.It is a matter of public record that I have differed with Prof. Diescho in the past primarily because of his association with the Forum for the Future and the perceived onslaught at the time against the person of Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma. Questions were asked why I was condemning Prof. Diescho whilst we were from the same region.

Let me conclude by giving context to some of these questions. One morning assembly in 1987 at Rundu Secondary School, Prof. Diescho lectured us about the liberation struggle. At the time our teachers included fully armed South African soldiers who tried to intimidate him to stop “speaking politics to learners”. He never stopped and the then principal, the late Mitili Maurus “Tjangi” Nekaro, urged him on defiantly. Prof. Diescho told us that “Namibia would be free one day, and Dr Sam Nujoma would become President of a free Namibia, whites too would be ruled by him.” Thereafter we boycotted classes that morning. Therefore the difference with my uncle, Prof. Diescho, is based on my interpretation of what he stood for then and what he advocated through Forum For the Future. Hence, I will talk to him any day.In the final analysis, let us not divert from real issues. The facts as presented by Prof. Diescho are what must be dismissed and spied on not ordinary people like us, period.

The young people of Kavango and those of all over Namibia have the right to remind the nation where improvement is needed. They are not and must not be regarded as enemies. And for the few in Kavango who want to become political bubble gums and possibly promised a position as ambassador to Mongolia, just remember that the fullness of your stomach is not the solution or panacea of the challenges facing the majority.

Your sweetness will end too one day. Join hands to address youth empowerment, rural development, informal settlement development and genuine economic empowerment in all 14 Regions and in all 121 constituencies.

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