The president is a private citizen and if he disposes of his private land in a manner he deems beneficial to him there is nothing to write home about.
He also did not offer it to the state at an exorbitant price. We should not forget that after all life awaits him after his 10 years in office. This land was on offer publicly to anyone, and no brothel or shebeen is going to be constructed there. Thus to suggest that this private act will push up prices is a fallacy.
The land that the president sold is his land which he bought with his own money. This is not land that he stole from the state or was given by the municipality, like many of us, for nothing. The president has further gone to great lengths to try to create an arms-length relationship between himself and the developers of the estate and to be transparent about the whole deal, seeking to lead by example, or perhaps weary of the detractors constantly seeking to discredit him at every turn.
We should accord the office of the president the respect it deserves to such an extent that we become blind as to who is the occupant. Our application of morality should not be applied selectively. If we are to do a lifestyle audit on the president let’s do it on all citizens above a certain threshold, and let’s question the wealth amassed by every public official, their families, and the various influence peddlers conspicuously flaunting their bespoke lifestyles amidst the sea of poverty in which many must fight to stay afloat, with their dignity in tatters.
We continue to complain that certain native languages are being promoted at the expense of others, and now that the president came with a neutral concept, Harambee, we have a problem too. During the late 90s we took a conscious decision as a country that we would want to associate ourselves with the rest of the continent, when we resolved to fly the AU flag and sing the continental anthem. At our rallies we loudly sing how we are born out of international solidarity. I thus seem not to understand what the noise is about. Is it the term Harambee or the whole concept? The Pan-Africanist approach of the president should be applauded. There is nothing wrong with taking from those around you. The developmental approach of Japan has taught us that one can copy successfully. The critics of this plan have so far failed to provide an alternative or reasons as to why this ambitious program should not be supported.
Some critics are calling those getting annoyed with the misplaced and unwarranted criticism of the president all sorts of names. The fact of the matter is that the president has not committed an impeachable offence, the only reason why there should even be gossip or attempts at frustrating him. Furthermore, the president, with barely a year in office, has hardly been granted an opportunity to craft and fully implement his vision for the country, amidst a global economy teetering on recession. Thus seeking an alternative to the current president is premature and incomprehensible at the moment.
Since independence we have created a precedent that all occupants of that institution are allowed to complete two terms as per the constitutional provisions. A president’s only fear should be at the ballot box, and not night-time machinations like those of botsotsos demanding your hard-earned money with the one hand, while holding a knife in the other hand.
President Geingob is hard at work to do more than mere critique of our past and present programmes. Instead of adopting the blame that has characterised our politics and our country, the president added a step to what was already built upon since 1990. The president should be commended to be the first to have come up with a program that will not outlive his term in office, and especially so early in his presidency. He is already inviting criticism to himself come the end of his second term, when he stoically pledged to usher Namibia into a new phase of prosperity.
The critics of the president should know that the more the president is being demonised, even at the expense of the truth, the more ordinary Namibians, who are critical yet appreciative of good efforts, will ‘dig in’, whatever the classifications.
We owe it to our children, to leave them a better house than the one we found. Let us apply our minds and support the president’s efforts to meet all our needs, by contributing constructively to the shared vision he has proposed.
- Joshua Razikua Kaumbi is a B.A. (Political Science and Sociology) Unam,
LLB Stellenbosch, practising attorney of the High Court of Namibia.