Our nation has major issues but when looking at what is happening across our borders, it looks like we have a lot for which to be grateful – or even jealously guard.
The season of horror has reared its ugly head in neighbouring countries and while we pray for their well-being, it is perhaps time that Namibia starts thinking about how to avoid falling into the same trap.
This week our good neighbours Zimbabwe have been under smoke and fire as angry protesters took to the streets to express their anger at the state of affairs in the country.
In Zambia, ahead of a heated presidential election next month, clashes were recorded as tensions in campaigns pick up momentum, with operations of a daily newspaper in that country being shut down.
In Angola, the country’s president has gone on record bemoaning the declining economy, due in large part to global oil prices that have dropped in recent months. The country’s biggest company and puller of foreign exchange, Sonangol, is said to be on its knees too.
Our ‘big brother’ South Africa continues to be a turf of violence – cemented recently by protests against the manner the ruling party ANC selected some of its mayoral candidates for upcoming local council elections.
The terror has sent fear and shock waves down the spine of the entire sub-region, with the international community watching in anticipation how we would emerge from these difficult times.
Back in Namibia, thorny issues persist. From Swapo disunity which threatens the national fabric of cohesion, to the drought and poverty – we clearly cannot claim to be way better off than our neighbours.
But perhaps socially, we have been tranquil and relatively peaceful. For that, we are grateful to all Namibians for they are directly responsible for this relative calm.
We have built one of the most resilient democracies in the continent – maybe even in the world. We continue to surprise ourselves with our success in certain areas of development, such as our social safety nets which have been a key weapon against poverty.
But we perhaps are becoming too drunk on the wine of our success so far, so much that lately there seems to be a lot of tension in the country. This threatens our very existence as a people and Namibia’s standing as an exemplary player in the world of political stability and good governance.
Many Namibians today seem to have put their personal interest above that of the entire nation, and have, therefore, little regard for possible consequences of their actions.
To top it off, we have become a nation of whiners. We whine more than hungry puppies do, always snivelling while drowning in self-pity. We need men and women of this nation to shake off the shackles of self-pity and stand up to be counted.
We complain at every new idea and initiative and cannot handle criticism. We are too pessimistic and are afraid to traverse new trajectories. This is not how nations are built.
The fights featuring the ruling party in one corner and AR in the other have reached childish levels. It’s draining – even taxing – that Namibians have to wake up to headlines of silly fights every morning. While this persists, other national priorities become casualties of these cowardly confrontations.
There is an opportunity to emerge out of all this unscathed. But it would require humility, national interest at heart, wit and will to put these emotional fights to bed. We are a proven winning nation. We can’t tumble now.