Last Wednesday Governor of Omaheke Festus Ueitele took what could have amounted to a bold step to apologise to the Ovaherero community and/or any other individual who may have been hurt by his earlier remarks.
He was apologising for utterances made during a meeting with the chief of the Bakalagadi community in the Aminuis Constituency. In an audio recording of this conversation with the chief, which soon went viral online, he was heard castigating the Ovaherero community as untrustworthy and self-centred.
Long after the despicable utterances he purported to apologise, willfully or by submission. As much as it matters it will never be known whether he apologised out of own volition, having realised the unbecomingness of his utterances.
This after initially denying that he said what was attributed to him. Not only this, but he also initially claimed the clip had been doctored. Only following the advice and/or order of the President, Ueitele found the necessary courage and resolve to apologise.
But the governor seems to have spoiled it all for himself, not only in terms of first denying his utterances, but later claiming the clip was tampered with. Worse was his dilly-dallying and failure on own initiative to come up with the necessary apology, having realised the fallacy of his utterances.
Still, on the day of the apology it seems that even the apology itself was not unconditional and unreserved, because while apologising the governor made it clear this may not be the end of the saga, as he was categorical that he would soon reveal more.
But worst, it has come to transpire that most of those to whom the apology was to be offered were not present at the said media conference to hear and accept the apology.
Given this scenario, as much as the governor publicly offered the apology in the absence of the leaders of the said community or communities to whom the apology was and must have been directed, such apology is as good as not having been offered.
But it seems this is something the governor himself is very much aware of. As the grapevine has it, his intention is to meet the said affected leaders to offer them his sincere apology.
One cannot but commend him for this, especially in view of the reports of some of the leaders who attended the media conference being stoic in response to the purported apology. With some maintaining their indifference to the apology until they have briefed their communities.
Unfortunate and unbecoming as Ueitele utterances may have been and were, they certainly could not have been made in a vacuum, but in a certain context and circumstances. This context may be well known to the residents of the region and to Ueitele and fellow leaders in the region, especially within the ruling party.
The naked eye may not see it, but there can be no denying that a virus is deeply rooted, if not ingrained for some time now within the ruling party itself. So, given what Ueitele said – reckless as it was – he may just as well have been signaling a volcano that has been teeming to explode.
Much as the governor’s apology is a prudent move, he indicated at the media conference in Gobabis where he apologised that he is yet to reveal more in due course and this is a strong indication that everything may not be well in Cattle Country.
Thus, it takes more than just Ueitele’s apology to get the Omaheke house in order. But one thing that all in the Omaheke Region must realise, particularly the leaders, is that they need one another if there is to be any hope of taking the region “to greater heights”.
One cannot deny the fact that the Omaheke Region is one of the relatively under-developed regions. Thus, instead of throwing stones at one another and engaging in senseless bickering and rivalry, the leaders must provide the leadership, which is a necessary but not sufficient condition for development.
When they chart the requisite way towards much-needed development in the region, developmental dividends would come by themselves, thus making rivalry between and among the leaders – let alone between the various ethnic communities – an abomination. The only way forward for the region is togetherness and unison and soldiering on to ensure the welfare of its inhabitants.
Meanwhile, surely the party must also bring its due in this regard by cleaning its house and ensuring that its various roleplayers, who are central – if not instrumental – in the whole debacle, start to not only think alike, but Harambee together!
In that regard the matter, as its stands, cannot be left in the hands of the regional leadership. The top leaders responsible for the region clearly have their work cut out!