President Hage Geingob says Namibia cannot afford to slide back into the Bantustan era due to people that see life only through the lens of tribalism.
He said Namibia has made significant strides towards unity, but the narrative of One Namibia, One Nation is being threatened by certain sectors of the public who have become bored with peace and are keen on creating an atmosphere of distrust, hoping that people will retreat into their tribal silos.
Officially opening the 19th Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders at Keetmanshoop on Monday, Geingob called on traditional leaders to promote unity amongst Namibians, saying failure to do that will result in tribal silos that are a threat to the foundations of peace and all the progress the country has made since independence.
He said that as the third president tasked with leading Namibia to prosperity he cannot sit idle and watch while the country goes backwards. It’s thus the responsibility of all traditional leaders to unite their people in the spirit of One Namibia, One Nation, and not by looking into one’s tribal lineage.
“I cannot sit back and allow Namibia to slip down the slippery slope of disunity and return to the Bantustan era,” he emphasised.
He said traditional leaders are greatly valued and still hold important roles in this modern world as they form part of a stable and well-functioning Namibian family, adding that they are paramount in maintaining social order and promoting the development and advancement of rural communities.
Geingob further warned that some people want to cause chaos because they feel left out, and warned those people that it’s easier to destroy than build a country.
“It’s easier to destroy this country because someone feels left out, and therefore the Savimbi syndrome, as I call it, comes in, meaning if I’m not in I don’t care, I will destroy,” he said, adding ‘that kind of selfishness must stop.”
Geingob further called on traditional leaders to lead the new narrative of the Namibian house, so that every village, every homestead, every individual, in every corner of Namibia becomes an advocate of unity.
He explained that there is nothing wrong with celebrating one’s culture or tribe, but the problem, he added, arises when this leads to tribalism.
“I would like to encourage all those present today to focus on building the Namibian house – let that be our priority,” he said.
The meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders continues to Friday