One may not have any disagreement with President Dr Hage Geingob’s assessment that the just concluded Swapo Party policy conference may have been a resounding success.
Yes, a resounding success it may have been but such an assessment cannot and should not start and stop with His Excellency, nor with the Swapo Party only, let alone the participants of the policy conference.
Because such a resounding success cannot and should not be intrinsic to the Swapo Party of Namibia solely but must have a trickledown effect, or infectious of the whole country. Ultimately Swapo as the governing party does not do so in the interest of its leaders or members only but in the broader national interest.
Hence, ultimately, as they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, as much the proof of the resounding success of the Swapo Party of Namibia policy conference cannot and could not have started and ended in the said conference but in the eventual implementation of the said policies.
Too often than not we seem to engage in government programmes without the requisite policy frameworks. Any policy formulation is not actually just a whimsical operation that one can embark on without the requisite consciousness and purposefulness but a meticulous and scientific process that takes place in stages.
This is starting with the identification of a socio-economic, politico-cultural-religious problem/issue to which any would-be policy needs to respond; then the actual formulation of the policy and eventually its implementation. Still the process does not end with implementation. Monitoring and evaluation to see if any policy has the desired or intended consequences, impacts, as well as undesired and unintended ones.
This means that along the way there must be a constant review of any policy. Certainly the latter must have been one of the goals of the just concluded policy conference of the Swapo Party. The review of policies may lead to a complete revise of any policy, its scrapping and even a formulation of new policy if not a complete redefinition of the perceived socio-economic, politico-cultural-religious problematics that may initially have given rise to any said policy.
But the ultimate test in these resounding successes still lies ahead. As the president well alludes to in his commentary in the New Era Weekender regarding the policy conference, specifically noting that the conference left the participants with some “food for thought” to take away to their various duty stations, the country at large, needless to say, has been waiting with bated breath and alacrity to become part of the policy frameworks digested at the said policy conference.
Because certainly if they are to be of any meaning, such policies do not and cannot be confined to the Swapo Party lest they gather dust there. But the whole of the country must become part and parcel of them, internalise them, and eventually make them become a practical reality as opposed to their remaining mere expressions of intent and vision.
Because in the true proverbial presidential Namibian House, where no one must feel left out, surely this must also equally apply to the policymaking environment. Now that the Swapo Party has digested the various policies, it is now time to bring them to the Namibian House to share with the other members of the House. For them as much to own them, and in turn ensure their implementation but if needs be help their fine-tuning and/or their scrapping if not worth the goal they have been intended for, or/and if such goals were not in the first place duly defined and formulated, thus rendering the requisite policies inconsequential.
Twenty-six years after Namibian independence, there is no denying the fact that the Namibian policymaking environment, and thus as a corollary various policies, the few of course where they do exist, leaves much room for improvement with many problematics with aborted addressing because if an impoverished policy environment. And resultant weak policies or non-policies at all. You name them, there are many socio-economic and politico-cultural-religious areas the solutions thereto and thereof, one wonders, in which policies they are anchored. One typical example is land reform. One wonders what is the policy informing and anchoring land reform and redistribution in Namibia 26 years after independence? Is it the “willing seller, willing buyer?” And can this and is this really a policy or a mechanism?