The 27th independence anniversary speech by President Hage Geingob last month at Rundu resolutely outlined government actions required in some key policy priority areas to effect a fundamental structural socio-economic transformation.
The presence of Founding Father Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma and the former President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the main event, with other senior leaders and a massive grassroots electorate, served as a great show of strength in unity.
For only the odd few Namibians are goaded on, and only being united by one English daily mainstream newspaper which recently turned a tabloid and now specialises in the vindictive art of regular outdated make-up scandals and gossips around the President’s personal life and sporadic foreign travels.
Just as Rome’s Julius Caesar had his Brutus, the antagonists in the grand Namibian political drama of intrigue and betrayal are acting out this dark role with uncanny semblance to the historical script.
Unlike then, for the Namibian Brutus’ brothers in arms, it is not too late to hurriedly retrace their steps from the unwise self-made disaster, towards the center of nation building underpinned by political maturity and pragmatism.
Secondly, claims of this motley group of 40-somethings forging a fiery battle-ready brotherhood stemming from ignoble determinations, to face off against the legitimate senior leadership, amounts to a comical absurdity if true, and whose unavoidable end will be a politically devastating ignominy for the former.
Rather, if only, the 40-somethings would wisely set aside the trivial dissimilarities, the invectives, and the impertinence embedded in the typical African curse and make genuine amends in the spirit of true Ubuntu African brotherhood, in the supreme interest of the country; they would earn their places as rightful mentees for proper governance coaching, as the next generation of leaders.
Empowerment, Land & Freedom
For brevity, the reflections on this will only focus on some of these areas, but bears the same mind with President Geingob on the vital importance to achieve shared prosperity for all and to structurally transform the economy.
In this context, the concept to share by law and not voluntarily as Namibia too shares its only begotten finite resources within the law with domestic and foreign investors including those from Germany, South Africa, China, Spain, and Canada, is commendable. In turn, investors should share with local communities in their own interest, for stability and for investment certainty to accrue. The President is accurate to emphasise a contractual context of sharing.
Unmistakably, a transformation of the current structural economic imbalances will mean an alteration in the business culture, ownership and modus operandi of the big South African banks and companies, as they do not just hold majority market share but wholly dominate all Namibian economic sectors except for the public construction industry, where the Chinese have almost edged them out post-independence.
Some of these companies in partnership with some local white capital and co-opted few blacks, understandably due to vested profit interests have been the most strident anti-BEE opponents. Many of them used separate incidences (yet selectively synchronized and highlighted daily by their equally neocolonial media proxy sections as if it is a nationally widespread prevailing status quo) of black elite corruption and black SME inefficiencies as pretexts why a national BEE effort should not be permitted, claiming that it would only benefit the already empowered few black elites (meaning those empowered via Chinese construction tender partnerships – and not their ‘good black pals’).
Theirs is not an incontrovertible scientific argument, as evidently the right policy measures can be instituted to broaden the beneficiaries to workers, communities, economically vulnerable groups and individuals. What is certain, is that the empowerment question can no longer be a deferred dream premised on unauthentic grounds and recalcitrance.
Regarding land, President Geingob’s announcement that the government is to revisit the willing seller, willing buyer land policy which has outlived its usefulness, is a decisive statement of intent which should gain more takers. Also, his invitation for innovative yet constitutionally compliant proposals, including for ancestral land, but with due cognisance of the disposed San, the original land owners of Namibia deserves to be applauded by all, including human rights activists, NGOs and the media.
Agents of Destabilisation
The President expressed amazement with the presence of some Namibians who are intent to see the government of the day failing to the point of wishing for some sort of calamity to jeopardize its progress. A point so well made that all right thinking Namibians including the opposition parties should have embraced and expounded upon it.
This assertion on centrifugal forces who yearn for a fragmented, Namibia at war with itself like as is in some other countries such as Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and others, is spot on. Such people are spurred on by some faulty reasoning media, managed by semi-polished Afro-negativistic staffers, whom Malcolm X in his “Message to the Grass Roots” (1963) identified as the ‘House Negro’ who regards himself better than the ‘Field Negro.’ Because they worked in the master’s house, these House Negroes supported then existing slavery power structures and denigrated the Field Negroes, forgetting that they all were just mere slaves.
Having no iota of patriotism or productivity, they laze around 24/7 on Facebook to provoke with reckless abandon leadership such as the President, the First Lady, the Founding Father, Former President and others through derogatory name-calling, and crude anti-government propaganda by “adult cry-babies” crying without visible tears on how bad life has supposedly become under the current administration.
However, peace-loving Namibians should derive comfort that these vociferous groupies are of no significance compared to the about 90 percent silent yet absolute majority of the population who voted for the President and the ruling Swapo Party, and are primed to defend the Namibian Dream of a peaceful, stable, prosperous, industrialized and inclusive country at peace with herself and the world.
* This commentary is written strictly in my personal capacity as a citizen of the Republic of Namibia, and hence contains only my personal views.