There’s only one Hage Geingob

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This is in response to an editorial of a local weekly, dated 05 May 2017. I write to respond to what I perceive as a rather demeaning and undermining editorial towards the President of the Republic of Namibia and the Presidency, as the highest seat of office in the land.

The level of cynicism towards government policies that involve the lives and future of the masses of Namibia cannot continue to go unchallenged. The declaration of the president to eradicate poverty through the implementation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan as a government action plan towards prosperity for all is a serious executive order and intention, which is most definitely achievable. My concern in reading, observing and listening to some of the commentators in the public domain is that there seems to be a desire to create and foster a sense of anxiety in the populace that this President does not know what he is doing and cannot be trusted, to the point of almost “lying” to the people.

Furthermore, a question that begs an answer is this: what is the intention and agenda of the people who seem determined to work at discrediting President Hage Geingob? This is a man well-schooled in the art of politics, diplomacy and administration.

What has brought about so much antagonism? Is it an unfamiliar style of governance? Is it an unacceptable modus operandi undermining a status quo that was comfortable for a powerful group of persons in the shadows of our existence? Is it to do with personal expectations that have not been met?

Why the personal attacks on the man, instead of playing the ball, to the point of commenting on the personality of the president as being “complex”? All of us are complex. Just one! We are such complex creatures that I am sure we even exacerbate God, who created us.

On the observation of the resident being “ambitious”, the very fact that he is the President of the Republic of Namibia informs us that he is ambitious, or else he would not have ascended to the highest office in the land. Since when has being ambitious been a negative trait?

Unless it threatens the lives and well-being of others, ambition is what drives people and develops societies. So then, thank God Almighty that we have a sophisticated and ambitious President to take Vision 2030 and NDP5 forward through the implementation of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which complements the others. Are these criticisms levelled at the president justified or are they the manifestation of an agenda by very angry, disappointed and disgruntled person(s), who are not crusaders for the collective as much as crusaders of their own personal comfort and elitist social standing in a materialistically driven capitalist democracy, where enough is never enough and selfishness is the order of the day, informed by a deep sense of entitlement, thus regarding others as being undeserving and inferior to themselves?

Correctly observed, land is very sensitive and demands of both the government and civil society to vigorously and diligently, as well as smartly apply our minds, as it is a matter that transcends mere political discourse as compared to being the central pillar of our people’s humanity. And this, any freedom fighter and/or revolutionary knows too well.

That’s why we say: there can be no true reconciliation without restitution. The fact is that we have to perhaps accept it is a prioritised work in progress and part of a continuous narrative central to our reaping the fruits of freedom, but informed by the laws of the country and our agenda to have a meaningful existence in the family of states of the world, as guided by the internationally accepted rule of law.

A cartoon “looking” for the “real Hage Geingob” insinuates many negative traits regarding the president and one can draw many conclusions, from schizophrenia to double-minded indecisiveness, by a leader who is supposed to eradicate poverty and lead Namibia into 21st century modernisation through industrialisation.

The real Geingob is the one who grew up in the struggle for the freedom of his people, the Namibian people; the one who lead the first group of exiled leaders of Swapo back to Namibia; the one who chaired the tough negotiations during the Constituent Assembly tasked to come up with an acceptable constitution for an independent Namibia; the one whom the founding president and father of the nation Sam Nujoma trusted to be the first prime minister of Namibia, which prime minster would have to create one united, robust civil service out of ethnically divided administrations; the one who in spite of a politically challenging season in his life remained loyal to his party to come back and with dignity be an ordinary MP; the one whom our dear former president appointed as minister of trade and later as prime minister for the second time in his career; and eventually the current president of the Republic of Namibia, voted in with an overwhelming majority.

Now this is the Hage Geingob that we, the people of Namibia, know and if there is knowledge of another Hage Geingob, then that should be the preserve of his family, confidantes, close friends, comrades and his peers, whom he has chosen to trust, and no one else.

Should a follower be trusted enough to know the vulnerabilities of a leader, it is that trustworthiness that should inform the loyalty of such a one, not to use such knowledge to either blackmail or demean a leader, because at the end of the day, we are all complex, fallible human beings and what you sow you will surely reap.

A friendship with Hage, the person, does not give anyone the right to undermine and want to continuously attack Hage, the president, because of reasons unknown to the rest of us, except to draw conclusions that it is all because of expectations that were there and which seem not to have been met.

We cannot befriend each other in life simply because we want something in return. That is actually the definition that I give the word “conflict”; it is the distance between reality and expectation. You expect this from someone, but the reality becomes something else and the result is conflict.

Let us trust the president with what he has been tasked to do, because we know that he is informed by the Swapo manifesto, guided by the Constitution and works in a collective through consultation.

Why the heightened anxiety? Has it to do with lifestyles that are no longer affordable? If so, scale down, sell some stuff and be more economically prudent. We are all forced to do that in these lean times. My humble advice would be that we try to do our bit to improve the lot of our population.

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