During his year-end media conference, President Hage Geingob declared 2018 as the year of reckoning. I am sure the media, and indeed the whole country at large, have been left guessing as to what this may mean and entail. Among the many things that the president declared war against, when he assumed office more than two years ago, is poverty. The other thing that he said he would prioritise is good governance.
Admittedly by the government’s own admission, and which of course must still stand a rigorous independent scrutiny and verification, is that food poverty has been reduced. It is not clear to what extent one would want to see statistics from the National Statistics Agency (NSA) to substantiate any assumption that food poverty in the country indeed has been reduced. Because the efforts in this regard have been the food bank, which as yet must still be rolled out all over the country. In this regard this being only a pilot at this stage, one cannot conclude that indeed this has to a great degree factored food poverty in the country, save for a constituency or two in the Khomas region, where food parcels have been distributed.
Even in the Khomas region this pilot project has as yet to bear tangible fruits. Perhaps once widely piloted in all the constituencies of the Khomas region, and eventually throughout the whole country, will one be able to say with confidence, based on scientific evidence, that indeed the country is on the way and on track of reducing food poverty, and eventually ameliorating hunger.
The best way to help people fight poverty may not be through the distribution of food parcels but through help to produce own food. Just as teaching someone to catch fish may be the best way of helping them rather than always supplying them with fish.
Talking of fishing as a way towards food self-sufficiency and security, one cannot but wonder what may have transpired with the fresh water fish initiative that the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources embarked upon. I am particularly reminded of such a project in the village Okombepera in the Aminuis constituency, which only had a single harvest and went moribund thereafter.
With respect to governance, before the issue of corruption is tackled meaningfully, it could prove an illusion to speak of good governance because corruption surely has a bearing on good governance. That corruption in Namibia is rampant is not deniable. The country is yet to see tangible results that indeed the scourge of corruption has been combatted meaningfully and nipped in the bud.
Admittedly, this is a matter that needs the cooperation of all, including members of the public and all who may help the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). But there’s no denying the fact that for some reasons – which may be known to the ACC itself, and the government that is always ready to defend the ACC – the ACC is yet to come to the party.
One cannot but wonder whether the Whistle-blower Act has been of any consequence in terms of combatting corruption or reversely it has made efforts of fighting corruption more cumbersome. Because it now seems as though the two offices are not actually complementary but rather duplication.
There have been many typical suspect cases of corruption which the ACC must have carried to their logical conclusion, but which for obvious reasons, the suspects being blue-eyed boys or girls, have never followed the natural course, but in the process aborted. The examples are glaringly there and there is no need to particularise them here.
The suspect officials are nevertheless today still continuing in their positions without compunction, while millions of Namibian dollars have been lost and/or siphoned off for the pockets of the suspect officials. Only for the political principals to come to the defence of the ACC against blatant inaction if not indecision and indifference towards obvious acts of corruption.
Until the day that the ACC becomes consequent on obvious incidences of corruption, defending the ACC is no more than placating it and defending the indefensible. Thus, one cannot but wait with alacrity to welcome 2018 as the year of reckoning!