President Hage Geingob has reminded the nation that prosperity for the majority of citizens is the only insurance to sustainable development, peace and prosperity – and that a country having inequality and a large gulf between the rich and the poor cannot be successful.
“As I always emphasise, inclusivity spells harmony – and exclusivity spells conflict. Therefore, after 28 years, it is time to take stock, assess the road going forward and see how best we can accomplish the urgent tasks of unity and shared prosperity,” said Geingob at the main official celebration of Namibia’s 28th independence anniversary, which took place at the Oscar Norich Stadium in Tsumeb, Oshikoto Region.
The fully packed event was attended by former presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba, Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba, cabinet ministers, service chiefs, governors, diplomats and thousands of ordinary Namibians from different parts of the country.
Geingob said peace and unity are important preconditions for national collective success.
“There were no textbooks to prepare us for accomplishing the task of development and shared prosperity after independence. But our conscience and actions animated our conviction that we needed to build a new Namibia. A Namibia in which the chains of the injustices of the past would be broken and the protection of each citizen – the reason why a government is elected – became a reality,” stressed the president to cheers from the public.
In addition, he said, there was a need for the government to set its own policies towards nation-building, social progression and economic advancement of its people.
The president said the past four years have not been easy due to the economic downturn which have seen falling commodity prices and exchange rate fluctuation, which led to some small businesses failing, resulting in tens of thousands of people losing their jobs according to a report recently tabled in parliament.
“The economic downturn has necessitated new thinking in government on how to ensure a diverse and inclusive growth model, based on fiscal prudence and sustainability to weather turbulent economic storms. We are now at a critical stage and all hands are needed on deck in order to create the conditions for broad-based economic growth,” said Geingob, who is also the commander in chief of the Namibian Defence Force.
He urged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to diversify their business portfolios.
“I can assure you that it won’t be easy. But we must all bear in mind that there are no shortcuts to progress and prosperity. Every Namibian will have to actively participate in bringing about genuine change and structural transformation within our economy. Genuine change would require that we enter into a contract of rights and responsibilities,” asserted Geingob.
In the same vein the president appealed for national unity, as a country without peace and unity cannot prosper socially and economically – as attested by the chaos in some countries.
The thousands in attendance were handed lunch packs consisting of rice, chicken, meat and salad as they streamed out of the stadium in a very orderly manner bereft of any chaos, while invited guests such as diplomats, cabinet ministers and senior government officials were treated to an official luncheon.
••• Caption (Hage2):