Apostle Marson Sharpley
We must work to prepare our nation to compete. Unless we accept the fact that countries compete, we will remain complacent and also lack the necessary high professional standards required of a reliable and trustworthy public service and private sector. Countries compete for market share in the world economy.
The global economy has grown exponentially and continues to grow as trading is intensified and expanded and increased through bilateral and multilateral agreements as well as through accelerated technology, especially cyber technology.
It is not only in Namibia, but even in the well-oiled machine of an economy as established as the USA that business executives have a particular dislike for government and think it incompetent, and they still entrust government with huge responsibilities such as resources for housing, education, health, research, development and defence.
The saddest part is that even though we do not want to admit it, business, as well as government bureaucrats and other well-meaning, educated citizens know too little about the world economy – although we would all like to.
At the passing away of Mamma Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, a national matriarch and political icon, the impact of patriarchy on the society came to the fore very strongly and as a traditional African man I found myself having to step back and tick some of the proverbial boxes of the issues that were being raised.
I must confess that the issue of patriarchy raised in the public domain at the passing of this powerful woman and many others before her, both here at home and in South Africa and other countries on the continent, did make me somewhat uncomfortable and I realized that it was in fact not an easy discourse. For me, it was not easy, because as politically progressive as I think I am, I must admit that I am also a cultural conformist and a conservative traditionalist, which at times can be interpreted as leaning on sexism.
There are just some conversations in our fledgling democracy whose discourse is definitely uncomfortable at times because of a view or views that there are constant societal principles that ensure order instead of chaos, and once these are not respected or adhered to, our society frowns on them.
This is all seen as the oppression of women by their male counterparts and also as unfair yardsticks that deliberately differentiate between male and female, as it was between what was termed white and non-white during apartheid colonial rule.
We cannot and should not entertain the notion that government strategies do not matter and nor should we shy away from accepting the fact that we are responsible for effecting good government policy in our countries.
The world has changed – clearly demarcated political polarization has given way to economic interests that do not entertain political emotionalism, but rather welcomes skills and professionalism, irrespective of the gender.
Our country, like all other nation states of the world, is developing in a certain direction, based on its immediate strategy and operational context. A country’s developmental trajectory can at times abruptly change because of war, shortages of food through disasters such as drought, political and economic shocks including systemic corruption.
The conversation regarding sustainability of our country’s political and economic institutions affects us all, and therefore cannot be paused or put on hold no matter who is in power and what we are facing at a given time.
The time to build requires of all of us as citizens and leaders to pull together and contribute towards the advancement of the country with a united attitude and sense of purpose energized by fairness before the law.
The challenge in our developing countries is that whilst we are in the process of rebuilding human and social institutions, which is justifiably emotional, we have to see the practical implementation of national economic programs that are aimed at development.
With the global focus being economic, the emphasis is on growing the economy of the country, especially a country as ours that was unrelentingly plundered with impunity by a system that had total disregard for human dignity and human rights.
The call to unity is and should never be seen merely as a hollow political cliché, but rather as a way of life to be developed as a national culture for the sake of the quantifiable advancement of the nation. It is the desire of all able-bodied people in our country to experience financial freedom and economic fulfilment.
Finally, I remain convinced that if as informed citizens we do not contribute to sound government policy, we have no right to complain about ineptitude and bad service delivery.