Namibia has since independence been predominantly led by the generation that has waged the war of liberation against colonialism and oppression. This generation, with exceptions of course, has refused to sit idle and took it upon themselves, at great risk, to play their own part in liberating themselves from oppression and subjugation. As history informs us it was not an easy task to the extent where brave warriors and combatants dared to pick up arms to militarily and diplomatically change the modus operandi of Namibia. Many lives had been lost and examples of this are many. What is remarkable and exceptional about this generation, again with certain exceptions of course, is that this generation was willing to sacrifice themselves for others. As time passes, it is clear that this golden generation’s time, with all due respect, is coming to an end. This is not necessarily influenced by the will of people but by the hands of time. The question that we should all be asking ourselves is whether a detailed succession plan is in place to fill the huge shoes of some of these historic revolutionary characters and leaders. It is an open secret that in the next good ten years these revolutionary cadres will not be around anymore. Who shall then lead and what type of characters will these be? Are they militarily, diplomatically, administratively, economically and philosophically ready to lead us? Will our lives be safe in their hands? It is a known fact that everything rises and falls on leadership, collective and individual, and if we dare to leave this to chance, then the consequences could be too grave to imagine. Why do I say this? In my view, we are slowly but surely missing the point in not only identifying potential leaders that can take the country forward, but also evidently grooming nationalist leaders that followers can have faith in. If we have to ask who our future Cabinet ministers, diplomats, soldiers, politicians, parliamentarians, CEOs, business people, councillors, civil servants and activists, etc. are, do we have answers which will allow us to sleep confidently, peacefully at night? Are we creating future leaders that will be able to negotiate the huge socio-economic challenges, unity, tribalism, secessionist tendencies, and other dangers to society? Great leaders sacrifice themselves for the people, as some of the revolutionary generation did, but chance takers sacrifice people for themselves. Therein lies the danger of getting things wrong. In my view, when I look around right now, I cannot count too many young future leaders that I would willingly entrust my life with. How many can you count? Hence the importance of not leaving this succession to chance. My suggestion would be for Namibia to take deliberate efforts in identifying our future potential diplomats, soldiers, ministers, parliamentarians, councillors; in essence leaders in all trades, and purposefully train and guide them for future leadership responsibilities. In such searches and identifications, it is important to understand the difference between yes-men and true leaders. True and great leaders have never been yes-men. The worry though is that our current generation of leaders seems to prefer yes-men and those that do not ask questions about the current status quo or modus operandi. However, the danger with picking only those that always agree with us or never have any objections to things that do not work, for the sake of their own bread, butter and perceived relevance, is that these characters will not be able to hold their own once their appointing authorities are no more. They will be caught out as nothing but mere shallow stooges and will not receive the support from their own generation. If we are honest to ourselves, the liberation struggle waged and worldwide exemplary leadership in general, clearly show that those that stood firm and are revered today had the guts to stand up to what is right, regardless of the consequences. As we prepare to celebrate the lives of our departing heroes, let us also take a conscious decision to prepare and train competent leaders to take Namibia forward in the future. Anything short of that would not allow our heroes to eternally rest in peace. Iipumbu Sakaria is a peace-loving Namibian and a pioneer of the Swapo Party.
2018-07-20 10:00:38 2 months ago