• November 21st, 2019

Electoral college: Between meritocracy and mediocrity


The idea that a political system should aim to select and promote leaders with superior ability
and virtue is being tested at this weekend’s Swapo electoral college.

It is a test of character for the ruling party, which is battling to keep its head above the waters of integrity, following numerous scandals among its rank and file in recent years.

Some of its most senior members faced litigation in courts over governance and ethical issues, something that left a scratch on the overall image of the party itself. But integrity alone is not enough. Some leaders may possess the clout required to serve in the National Assembly, but their persona lacks empathy and other characteristics needed to serve the masses.

Not many politicians who are perceived to be of high integrity know how to pursue dignity or prosperity for those they are leading. This weekend, Swapo as a people’s movement has a genuine opportunity to rid
itself of deadwood and place itself on a path of renewal by electing people who would help regain the party’s status as a revolutionary, people-centered institution of the people.

It would be difficult, of course, to really conclude who among the contenders has a genuine aim of serving
the Republic and not merely cash in on the perks that come with being in parliament and Cabinet.
Even political thinkers – from Confucius, Plato, and Zhu Xi to John Stuart Mill, Sun Yat-sen, and Walter Lippmann - have struggled to identify the ways of selecting the best possible leaders capable of
making intelligent, morally informed political judgments on a wide range of issues.

But it is those kinds of leaders that Namibians are craving to have as makers of decisions affecting their
lives and well-being. With the challenges befalling our country, the ruling party cannot afford to unleash to the nation individuals who are in politics for parochial ends.

Those in contention of accessing power in order to fill their pockets, lay their hands on tenders and rake in S&T money that should instead be spared for the nation’s destitute masses must be shown the exit
door this weekend. We need to clean up our politics and rid it of defenders of political elitism. For Swapo,
this is the weekend to bath itself of the poisonous ticks that suck the blood out of the former
liberation movement and leaving it with the contagious ailment of moral bankruptcy, laziness and thievery.

Swapo is not in short supply of members who simply want to change things for the better, while getting fairly rewarded for it. It is those who must be identified and given a chance to help attain objectives of the
party and the government it is directing.

It is 2019 and the nation is desperately seeking to rid itself of leaders who seek to elevate their own factions by awarding positions of power not to the competent but to close supporters, cronies, tribal
kinsmen, family members, friends and business associates.

Swapo must avoid what scholar Mancur Olson christened ‘distributive coalitions’, which are interest
groups who capture the political system in order to promote their individual group objectives at the expense of the collective.


Staff Reporter
2019-09-06 08:30:41 | 2 months ago

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