& Albertina Nakale
Information deputy minister Engel Nawatiseb has criticised those calling on Namibians to boycott the Independence Day celebrations, saying it is “tantamount to treason”.
“It is strange that these calls to boycott have been coming from the youth wing of the PDM, which is poised to become the official opposition, whatever this means in Namibian political parlance,” Nawatiseb said yesterday.
“What can and may official opposition really mean in a country engaged in nation building and reconstruction? This is a question that many of the country’s political analysts and commentators as well as social commentators have never belaboured,” he added.
PDM youth leader Benson Katjirijova on Monday called on Namibians to boycott the 30th Independence Day celebrations, saying the ruling party has failed to deliver on the promises it made in 1989.
But Nawatiseb says above all, for a political party that has been accorded, duly or unduly, the honour of the status of official opposition, and likely to be so accorded with the seventh parliament, it is reawakening to hear the youth of the PDM agitating for the boycotting of the independence celebrations.
“Granted it may be within the rights of the youth league of the PDM, both within internal party democratic dynamics and mechanisms, with consequent independence of ‘conscious’ and thinking as it may,” he said.
“Celebrating the country’s independence is essentially a spontaneous matter, and a voluntary one for that matter. And the reasons for such celebrations are as multiple as our Namibian society is politically, religiously and culturally diverse.”
He warned the PDM youth league and other groupings to stop instigating Namibians not to attend the celebrations on 21 March. “They should stop instigating people not to attend the celebrations. If you don’t want to attend, it is your right, but do not instigate others not to attend,” he cautioned.
Nawatiseb yesterday also unveiled the Independence Day logo and theme for the next five years. The logo features two jubilating Namibian national flags being the symbol of nationhood. The other is the eagle in the air representing the foresightedness of national leaders from time immemorial. There is also a human chain of women and men dressed in various colours, representing the diverse cultures.
This year’s Independence Day will also include the swearing-in of President Hage Geingob for his final term as president. The ministry of information said only N$1 million has been budgeted for the celebrations.
Nawatiseb noted that Namibia’s corporate citizenry, both public and private, are on board, making commendable contributions in kind and other ways. “Some are knocking on the doors of sub-committees of the national preparatory committee to provide a helping hand in serving in those committees making monetary contributions and various sponsorships,” he said.