Having endured – and barely survived – the insanity that was 2017, Namibians are generally upbeat about 2018. The just-ended year was painful to live through. The country’s cash reserves were, most of the time, as dry as the arid Namib Desert, while rating agencies descended on us like eagles on a hare. We spent considerable time, amongst others, defending and justifying our sovereignty to bodies like the United Nations over North Korea – the icing on a bad cake. President Geingob, at his last press conference of that challenging year, boosted our hopes and aspirations when he, rather boldly, declared 2018 a year of reckoning. We needed that voice, Mr President! While much of it seemed like chaos, 2017 carried some positives too. True, we paid some heavy price for recession, an enigma whose origins aren’t exactly known. Job losses and non-payment of suppliers by the State were regular occurrences, but we somewhat managed to swim to the shores of 2017 – albeit with bated breath. The Swapo congress, which occupied the body and psyche of the nation during most of 2017, did not make matters better – inevitably so. As a nation, most of our conversations centred on congress and anticipated outcomes. Many officials spent the year positioning themselves for congress windfalls, pushing other critical conversations and activities to the peripheries. We neglected topics that challenge our country’s very foundation. But any momentum made in 2017 must be carried over into 2018. In 2018, let’s fight tribalism head-on. This vile scourge, perpetuated by those who look at other tribes from a non-existent fantasy pedestal, has eclipsed racism. And we all know the pain and harm that racism has caused this country. To then have tribalism overtaking racism is as scary as horror movies from Disney. Making people apologise for their tribal crimes – as has been the order of the day in recent years – would not mitigate this menace. Hardcore tribalists would never be deterred from their hobby by a mere consequence of apologising. Let this be a year of tolerance too. There’s assault on our democracy, with bullets of intolerance being shot from all cylinders. Our nation must withstand that. Divergent views, whether in a corporate boardroom or corridors of power, must enjoy some respect. Clashes of perspectives have never been a crime in the history of mankind. They are inevitable in a social set-up, as Karl Marx would argue in his social conflict theory. We need greater transparency this year, too. President Geingob, gladly, placed transparency at the centre of his year of reckoning declaration and the entire nation must rally behind his call. Transparency is nothing without accountability, though. To uncover corruption is one thing, but holding the corrupt accountable for their evil deed is another. Last year brought glimpses of accountability, such as charging people involved in the inflated bill of the fuel storage facility at the coast. This ranks among the momentums we want to see carried into 2018. There’s great immunity enjoyed by the corrupt and this has only served to inspire other unpatriotic people to follow the bad example of looting. Like PLO Lumumba said when New Era Publication Corporation invited him to Namibia in September 2017, locking away the corrupt – especially those in positions of trust – would save the country massive resources for civic education. We have good vibes about 2018. Happy New Year Namibia!
2018-01-05 09:34:29 8 months ago