Alvenus F. Dreyer
The recent complete standstill (off-air radio stations) for more than two weeks must not be taken lightly, if one considers the dissemination of information.
At least for indigenous languages which are usually subsidised by government to ensure the nation receives news and information on time. Here we especially look at remote and far-off areas where citizens don’t necessarily have modern communication tools.
Radio still but remains the number one communicator with the communal farmer, the elderly, youngsters and those toiling farmlands. What about Covid-19-related news and information; funeral, church and sports announcements; as well community meetings, which many only hear via radio? Radio has been the one medium that has allowed for messages to be sent and delivered, with feedback in return.
Let’s again emphasise the importance of information dissemination. If there is to be a compromise on the latter mentioned, then all parties must as soon as possible come to an agreement/understanding. For citizens, no matter where in Namibia, to hear their own mother tongue but to also be able to communicate in their native language, is something very special and noble.
Striking workers must not and cannot for weeks go without informing the nation, yet they are on a payroll.
Likewise, the management of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) must ensure that early and voluntary retirement as well as retrenchment plans must be the last resort for the ongoing dialogue.
Management, also in other government-funded enterprises and in ministries as well must start with innovation, and not only get heavy pay cheques and perks.
For as long as there is no accountability and transparency, the effective delivery of goods and services will remain behind, whether in the public or private sectors.
Managers and board members must deliver to an expected level, making use of their expertise, education and experience.
The mismanagement of public funds and resources is what has left public (state-owned) enterprises in dire situations, with no return on government investments.
Important stakeholders cannot risk doing a disservice to a constitutionally guaranteed right of access to information and cultural (traditional) identity. Public radio broadcasters (indigenous channels) must come back on air, because they play an integral part in the daily lives of the majority poor working class Namibians.