Imagine a father living with his wife and five children. One afternoon, two of his children, aged 8 and 10, were playing in the street. Suddenly, the children came home running and shouting: “daddy, daddy, the Pitbull is coming”.
The father looks through the window and sees a Pitbull chasing his two girls. The girls called their father because they believed he was responsible for their safety. They trusted him for this task. The wife, the mother of the girls, has the same belief and expectation. Indeed, the three boys inside the house equally believed that their father will always protect all his children.
Instead of rescuing the girls, the father closed the gate, reasoning that he is protecting his remaining children and their mother from the deadly Pitbull. The girls were sadly left on their own.
After screaming: “Daddy, daddy, open the door”, as the Pitbull gets closer, they ran to the neighbour’s house, whose gate was similarly closed. They were eventually devoured by the beast and died in the street. How does one characterise and explain the father’s decision? Having seen their sisters devoured by the beast, will the boys ever trust their father to protect them? What does the wife think of her husband following this tragedy?
In this equation, replace the two girls with Namibians living north of the 1896 red line. Let the gate be the 1896 red line and the father be the government. Indeed, the three boys are Namibians south of the 1896 red line.
Consider the Pitbull, in this equation, as the so-called Rinderpest or Foot and Mouth Disease. When one applies this equation to the case of the 1896 red line, it becomes easier to understand why the 1896 red line and its modus operandi and modus vivendi cannot logically stand in a constitutional democracy.
It is simple, the state, like the father, has a responsibility towards all citizens. The state is not supposed, like the girl’s father did, to disadvantage or privilege some over others. This is the essence of article 10 of the Namibian Constitution.
If, in this equation, the two girls were not born by the father, who refused to open the door and effectively surrendered them to the deadly Pitbull, there might be some who could rationalise the father’s decision.
Indeed, it is understandable why the German and South African colonial regimes kept the red line for 94 years. They were not the fathers of the girls (Namibians). It simply cannot be logically and successfully argued to keep the 1896 red line in a constitutional and democratic dispensation.
One often meets feeble arguments about the so-called beef industry and European market. To feeble minds, the removal of the 1896 red line will affect this industry. This is the same logic the father used to sacrifice his girls, failing to protect them from the Pitbull and keeping them alive.
Analysed closely, the argument of the collapse of the beef industry and the negative impact on the country’s GDP is a hoax that only imbeciles can believe. Agriculture only contributes less than 5% to our country’s GDP. It seems to be suggested that if we are to ever find ourselves in a situation where Cocaine somehow contributes 6% to the country’s GDP, the government must somehow bend backwards and not combat this deadly substance, benefiting some and devastating others.
Pablo Escobar, the Colombian drug lord, circulated drug money in his community; he paid school fees and embarked upon several community upliftment programs. He even built a prison for the government. Despite these dividends to a few, Escobar had to be taken down, for he undermined the constitutional order. Similarly, Jamaican drug Kingpin Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke also emerged as a hero in his community, Tovoli Gardens, to the extent that women formed a human shield whenever authorities came for him. He had to be taken down because, like Escobar, he undermined the authority of the state – that is to serve and protect all who should be equal before the law.
During the liberation struggle, the ruling party benefited from illegal diamonds from the then Consolidated Diamond Mines. The miners saw the smuggling of diamonds, for onward transmission to Swapo, as a contribution to the liberation struggle. After independence, Swapo moved against this very activity it benefited from.
Swapo disclosed to De Beers the strategies and tactics used to smuggle diamonds at Oranjemund. It argued that the country is now independent and because we are in a constitutional and democratic dispensation, the continuity of diamond smuggling cannot be supported. The party sent Hifikepunye Pohamba to Oranjemund to speak to the miners. Speaking to them in Oshiwambo, Pohamba urged them to desist from diamond smuggling.
Some miners were stunned by Pohamba, a long-serving Swapo treasurer, for they reckoned that he was particularly aware of the contribution of diamond smuggling to Swapo’s finances.
Similarly, the 1896 red line discriminating against more than 60% of the Namibian population cannot be sustained in a constitutional dispensation. The benefits of the few are undemocratic and should not be allowed to continue. It is, therefore, no surprise that Meatco, an instrument used to sustain the 1896 red line, recently sponsored an event of European ambassadors in Windhoek at which wine and food were in abundance.
It is outsiders and the few that seem to matter. The state, and its institutions, must work for the benefit of all Namibians.