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My candid view - Time for athletes to benefit from MoUs and MoCs

2020-10-30  Otniel Hembapu

My candid view - Time for athletes to benefit from MoUs and MoCs
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I would like to start by applauding government, through the sports ministry, for penning a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) with Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology – an agreement that both said parties will bring much-needed transformation and development to the sporting fraternities of the two countries.

The MoC with Japan was signed on Wednesday; Namibia’s sport minister Agnes Tjongarero and Japan’s ambassador to Namibia Hideaki Harada at the occasion expressed surety that the agreement will benefit Namibia and her athletes in many aspects, especially in the areas of infrastructure development and the exchange of expertise in various sport fields, among many other areas of cooperation.

Wednesday’s MoC is one of many such agreements, which includes countless memorandum of understandings (MoUs) signed with countries such as Zimbabwe, Jamaica, England, China and South Africa to mention but a few, and none of all those hundreds of MoUs and MoCs signed over the years have yield impactful results, especially for athletes situated deep in the nook and cranny of the country.
Over the many years of my journalism career, I have witnessed countless sport ministers signing endless MoUs in the areas of infrastructure development but Namibia still sits with a frightening backlog of sport facilities across almost all regions. One wonders if there are people entrusted with tracking down the implementation rate and overall efficiency of all these MoUs signed over the years or maybe they [MoUs] are merely signed for the sake of political expediency and then thrown in the drawers to die a natural death.

Namibia, especially in the sport fraternity, has a serious problem of crafting beautiful policies and documents, but nothing ever gets to be implemented. It’s not just the MoUs – what happened to the recommendations from the various sport conferences held over the years? Who are the implementing agencies entrusted with the realisation of all these beautiful documents we keep coming up with? To who do these implementing agencies, that’s if they even exist, account to? 

We can’t just keep coming up with beautiful policies and documents, calling up fancy press conferences for the sake of “political friendship” but the athletes never get to benefit. I say it’s time the sport ministry, in collaboration with the Namibia Sports Commission (NSC), comes up with a special unit of personnel that will solely be entrusted with monitoring the full implementation of all government sport MoUs and MoCs and ensure athletes get to benefit from such agreements. Until next time, sharp sharp!!

2020-10-30  Otniel Hembapu

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