Former Cabinet minister Kazenambo Kazenambo has been leading a quiet life since leaving his ministerial job in December 2012. New Era journalist Kuzeeko Tjitemisa met up with the outspoken former youth minister to discuss, among others, his private life and the just ended regional council and local authority elections.
KT: What have you been up to since leaving your ministerial job?
KK: I have been doing business; I am pursuing a number of business ventures in the construction industry, retail industry, media industry and I am also building a hotel in Okahandja.
In terms of the media, I am investing heavily in the industry. We have already started with a radio station – but apparently, due to the moratorium, our licence is confined only to the Okahandja area – but next year, we are rolling out our television programmes.
The radio station has been up and running the entire year now. We started putting things in place for television, which is also confined to Okahandja.
The industry is heavily protected; it is a frustrating investment. On the other hand, the country is crying for job creation and investment. On other hand, we are stifling down investment. I don’t really understand why we have moratorium in the media industry.
Currently, we have three interns working at the radio station. Was it not for the moratorium, we would have employed more. This is an untapped area.
I know a lot of people will say the radio will have an agenda, or it is tribal because of my involvement, but who cares? The radio is universal; that is why it is called Universal Radio – we will roll out programmes in all languages.
I don’t need a radio or a newspaper to set up an agenda; when you see Kazenambo, you see an agenda. I am the agenda; I don’t need a radio station or a newspaper to set an agenda.
The radio station is purely commercial.
KT: How would you describe the current political climate in the country?
KK: The current political environment in Namibia is stable and it is business as usual.
It shows that democracy has matured as far as the political environment is concerned.
At the moment, the just ended elections have proven beyond reasonable doubt that claims that Swapo was rigging elections or somebody was rigging elections were false.
Because, if Swapo was rigging elections, why have Swapo failed to rig elections, especially in areas we lost heavily, such as Hardap, //Kharas and Kunene regions.
As far as I am concerned, that is a good sign; we need to consolidate that. We need a stable and peaceful political environment.
KT: What is your take on the just ended regional council and local authority elections?
KT: What we have learned from the just ended elections is that we are grouping ourselves into tribes. ‘One Namibia, one Nation’ – if it ever existed; it has been proven that it is fictitious and not factual. The Namibian house that we are talking about has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that it is a house of cuts.
The regions voted tribally; parties that are custodian of Namibian politics. There is none of them – as far as the regional elections is concerned – that can prove national identity.
Which one can claim national identity?
At nation level, we can claim to be nationalist or ‘One Namibia, one Nation’ but the components, the pillars that make this nation ‘One Namibia, one Nation’ in my interpretation says that are shaken or some of them have been totally removed because, as it stands, regions are gone, gone tribally; people voted tribally – from the south to the west, west to the east and east to the north.
In the past, there were parties that could claim social coherence; my party Swapo used to be represented in many parts of Namibia if it is not all.
But today, we are confined to pockets of regions.
If you look at demographic set up of those pockets, they are tribal in scope and people elected are tribal; I don’t see any party that has not been elected on tribal lines.
People may say that maybe the IPC reflects national identity; it doesn’t because it is also confined to regions – and those regions are occupied by tribal people.
You will find that Swakopmund is dominated by Germans or Afrikaners, and you will find that the councillor is either German or Afrikaner. Everywhere is tribal –even in Windhoek or Katutura. Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) prevailed in Katutura Central, who lives there? Hereros, Mbanderu and a pocket of Owambo and Damaras.
For me, it is a great worry. While I said the political environment is stable and is business as usual, the pointers of this election are not supporting social cohesion.
The pattern of voting shows protest voting; people are voting tribally, and this is not only about Hereros or a Nama against Owambo or Kavango; people are voting also inter-tribalism.
A Mbanderu cannot go and stand as an independent candidate in Okakarara and win elections, neither can a Nama go and stand as an independent candidate in Okahao and win elections or either way. This is true; it has been proven in these elections.
You can see in a way that some people along tribal lines have been challenging the current President, Hage Geingob. You can’t deny that there is no tribalism.
This has been coming; this is because of the way we have been handling politics in this country.
There is this notion, a lie, that one group fought for this country or one group is a majority, and one is a minority.
It is a lie, there is no majority or minority in this country.
We should call a spade a spade and look into our dynamics; we must be sensitive to our diversity. We must have mutual respect – everything that we do must take into consideration that we are a diverse nation.
We cannot have one group occupying 90% of all positions in government and then pretend as if everything is fine.
We cannot not have one tribe working in the banking sector and pretend everything is fine.
We need to diversify.
We need to have, for example, Ovawambo occupying position in the south, Namas occupying positions in the north – not only one tribe occupying positions everywhere and then use majority to justify that.
There is no majority or minority in this country. It is a lie!
We must try to be a reflection of our diversity – be it at a political level or at a technocratic level. We should practice meritocracy and come up with deliberate policies that make sure we have all our civil servants, executive directors, ambassadors, generals in the army, media houses or wherever there is employment must reflect the democratic set up of our great nation.
Not to say that there is a majority group, and it must take 90% or 70%.
All these signs are not good – because for me, people voted on tribal lines. What went wrong?
We have been preaching nationalism, but we are not practicing nationalism.
We were preaching nationalism that ‘One Namibia, one Nation’ – but practically, we were practicing ethnicity.
If you go in a building in this country, you don’t need to be told unless you are blind yourself.
If you go to financial institutions, you will find predominantly coloureds and whites – and go to government offices, mainly, you will find Aawambo there. But they are not 90%.
If you go to Owamboland and find 90% of Aawambo in offices there, it is fine; if you go to Okakarara and find 90% Ovaherero in offices there, it is fine – but again, it is not fine if you find one tribe in all government offices; make sure you blend the area. Government offices should reflect diversity.
From the top – from Presidency to prime minister to defence chief, let’s reflect tribal diversity and then we can call this nation ‘One Namibia, one Nation’.
*Part two of this interview will be published next week.