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Opinion - One Namibia, One Nation under attack by tribalism

2021-08-24  Staff Reporter

Opinion - One Namibia, One Nation under attack by tribalism

Gideon Nantinda 

It is worrisome that many politicians continue to quietly watch Namibia sink into the abyss of tribal, regional and political sub-national identities. When a nation’s leadership is lacking in national vision, it easily paves the way for the culture of greed, power hunger, corruption, nepotism and fear of implementing new ideas. 

Politicians and officials in a state lacking national unity lose sight of national vision, and start abusing political power by instead favouring the notion of my/our region/tribe first. Terrible human rights violations and genocidal acts of the past have been perpetrated as an outcome of regionalism and tribalism on the African continent. 

Hundreds of thousands of Hutus were put into early graves by the Tutsis in Burundi, and later their fortunes were reversed when the Tutsis were destroyed by the Hutus in Rwanda. Former President Samuel K. Doe’s Krahn tribe has massacred Manos and Gios in Liberia.

 Bagandas have been victimised by Langis and Acholis, and Zulus and Xhosas have been killing each other in South Africa. Faulkner’s best-known lines stated that, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” 

Careful monitoring of African historical events should be in the centre of the mind of all Namibian political leaders because the major of Namibia’s future challenges will stem from them.

Frequently, we hear of horrible tribalistic and regionalistic remarks made by some prominent politicians and obstructionists of the efforts of building one Namibia one nation. 

Cry my Namibia, as many politicians and some community leaders’ only concerns are dividing powers of authorities and corruptly awarding tender opportunities, their main concern being whether ‘the people of my region or my people’, with reference to a specific tribe, get preferences. 

The appointing authority continues failing to unite the nation since 1990 as they failed to remove apartheid tribal homelands, and did not understand how to remedy historical damages caused by the Berlin Conference of 1884-85 on our African communities as one nation. 

The societal units that are today called tribes were a united nation, feeding each other without any compromises. 

We have capacities to strengthen and fully develop Namibia into one nation as proven by our vernacular words we use to refer to ourselves as !Haos, nasie, omuhoko, sichaba, oshigwana, rudi, sechaba, diko, and the like  //Aes , but only if there is political will. 

How nice and beautiful to, for instance, appoint a Damara-speaking person as regional governor in the Oshana region, and an Oshiwambo-speaking in Zambezi to weaken the potentially deadly tribalism and regionalism, which is not based on political ideologies. 

Tribalism and regionalism in Namibia, specifically between the so-called Southerners and Northerners, has created new forms of rivalling societies that otherwise lacked an alternative unifying and collective national identity, resulting in an unconstitutional entitlement to natural resources, political appointments based on nepotism, tender opportunities and many contentious pressing issues arising between the two geographically-defined rivals. 

The end-products of the increasing regionalism and tribalism is politics of intimidation and manipulation, which in turn frustrate real and sustainable national development.

Whenever tribalism and regionalism in Namibia is debated, some tribal politicians aggressively jump to the conclusion that one is playing a tribal card without considering the contextual argument. 

Therefore, I am cautioning the nation and recommending that Namibia requires an effective intellectual leader to provide serious and fearless leadership, creating think-tanks and a guiding policy to address the tribal and regionalism-based practices.

2021-08-24  Staff Reporter

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