When I think about the prospective benefits that lay ahead of the oil and gas exploration that has been recently discovered in the might Kavango delta, I contemplate and try to envision what the future looks like for both locals and the Namibian nation at large.
It is a breakthrough that can help in catapulting our struggling nation from its current knee-level mud, back on its feet and start thriving again because the benefits are just endless. This project can improve our economy, as there will be employment creation for Namibians. There will also be foreign revenue raining and filling up our treasury coffers. This will help in upgrading our infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals.
On the other hand, even though the latter is true, I am still uncertain whether the above can be attainable or I am just stuck in my lofty dreams, as it might drown us in deeper quicksand. The uncertainty comes from the experience, based on what I have read and seen on the kind of suffering endured by people, who are in areas where such similar natural reserves have been discovered around mother Africa and the world, starting from Angola, the Congo, Sudan – and the list is endless.
As a language teacher, this discovery reminds me of the misfortune of man, a character in one of Namibian high school novels, The Pearl.
Kino’s discovery of the largest pearl in the world became the worst nightmare of his life. Instead of being the solution to all his family struggles, it became the root cause of his misery, misfortune and his family demise. What a sad ending – all because of greed.
The Kavango delta discovery can equally have a similar ending if we, as a people, don’t learn from the mistakes we have seen and continue to see all around the world. Greed and corruption are always the root cause of many human conflicts around the world.
Let us not fall into the usual Western trap of ‘divide and conquer’, where a few greedy knuckleheads among us would want to benefit by wanting to take it all at the expense of the masses just because they are puppets who have puppeteers above them pulling the strings.
It is, therefore, necessary to see to it that every Namibian tends to benefit from this national wealth without anyone feeling left out from the pies of the cake. We don’t want to hear another “oil leak” or “gasrot” on this.
Remember the president’s words: “Inclusivity breeds harmony, while a sense of exclusion breeds conflict”.
It is also crucial to see to it that the natives of the land where this discovery has been found are prime beneficiaries and custodians of whatever benefits involved as it has been done in all the government industries across the country.
Let us all jealously guard this national wealth with eagle eyes because our children’s future is promising – but only if we do it right.