Let me start by making it very clear that our protracted liberation struggle has never been against racial groups, in this case particularly the whites.
The struggle was against inhuman exploitation, unjust and oppressive colonial occupation and apartheid rule. The fact, however, was that under the apartheid system, the exploited were supposed to be the blacks while the oppressor were whites. White racism was imposed by die-hard apartheid racist rulers who never tolerated any attempt by any white person to treat a black person as an equal human being. Under that notorious system, the poor and oppressed were supposed to be the black people while the means of production, the wealth and political power was to be reserved for whites whether they wanted it or not. In that sense, the racial division was non-negotiable under the white apartheid system. Therefore, this led to misunderstanding and confusion that our struggle was against whites as people, which certainly was not the case.
How could our struggle be considered as having been against white people while our best friends and comrades who supplied us with very effective military equipment and arms, were white, from Eastern Europe and anti-apartheid groups which always supported us were white from Western Europe? In fact, there were also white compatriots who never supported the apartheid system and too became victims of apartheid racist rule. With this introduction, we have to understand that our 30 years on independence has gone through a number of phases.
During the first phase, we had to start with putting structures in place. This political independence was indeed a great achievement for our country and all its people because we succeeded in destroying colonial political administration, racial discrimination, foreign military occupation, colonial mentality, racial and cultural hegemony, etc. which was imposed on the people of this country. We did very well in keeping our political power, diplomatic relationships, peace, stability and unity amongst our people. Our state has been turned from being a colonised country to a fully independent and sovereign democratic and peaceful state.
Once treated as semi-slaves and disrespected elements, our people had become masters of their country and society. A lot of progress has been made with regard to improving the living standards of our people and modernizing of many structures. Those who were not allowed to buy farms were now free to do so. All inhabitants of this land starting moving freely and settle wherever they wanted to across the country. However, as commendable free movement and freedom of settlement might be, it has resulted in unprecedented multiplication of shacks in towns and cities. Many of these shacks are small and often shared by many, and mostly with little to no outdoor space. To make things even worse, there are very little latrines, sewerage, and water and bathroom facilities in many of these places. Some of the land on which these shack dwellings are so rapidly multiplying, is not serviced by local authorities since the people settled there without permission from local authorities. The law indeed does not permit local authorities to settle people on land, which lack basic services such as sewerage, water, etc., but the people got excited and settled there on their own. These are surely some of the unintended results and effects of an otherwise well meaning and patriotic move by the independent government.
However, I must admit that when it relates to economics under which the ownership of property, means of production, industry and controlling of all of these, there are still legal handcuffs found in our constitution and Namibian laws which makes it difficult for those in positions of power to easily distribute resources and wealth of the country to all the people of this country. The actual problem lies in achieving a real revolutionary economic change in Namibia in which at the independence, the imperialist countries tried hard and succeeded in influencing the provisions and contents of the independence constitution through their constitutional principles which protected those who accumulated wealth of the country through protracted exploitations as semi-slaves over so many years. What comes to mind is the willing selling, willing buyer principle. While the country is politically independent, the economic wealth, including minerals and land, will for a long time remain in the ownership of those who were made to be beneficiaries of economic wealth on the principle of the apartheid system. Therefore, those who are going to be in political power during these circumstances, will for a long time have an uphill battle to eliminate the tragic situation under which the majority of people were forced to live by former colonial rulers. Under these legal handcuffs, the monopolisation and concentration of most of the wealth in the hands of the few previously advantaged people cannot easily be solved or changed no matter who is in power at this particular time.
The monopolisation and concentration of national resources, means of production and wealth in the hands of the capitalist class will always be protected by strong western capitalist countries. Should revolutionary forces dare to improve the economy of poor people and the working class, they will be subjected to hostile propaganda. The counter- revolutionary forces who pretend to have genuine motives and responsibilities to protect democracy in those countries will be funded by Western Countries. These Western Countries will then impose damaging economic sanctions against the revolutionary countries and may even at times use military power. Examples are Cuba, Vietnam and Zimbabwe, where Western Capitalist Countries went out of their way to try to retain and sustain capitalist systems and strengthen counter-revolutionary forces in those countries. The only “crime” these countries have committed was to introduce an economic system, which was intended to benefit the masses.
One thing I will tell the beloved men, women, youth, young generation, is that when you are attacked, belittled and hated by unpatriotic, reactionary and counter-revolutionary forces, you should know that you are on the right path. But when you are praised, admired and liked by such forces, you should sit down, think where you might have gone wrong, and correct yourself.
With the socio-political successes achieved during the first phase of the independence governance of 30 years, we need to seriously move forward into a developmental second phase. During this phase, we should determinedly step-up aggressive and progressive development based on industrialization and modernization of the economy. We should ensure that we have knowledge-based economy driven by science and technology which will propel the country forward.
We should not continue depending on developed countries. We have to work hard and intensify the economic struggle which will enable us to decide for ourselves which path of economic development we wish to take that will enable us to achieve our goals and propel our country to economic prosperity and development. There is no doubt that our country possesses immense and enormous potential in terms of God-given natural resources and we as a nation must be united and use this potential for the benefit and wellbeing of the entire country and its people. The enhancement and development of industrial production, agricultural development and harvesting has adequate potential to turn our country into a super developed country and can improve the international admiration and prestige of our country to the world.
I hope that at this critical developmental phase, most of our people, if not all, will be united and uniformly direct their efforts toward the progressive development of our motherland.
General economic prosperity, peace and stability is more important than self-centered gratification and glorification. Therefore, it is pleasing that Swapo Party by its Article 2 of its constitution, states that our proper ideology should be socialism with Namibian characteristics. While this employs the open market principle and techniques to develop the Namibian economy this ideology is underpinned by the principles of social justice, economic inclusion, shared prosperity and responsibility in which the State plays a significant role through the ownership of the means of production (by State owned entities).
Among other important principles, this ideology shall be used as a means to, inter alia, advance political, economic and social empowerment, to protect and sustain the environment and ecological systems for the empowerment and livelihood of the current and future generations.
The interest and plight of all people, including women, youth, the Namibian child and labourers are promoted and protected. Therefore, the economic principles of the State must always advance, create and protect the wellbeing of all Namibians. Having gone through the second phase of development, we now have to prepare ourselves to move to phase three. During this phase, we need to further improve that which we have achieved during the second phase. This phase should turn our country into a well industrialised and developed country in order to ensure that our country remains developed and its economy instantly maintain better living conditions and wellbeing of all citizens. The people of this country should enjoy, for the long term, a high level of material and spiritual life. The country should no longer depend on charity from other nations. This economic progress and political freedom will gear and propel us toward a phase in which we can easily introduce and enforce the above-mentioned progressive ideological principles of socialism with Namibian characteristics. However, the third phase can only succeed if we ensure that the working class will, at that time, master the economy and the economy is run by the government, on behalf of the masses.
In that sense during the third phase, political and socio-economic order will rely mostly on the working class which will work toward liberating the people from capitalist economic exploitation and move toward and economic order under which every person will have equal rights in the sharing the wealth of the country.
There will of course be multi-sector economic order during the fourth phase. The State will have to play a main and leading role on behalf of and for the interest of the entire nation. In that way, the living conditions of all people from different stratum will improve. Let me end by saying that while we are doing this, it is absolutely imperative that we impact on grooming the young revolutionary generation which will have strong transparent and selfless desires to be loyal servants of the masses in the future. The young and future generations must be ideologically clear so that they can maintain people centered, socio-political and socio-economic systems in the country.