In the preface of the book ‘Let us die fighting’, former president Sam Nujoma observes that the social order, which the Namibian people were fighting to overthrow, was a product of a century of brutal colonial exploitation. He thus encourages the Namibian society to study the past social order in terms of its economic, social, political and spiritual factors which helped to form it.
No doubt, everyone agrees that the struggle for independence was meant not only to demolish the colonial exploitative social order, but also to establish a new economic, social, political and spiritual order re-aligned to the needs of all Namibians. The Constitution states that Namibia is founded on the principles of democracy, rule of law and justice for all, and further promises that the State shall actively promote and maintain the welfare of the people. Namibians respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. However, most citizens continue to ask the question ‘Is this the Namibia our forefathers fought for?’
This is a reasonable question for all Namibians to ask. However, I suggest that political leaders should ask themselves a different question: ‘Is this how best we can govern Namibia for all our citizens?’ Why must politicians daily ask themselves this question? Because it is a moral question on which their lives depend. Politics and politicians exist to make decisions aimed at improving the public’s welfare.
While the head of state and cabinet have executive authority, Parliament and the National Council members should exercise their legislative authority for the well-being of the people. Unfortunately, most Namibians do not believe that political leaders have for the past three decades actively promoted a welfare state for all. Thus, in a recent social media chat, Namibians from different social and educational backgrounds observed that based on the current socio-economic situation, they would rather live in a Namibia that displays the following 10 features:
A country that treats its people, I mean every citizen, equally regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or disability. The current national debate on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people is testimony to how the respected Namibian Constitution is being vandalised. Many argue that the idea of LGBT+ is western, but what about the so-called African movies which politicians banned many years ago from showing on NBC?
A Namibia, which has eradicated poverty, disease, hunger and violence, and dedicated time and resources to getting literacy levels as close to 100% as possible. For the past three decades, the concept of poverty reduction has been on every government plan. Today, every policy plan refers to poverty eradication. No Namibian believes that the conceptual change will make any difference. And no politician has honestly suggested that they will eliminate poverty in their lifetime. Various poverty reduction experiments have been tested for the past three decades — all in vain!
A Namibia that treats domestic workers, security guards, farmworkers, labourers, teachers and nurses with respect — a country that pays its hardworking employees decent salaries equivalent to the hours they work. The salary differentials between bands in Namibia are so massive that no future government will dare narrow the gaps. What happened to the classless society? Comrades, what is your defence to the allegation that you betrayed one of the outcomes of the liberation struggle?
A Namibia where church leaders are openly honest to politicians on issues of spirituality and morality. Much of the existing literature on Namibia shows that some churches played a vital role in disrupting the colonial system, pro-imperialist machinery and other European fortune-seekers. It is frightening that today, many church leaders have become so religious that they cannot even read the 10 commandments during their sermons on Saturdays or Sundays. One would have thought that with so many social evils in Namibia, the church will remain the voice of hope for the country. Why have you forsaken your people and the nation?
A Namibia free of deaths caused by car accidents. Statistics suggest that on the African continent, Namibia is among the list of 10 countries with the highest deaths caused by road accidents. Most road accidents are caused by the arrogance and ignorance involving individuals who care less about other road users.
A country in which politicians are not overly defensive when they make mistakes, but acknowledge their mistakes and apologise for their mistakes. Many Namibians ask why political leaders accused of serious misdemeanours find it difficult to voluntarily resign from their prestigious positions on moral grounds.
A Namibia in which politicians and educational bureaucrats are accountable to the citizens for the bad decisions they take on education and training. This means a Namibia in which politicians develop a mindset to improve the standard of living of all citizens beyond their personal interests. Lastly, many citizens aspire to live in a Namibia in which Parliament holds the executive to account on issues of poor governance by those occupying political leadership positions across all departments.
What type of Namibia do you want to live in?