Young entrepreneur Michael Amushelelo has been waxing lyrical about a new political party he said he has created to contest elections this year. He discussed this and related issues with Managing Editor Toivo Ndjebela.
New Era (NE): Who is Michael Amushelelo - a businessman, socialite, activist or politician?
Michael Amushelelo (AM): Michael Amushelelo is the above-mentioned. We live in a society that is constantly trying to put people into boxes, whoever said one can’t be anything they wished and desired to be. So Michael is definitely all of the above.
NE: Do you rank yourself in any particular order in terms of those classifications? In other words, do you, for example, see yourself more as a businessman, politician and so forth?
AM: I have never really been a fan of titles, so I honestly don’t see myself as any of that. However, I do love to call myself a dream-chaser, I love chasing after my dreams.
NE: You mostly got known through your work in the business space - having been an SME ambassador for NBL and having won innovation business awards. Tell us about the kind of business you are into and your general success so far.
MA: I gained recognition thanks to my entrepreneurial acumen. I am the founder of Amushe International Holding Group Pty Ltd, as well as a director of Global Growth Investment Namibia Pty Ltd and a shareholder in Forex International Training Academy.
So, we can both agree that I got known through my business work. Amushe International Holding Group Pty Ltd is a company with various subsidiary companies.
Global Growth Investment Namibia Pty Ltd is currently only operating as a financial advisory company, with plans for us to branch out into bonds, commodities, currencies, insurance, banking, development capital, private equity and pension fund.
Forex International Training Academy solely focuses on giving people training in the field of foreign exchange as well offering financial education.
NE: How many employees do you currently have across all your brands?
MA: We currently have 45 people employed across the three companies. This week my team is currently busy with interviews so we should grow to 53 by the coming week.
NE: We hear you are the brains behind the mooted political party, Power. Tell us about the party and its intentions.
MA: Oh yes, I am the brains behind the political party POWER - People Organised Working for Economic Reality. Our party has quite a number of intentions, one is to remove the current [ruling] party that has clearly lost its vision, as the current government leadership’s only interest seems to be looting the country. Most of them won’t be around for long to be held accountable for their actions.
The second target is to restore the dignity and hope of the poor and the youth by providing them access to land, jobs, capital as well as quality free tertiary education and vocational training.
Our country’s debt is growing at an unprecedented rate and any defaults will result in dire consequences for our country.
It seems to me that our current leadership is far more in favour of Chinese loans, but these loans are being granted on conditions that are totally unacceptable.
How is it possible that you are borrowing money, but you are being given conditions on how it should be utilised?
Most of the Chinese loans we are being granted are only earmarked for capital projects, which the tenders get awarded to Chinese companies, so in actual fact the money we are receiving as a loan goes back via this Chinese companies.
So all we are left with is a huge debt and some buildings and roads that are already collapsing due to poor workmanship provided.
My party intends to reduce the number of parliamentarians because a small population like Namibia doesn’t need that huge amount of self-entitled politicians. We plan to do away with the Office of the Vice-President, as well the as the many useless deputy minister portfolios that we have.
We will invest heavily in the agriculture sector, as we can no longer afford to rely on other countries to [feed us]. 28 years [after independence] we are still a net importer of electricity and this is the biggest reason why electricity prices will remain high for consumers.
Government will reclaim municipal land, as municipalities are failing our people in terms of servicing the land. Municipalities currently opt [to avail land to] property developers as they make more money from [such deals].
Land will virtually be sold at cost price and no funny added markups. Our education system is a total mess and needs to be overhauled. It can’t be correct that we have a system that takes a one-size shoe fit approach.
We have children who are talented in various fields, but because our system is just one that focuses on learners who are able to memorize textbooks, we fail those who are unable to. So we should have an education system that caters absolutely for everyone, the slower learner, the best learner, the practical learner and the theoretical learner, so it should be different to suit the needs of everyone.
Basic wages will be reviewed. There is absolutely no way a security guard who mans a million-dollar worth of assets will continue to be paid a mere basic of N$1,500 per month, while the security company sends out an invoice of N$95,000 per month.
This will be across all sectors of the economy, especially in our retail sector. It is high time we lived up to words of wealth redistribution.
The POWER government intends to hire competent professionals based on merits and qualifications to manage our failing SOEs. Efficiency and greater service delivery from such organisations will mean a huge boost for our economy in terms of job creation as well as a reduction in government bailouts.
This money being used to bailout SOEs can be used to bail out the Namibian child who still continues to be taught under a tree, who still continues to sleep in a hostel with no bed and goes to bed hungry every single night. This is but just a few things we intend to change.
NE: When do you intend to register the party with electoral authorities in order to embark on pursuing those goals?
MA: We already started with the registration process last year, we are currently busy mobilising people in the various regions so that we can meet the requirements as set out by the Electoral Commission of Namibia, so by March 2019 all submissions will be made in time for us to contest the 2019 presidential elections.
NE: Will you personally contest for the Namibian presidency?
MA: I would love to but our constitution was written by individuals who did not believe that a person who is under 35 years can manage a country.
However, Mark Zuckerberg, who is currently only 34, has been managing a company with a total net value of over US$629 billion. So young people are very well at managing affairs, including those of a country.
Fidel Castro was only 34 when he led the Cuban revolution. Thomas Sankara was also just 34.
Should age really be the determining factor if someone is capable of properly managing the affairs of a country? I don’t think so. If that’s the case we should also have an age limit [of serving in government]. So seeing that right now it’s not possible, the party will find a candidate that is suitable and qualified to run for president.
NE: Have you been a member of any other political party before and if yes, why did you quit?
MA: Yes I did belong to Swapo. I loved the ideology of the party but the elders of the party have ruined the ideology.
In Swapo if you are not a yes man or woman you get shown the door. If you think I am lying, the likes of Professor [Joseph] Diescho, Dr [Elijah] Ngurare, [Job] Amupanda and others will tell you very well that Swapo doesn’t tolerate new ideas especially those coming from the youth.
It’s even much more evident with their new amendments to the rules of the party.
I refused to follow a party blindly solely because it keeps reminding us that it brought about independence. Truth be told, our independence was a negotiated one and we got a bad deal, if you ask me.
We just got political freedom and now it’s the time for economic freedom hence the party’s name People Organized Working for Economic Reality. I got tired of hearing slogans and people claiming they died for this country yet they are alive.
The real heroes and heroines who truly died and fought for this country would be very disappointed today, because they never thought of a few to come and enrich themselves and their families only.
NE: Your social life, on social media in particular, has often attracted attention - positive and negative – from many members of the public. Proponents of your behaviour say they draw inspiration from your “bragging”, while critics charge that you’re an attention seeker. How does your party intend to convert your critics into its supporters?
MA: The day society will learn to stop judging people and allow people to live their lives as they wish and is the day we will all have reached a level of maturity that’s beyond our wildest imaginations.
It’s called social media for a reason. I am just being a bubbly social personality, so to my critics my lifestyle might have offended you, but my only wish is that you are more offended by the fact that while you and I continue bashing each other, our country is being sold out to the highest bidders.
Personalities aside, pride aside, it’s a simple matter of doing what’s patriotic to your beloved country. You don’t have to like me, but it’s my wish that we can mutually agree on the fact that our country is being mismanaged.
We are less than 3 million people, yet our unemployment levels are very high, income inequality is high, we have a huge beautiful country yet people continue to live in shacks because we can’t deliver land to them.
In the last 28 years fishing rights have only benefited a few Namibians, the tender system has only created a selected few millionaires who most have now gone broke because we gave them millions but never the education on how to sustainably manage those millions.
NE: You posted a video not too long ago in which you asked people in a mall to join Illuminati. What was that about and how serious do you think the public would take any political leader involved in such antics?
MA: I posted that video with the following caption: “This is how people pass up opportunities every single day. Every day, Jack begs God to deliver him from his poverty by allowing him to win the lottery. After receiving no response from his repeated prayers, Jack cries out to God: “Why won’t you answer my prayers?” Amidst thunder and smoke, a frustrated God responds, “Jack! Meet me halfway! Buy a lottery ticket!”
So, that video was an illustration at how people pray for certain things, but when God answers the prayer most people are not prepared for the blessings.
Religion is a very sensitive topic for most people, especially in our country, but what I found funny was the fact that the most condemnation and judgement came from the large Christian community.
People will always have double standards, I guess it’s human nature. They will be the first to throw stones at you as if they live without sin. So the video was blown out of context and proportion.
The simple logic of the video was to get people to seriously thinking and for us to start questioning certain things.
Today the most lucrative business you can enter is the church, that’s why Namibia has seen a large boom of churches lately. The reason why people are flocking to churches is because they are depressed, hopeless, jobless and the church promises our people quick miracles. As a result most people have become victims to this churches.
I personally know of a lady who sold her house because her prophet told her the house has been possessed by demons. She eventually sold the house, but it was the prophet who profited from the sale of this house.
This lady today lives in a shack, while the prophet is living in luxury. Imposters in the name of churches are taking our people for a ride.