• September 20th, 2018
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Strides with Uncle Bob

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Good Morning! My name is Vezera Bob Kandetu, traditionally a Social Worker from Katutura and Community Activist for life. I have in the past been involved in community struggles since before Namibia’s independence. I went into the civil service for the three years that inaugurated our State, from where I went to serve at the University Of Namibia (UNAM) for the better part of the ensuing ten years, after which I went into the private sector as founder and co-owner of the company NAMOX, latter dealing in commercial and medical gasses, before I went to run the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) for two years and five months. I then worked for the company Trustco Group Holdings Limited for a further four years before I retired from active employment. In August this year I published a manuscript titled ‘Timeless Bonds: an Appraisal of Namibia’s Development Through Time’, dealing with topical issues on Namibia’s challenges as well as contemporary international matters affecting humanity. This then summarizes the profile of your new Columnist. I shall henceforth write a column for the New Era Newspaper that will appear every Wednesday – from next week onwards. It will deal with topical issues pertaining to Namibia’s development and our country’s relations with nations of the world. This is a column in which all things will be considered and I look forward to a partnership with the public, during which partnership we shall interrogate issues of contextual interest and hopefully contemplate solutions to the challenges that shall continue to confound this experience called Namibia, but also share in the celebration of the STRIDES we have made and will continue to make in the tedious road to national development. I hold the view that if development is to make sense, the people for whom it is intended must spearhead its design and implementation, they must directly involve in the act of development with the state facilitating resources towards national development. Attempts to design and implement development programs at their exclusion will border on thought regimentation and will render them passive recipients of state handouts. We have seen this happening elsewhere around the world and, the parallels are at times frightening. We have made strides in the process of national development, albeit with attendant problems, some of which refuse to yield. We have created a nation state with a functioning democracy and rule of law. We have created governance structures that are intact and have provided virtual conditions for self-regulation. Our democracy provides for universal suffrage that has held steadily for close to thirty years, albeit with some bottlenecks that at times border on discomfort. But the upside of it all is that we have always held municipal, regional, national and presidential elections that never for once left a physical bleeding nose or never accounted for a broken window paine. Namibia boasts three presidents, two former and one incumbent, all who live in the same city and attend to the business of state from respective offices situated in the same street. Unlike with many political trends around the world, none of our presidents had to live in exile, safe for holidays or official assignments, and none of them has seen the inside of a prison. This experience reflects a stable foundation and to this effect Namibians have a story to tell. But our celebrations must be tenderly managed because it is not yet UHURU all over the place. For our citizens still enjoy differential treatment from the state and its various organs. Windhoek the capital has a multiplicity of differential services to citizens in different townships and suburbs. Go to Ludwigdorf, Klein Windhoek and Kleine kuppe, and then visit Khomasdal, Central Katutura, Sewende and Agste Laan, Sonder Water and Okahandja Park. You will witness depressing disparities and even more, you will discover what exacerbates the education conundrum, because some of our inner city schools are in a state of decay while private schools resemble hotels and lodges in their appearance, while they are equally eluded by a workable model to enhance education and training. It seems that Namibia is trapped in this squeeze of change with continuity with regard to education reform and renewal and one wonders whether a solution will ever be in sight. This reminds me of what Professor Goran Hyden says: “Turning the despair and pessimism that affects large sectors of the African people into hope and optimism, will require from the planners of African development, to re-inspect the premises upon which they have based their planning to date. No one escapes this challenge, there are no short cuts to progress” We indeed must re-inspect the premises of our planning for national development and, as it is, our economic crunch is telling. Namibia has made strides towards political stability, the rule of law and adherence to democratic ideals, as well as to civil liberties in general. But each day has become a wakeup call for the nation state, that democracy alone is not the answer to education and food security. Even more, the past continues to haunt the present. The unresolved plight of Germany’s victim communities has declined offers that it must recede in the backdrop of by-lateral development projects between the German and Namibian governments. As matters stand, the campaign that Germany must own up to its past acts of Genocide has gathered international momentum, perhaps more than at any other time in the German Namibian relations. Yes, Namibia has made strides towards development but obtaining challenges threaten to diffuse progress. These challenges and their solutions we shall continue to interrogate in our column and I look forward to a formidable partnership driven by the quest for national development.
2017-11-10 10:04:05 10 months ago
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