The disunity and antagonism in a country and society is something we have to avoid, by all means, remaining united as people in one country. I therefore always request our people to remain united as one people, irrespective of their backgrounds or status. I strongly encourage unity so that we can serve our country and its people successfully.
It is true that Namibia, like most African countries, has indeed a heterogeneous and diverse human heritage. This heterogeneous human and cultural existence in the country overshadows the politically motivated and well-intended efforts and desires of unity amongst people in the country.
At times, the diverse and conflicting cultural co-existence in a country tends to create a negative reaction from those who for some or other reason feel that their cultural diversity or ethnicity is not being recognised and promoted on an equal basis and they are subjected to domination by others. Hence, if we are not united there might be those who choose to only complain about disturbances even when opportunity knocks on their door. Therefore, ethnic pluralism in a country where groups of people from different languages, cultures and principles co-exist should be handled carefully. One thing is certain, ethnicity and tribal differences are very sensitive and can become quite difficult if not handled properly. This can cause havoc and instability in the country. The ideal solution would have been to not have any ethnic or tribal division and polarisation which can lead to constricting interests in the country. However, the existence of these groups is not of our making, unfortunately, they exist whether we want it or not.
The only solution will be to recognise that reality and be aware that their existence is indeed filled with undesirable problems and we simply have to behave maturely and thoughtfully to avoid a situation we might not be able to control. We need to accept the fact that there will not always be a dangerous situation to have ethnical tribes but it is not acceptable and it will be dangerous to practice tribalism and ethnic superiority. Therefore there should be no tribe or ethnic group which will be above the other, yielding its power above and over all others.
This surely does not mean that we have to have a federal state in which we will have sub-tribal states. As much as we cannot eliminate ethnical groups and tribes we have to create and maintain a political atmosphere under which all people can be treated equally and live as united citizens. In fact, Namibia has succeeded in doing so through its political policies. The historical reality has shown that the moment some ethnic groups or tribes in some countries are given preferential treatment and advantage over others the country will be conflict-ridden and will be fraught with dangerous problems. This has indeed happened in some countries in African which ended in genocidal wars.
The country belongs to all its citizens, therefore, a better life, survival and comfortable living condition should not only be for those who simply align with ethnic and tribal groups, but people should also not only find strength and comfort by identifying themselves and their alliance with their own ethnic and tribal groups. The common purpose of all people should bring about an end to tribal and ethnic comfortability and in that sense tribal and ethnic affiliations become irrelevant.
Ethnic and tribal identities should not be the basis on which a person will claim his or her recognition or availing opportunities to economic assets and better living. We as true Africans should not always first look at which tribe or ethnic group we come from. We should always be united by common Africanism which cannot allow us to be divided into the lines of narrow tribal and ethnic origin. African unity is of far better practical necessity which will always enable us to be respected by the entire community of the world. Therefore, objective unity between all people of the country, irrespective of their origins is imperative.
As far as reconciliation is concerned, it must lead to a genuine end to existing mistreatments, disagreement and oppression among different and various groups and concentrate on a new chapter in the life based on good and friendly relations.
Reconciliation should not be based on empty words. It should mark the sincerity, maturity and the end of a grouch and bring peace of mind. Reconciliation means to forget the unforgivable and pardon the unpardonable and it will ward off hatred and pave the way to peace of heart. In that sense, reconciliation does not mean the absence of conflict but rather the presence of forgiveness and peace regardless of the conflict. If you reconcile, your mind must be strong and peacefully accept the worst. In that sense, reconciliation should not depend on fear and suppression. People who reconcile must have inner peace with themselves so that they can be at peace with others.
Those who have reconciled must genuinely co-exist, cooperate and move away from past behaviour that brought about implacable hatred between them. As long as the so-called reconciliation is not genuine there will be no peace or unity.
However (and this is very important), I want to make it very clear that reconciliation should never lead to glorification, worshipping and praising those who committed heinous and utterly odious crimes against our people.
The good example in Namibia was the so-called Turnhalle Conference which was a joke from the onset. The South African minority apartheid leaders thought of themselves to be too smart and wise and could exploit and use the genuine desire for the forgiveness of the oppressed black majority for them to keep control and power in our country. They were not sincere when dealing with the oppressed black majority. They came with the policy of ethnic autonomy but of course, the white colonial power and economic privileges of the white racist minority were to be continued and entrenched in our country. The three-tier so-called government system was indeed designed to perpetuate the superiority and rule of the alien white minority. The white colonial regime was taking us for granted. How could we have reconciled under that diabolic political system which was based on white colonial superiority? The colonial white minority thought we were not going to understand that the system they were suggesting was indeed a confirmation of apartheid in disguise.
The South Africans disguised themselves as liberators, but their main aim was to continue to rule our country through apartheid division of the people and they took for granted the fact that we would not understand that scheme.
Those Namibians who did not agree with these manoeuvres were perceived to be terrorists and they suffered because of that. Therefore, most of us stood firm and told them that as long as there was disguised racism and political insincerity there could be no reconciliation and peace and the resistance and liberation struggle of the oppressed but fighting people could have continued.
At last, we succeed in obtaining our political independence which has brought about peace and stability and enabled all of us to reconcile. This political independence has also enabled us to now engage ourselves in a new struggle of economic development and elimination of poverty of our people. We, however, have to make it clear that this new struggle is also not so easy and all of us must be united and be determined to fight together as people of one country. If we are united we can surely emerge victorious in this land of the brave and liberate our people from the misery of poverty.