• June 16th, 2019
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The paradox of using the masses to gain political mileage



Margaret Mensah-Williams

One of the foundational pillars that define democracy as the fairest form of governing that humanity has come up with thus far is that of “freedom of speech” as a human right. 

As Namibians, we pride ourselves for having adopted one of the most progressive, democratic constitutions in the world. A constitution drafted with the long and bitter struggle for political emancipation as a backdrop where the reality of the day was racial segregation and downright slavery at the workplace. 

One of the characteristics that override a politically and economically oppressed society that has rid itself of the oppressor, if introspection and self-auditing through reflectiveness is not exercised, is that society will exude the very mannerisms of the oppressor it fought to overthrow.  

Institutionalised racism coupled with economic deprivation under apartheid colonial rule, split us along racial and class lines. As much as socialism informs us to create classless societies which would seem ideal, the reality is that we have classist societies. It is this very classist manifestation that the current administration under President Hage Geingob has decided to address head on by having budgets that are aimed at alleviating poverty in the quest to totally eradicating poverty from among the Namibian population.

People often tend to think of democracy as a unifying force. However, in some situations, including inequality that accentuates racial, ethnic, or sectarian divides, democracy has the potential of actually igniting group conflict.
I believe that all people yearn for certain things such as the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed, confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and does not steal from the people and the freedom to live as you choose. These are not simply unrealistic desires, but they are human rights and that is why as law makers under the able leadership of our President, President Hage Geingob, we will support them everywhere. 

It is concerning and interesting to note how when people groups feel threatened they retreat into what one can call tribes, where the word tribes refers to economic, social or political tribes. They close ranks and become more insulated, more defensive and more us versus them. In our nation and many nations across the world, more and more people feel this way. 

I share the above because, contrary to what is being purported by those who want the nation to see them as their saviors, as elected leaders and lawmakers, we are aware of the plight of our people and remain seized of the matters at hand.
Our political landscape is and must continuously be changing or else our democracy would be failing if this was not the case. As we endeavor to develop our country and advance our nation, we do it be addressing issues that require our attention through institutions that have been out in place through laws enacted in parliament. In other words, we are dealing with the what and not the who. 

Once we start to personalise national issues, whether they be negative or positive, we run the risk of fueling tensions which can lead to strife and conflict that can result into violence. That is why we are a democratic state governed by the rule of law and led by sober-minded leaders who consult, not only between themselves, but importantly their main client, the electorate, either at face-to-face meetings or through the media.

The continued ill-mannered attacs on personalities for desired political attention and mileage speaks of the lack of maturity and an eccentric sense of self-importance and truly does not deserve to be entertained.
Let us deal with the issues that need immediate and undivided attention instead of verbally attacking democratically-elected and committed leaders.

There is no patriotic Namibian who does not have the future of the country and its people at heart. None of us is ignorant of the urgency when it pertains to the issues of land, education, health and accountability. 
The need to separate political ambition from service delivery to the masses of our people can never be over-emphasised. We cannot and should not mix the two at the expense of our nation that has an expectation as the welfare of our country should override personal political ambition.

Land being taken by force in our constituencies across the country is definitely not the way to address the land question as it will exacerbate any situation that could have been resolved amicably.

President Hage Geingob as the elected leader of our nation and the ruling Party Swapo has always and continues to invite all citizens to express their views and come forward with proposals to improve both governance and service delivery. 
As I conclude, it is my hope and prayer and I believe that it is the hope and prayer of all committed leaders in our country that we resolve our differences in a mature and amicable way where neither the truth nor the people we represent become pawns or casualties of any political and/or civil discourse. 


New Era Reporter
2019-02-01 09:57:03 4 months ago

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