The third president of our Republic, Dr H G Geingob, in setting the tone for the Government and country at large, befittingly themed the Year 2020 as The Year of Introspection. An utterance by a President should translate into policies in line with that utterance. When Thabo Mbeki presented his I am an African speech, it led to an African Renaissance that spanned beyond the borders of South Africa. In Namibia, it inspired the Founding President to start to fly the OAU flag, and PASS, under the leadership of the author to hoist the first African Flag at the University of Namibia, with others only following thereafter. The duly elected President has spoken. We now need to decipher the message and come up with policies that will give effect to that important and timely theme.
Cambridge dictionary defines introspection as the examination of and attention to own ideas, thoughts and feelings, whilst Oxford defines it as the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.
It is the opportunity and ability for analysis and critique. It is important when introspecting to guard against it spilling over into loathing, finding fault with ourselves and putting ourselves down, without offering any advice. Loathing is self-hate for a person appearing like you in all facets, except a step ahead of the subjective you.
The exercise of introspection requires guidance, lest it degenerate into a ping-pong scenario, which will result in more damages. Introspection in this regard will only be helpful if it happens on a personal level and then national. The latter cannot happen unless the former has taken place. Someone who is pure and free from any cultural inhibitions or prejudiced must conduct introspection. It ought to be detached from the identity concept of the other self as per our vernaculars and cultures.
At times and in an attempt to … suppress [our] feelings of inadequacy [we] behav[e] as though we are superior to others; more intelligent, clever, intuitive, or attractive [and] as though we have to prove that we are the absolute best in order to avoid the torrent of internal abuse waiting to pounce the moment we show any fallibility. (Jo Barrington, Critical Inner Voice)
Any introspection should thus depart on that important word within the preamble of our constitution, We and not Them or Us.
The introspection that will serve us well will be one that will start from the root cause of what we are experiencing. The thesis that Dr Geingob destroyed something perfect we had is fallacious in form and substance. At independence, we came and took over systems and processes abandoned and made it our own without an examination. This country never studied and examined the conditions that made it one of the most unequal societies in the world, not only in economics but also social. We knew Kavango remained behind despite them being second in terms of voting power; the San only come into existence when spoken about, the Namas only good when they do window-shopping of the minerals in their backyard. Our introspection should examine how a country of various ethnic groupings can pride itself in producing only millionaires from two of those groups, with the rest at the periphery. Introspection means when you mention Peter Nanyemba, do not forget that in line with the One Namibia One Nation there were also great regional commanders under his command like Katjipuka, Jeomba, Kaveterua and great soldiers like ‘Kakes’ and ‘Mistake’. Our introspection should be defined and specific, lest we create problems for the next generation.
Labelling each other and being at each other’s throats will in no way illuminate this path nor serve the only country we have in the end. It will only result in the risks of consciously surrendering our country and institutions to people whose agenda stands in direct contrast with our national agenda and interest, because of self-hate. We ought to be the keepers of those vulnerable and weak fellow citizens who continuously become victims to counter-revolutionary forces that not only infiltrated our movement, but also our country and institutions. Introspection must be beneficial to the country rather than quench a self-created thirst. We dare not sell the idea that only that individual is able to solve what that very same individual created, notwithstanding the existence of unsuspecting consumers.
We all should acknowledge the mistakes we made as a nation, and with that realisation and or admission suggest solutions to the common problem detached from notions brought along from our culture, preconceived notions.
Any solution put forward should be in harmony with our national interests as couched within the Namibian Constitution. The reading of article 1 (2) in isolation from 1(3) and other provisions of the constitution might lead to legal absurdity. The constitution has enough provisions capable of improving the living conditions of our people provided proper legislations are enacted. A creation of an independent body to distribute resources might exacerbate the inherited structural imbalances the same way Affirmative Action has hitherto been blind to the makeup of the black race in this country, and white native females as beneficiaries. The problems we have can also not be solved by the mushrooming of independent candidates if behad is to the ‘record of accomplishment’ of Margaret Ndongo, as just one example, A shallow notion without an ideology or a structure alive to the geographical environment of politics is nothing but the destruction of a unitary state.
The interpretation of our problems and our solutions will fail the test if hatched from a clan, regional and ethnic perspective.
In all of these, we should remain alive to the fact that we need a little more optimism, a little more enthusiasm, a little more boasting, bragging about what we do in the country….[whilst being alive to the fact that] there are problems we can handle…and [ought to] do that. (Dirk Mudge, 2020, edited)
It is a given that the problems we have in this country have solutions and we have the intellectual capacity … to use the solutions that are available and to create our own solutions. (Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, 2020)
Introspection means informing the president not to consider you for appointment because of age and all other important factors. The opposition also needs introspection that the requirement for Swapo Party to have young people should also equally apply to them. The private sectors, law firms included, should also diversify and not merely bemoan the allocation of natural resources.
The President’s legacy is now more than ever important for the future cohesion of this country and not friendship.
Let’s get back to basics and fix the country, because we can.
Introduce spot fines for road users who contravene our laws, which they pay via debit machines. Botswana is doing this;
Make laws for all China towns to use swiping machines so we know how much to tax them;
Enforce laws to preserve strategic positions for Namibians only as a way of reducing the high unemployment rate;
Laws for all political parties to disclose their source of funding;
Laws mandating all companies to have a social fund which should be alive to the needs of the whole country;
All joint ventures to be alive to the ethnic composition of the country; and
All state-owned enterprises to disclose their investments, etc.
In giving effect to the call of introspection by the President, the author intends to go to the Omaruru River and do an introspection after the discharge of the remaining bullets to fight an anomaly that once again was Self-created and that Self now wants us to believe it is only solvable by that Self.
Obiter dicta: If you come for the king and you missed him, does it not mean that you now need to aim your gun somewhere else lest it become an incurable bruised ego? Just like ‘we have prevailed through various internal crises and ‘will prevail again” (Geingob), please know that Geingob too will prevail just as he prevailed before since the early sixties. Let us reach a stage to call it a day. (Lord Dyson)
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely his as a citizen of a country he loves, his desire to leave a country of equal opportunities to his children.