• May 29th, 2020

This year in conclusion: A layman’s assessment

The year 2018 concludes on the backdrop of some tensions that bedeviled relations in our society across the social and political spectrum, ranging from sports through politics to the struggles of traditional societies.
On the sports front the leadership squabbles remained predictable as leaders continued their regular drive to elbow one another out of positions. 

At some point there was a public announcement that the incumbent president of the Namibia Football Association was out of his seat and an acting president ushered in his place.

This was disputed by the office of the ousted president and the nation remains in limbo as to what is next. As if this does not present enough consternation in sports circles, the mandate of the current NFA leadership has expired and management of soccer should revert in the hands of the NFA secretary-general in the interim. Ironically, the secretary-general’s term too has effectively ended.

There seems to be a lasting conundrum that has bedeviled the story of soccer in Namibia and this has defied all wisdom in the country. 

One critical development during the year 2018 was the preparations and holding of the controvertible second national land conference. Already, during the preparation stages it became apparent that all was not well. These were marked by events such as the storm at Oshakati when a renowned businessman was forced out of the meeting by disputes over the process. 

Then gossip was rampant that the government had a clandestine document prepared as position paper on the land and, in the course of time, this document became public information. All these played against the backdrop of many traditional communities and political interests taking issue with the conference’s organisation and the extent to which those who had lost land during colonisation were disregarded and left out. 

To complicate matters, some political trends, specifically the Swapo Party Elders Council, took a public position that the question of ancestral land must not be an agenda item at the land conference because it would make the people unhappy. 

This statement left the nation dumbfounded and, read together with the government’s alleged secretive document, exacerbated suspicions that led to mass withdrawals of the affected traditional communities, some political parties and civil society organisations from the land conference.

The land conference continued, amidst mass demonstrations and protests, and concluded with resolutions. But the nation remained divided by this conference and the manner in which it was handled, more so some of the statements delivered during the conference, particularly by the two former heads of state for Namibia, who held in their submissions to conference, that ancestral land must not be discussed during the second land conference and that all land must belong to the state. 

Latter statements provoked disappointment from sections of the nation, particularly those who are descendants of communities that had lost land and those whose ancestors had been robbed on traditional settlements by the Germans and subsequent aggressors during the colonial stampede and the wars of extermination. 

Added to this unfortunate situation is the contradiction presented by the absence of reliable information from the ministry of lands, detailing the process and record of resettlement for the 28 years of independence. 

Along this came statements made by the minister charged with land reform, who had said something to the effect that resettling poor people would be tantamount to wasting land because they would not contribute substantially to economic prosperity. 

The minister in question said this after he had made a statement in parliament that he was perturbed by people talking about ancestral land because their statements were bordering on invoking calls for Bantustans. As if this was not enough to cause consternation, the permanent secretary of the same ministry had made a public statement that he would not release records for resettlement because these would ignite fires for a civil war. 

But the straw that broke the camel’s back entered the conference when it became public knowledge that government had leased four farms in one of the strong economic agricultural areas to a Russian mogul, on the eve of the conference. 
This leads us to the politics of organisations as Namibia’s political parties position themselves to revamp their operations and potential to stake a better claim of national leadership in the ensuing national and presidential elections due in 2019. 
A running dispute has occupied the National Unity Democratic Party (Nudo). It started when the incumbent president and leader of the party in parliament gave notice that he planned to stand down. 

The party looked to two of its most qualified candidates to square up for its leadership at its then ensuing national congress. Things did not go according to plan and a dispute flared up that forced the matter to head to court. 
As matters stand, the case is scheduled for hearing early next year and this must leave the party’s rank and file concerned, because the limbo may not auger well for Nudo as a whole.

The ruling Swapo Party has its own challenges as it normally happens in the year preceding an election year. 
Through the directive from the party’s secretary general, there have been some mini ripples in the reconfigurations of some of the branches and town councils, notably in Okahandja, where the directive from party headquarters must have been to remove the incumbent mayor of the town and to restructure the town’s management committee.  

The elective session of the town’s leadership was suspended as chaos entered the floor of the proceedings when some members of the community descended onto the floor of the town’s legislative body, officiated by the town’s magistrate and derailed the proceedings. 

As one listens from around the country where the political arena is abuzz with preparatory activities, one gets the impression that what has transpired so far in the political complexion of things is only a tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell.

New Era Reporter
2018-12-12 10:00:50 | 1 years ago

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