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Other Articles from The Villager

The President is not the enemy

Fri, 4 August 2017 15:52
by Chris-Paul
Columns

Allow me to start this week’s piece with this very powerful statement reiterated by President Hage Geingob a couple of days ago, “As long as I’m president, the freedom of the press is guaranteed.”

Some people do not seem to understand how big and important a statement this is, whether on purpose or simply by complete lack of understanding. The media, a construct of conventional and social media that should act as a ‘watchdog’ rules in the country no matter which party controls government, appears to be over its fainting spell following President Hage’s style of running this country.

It is now throwing everything at him from a daily, no make that hourly, even minute by minute, the onslaught of exaggerated reports in hope to try to create panic and disharmony with the ultimate goal of people losing confidence in the President.

 The facts are there for everybody to see the positive trajectory of the state of the economy and its recovery process. When the media keeps and tries to feed the masses with lies while pushing their agendas, it isn’t helping our cause.  Our President is a courageous man, not a whiny individual who knows that complaining does not help us much.

He knows that name-calling by the president and his critics accomplishes nothing, other than to make the name-caller feel good. In my experience, name-calling changes few minds. What I do know for a fact in the time that Dr Hage has been president is that he has demonstrated that winning an argument is better than disparaging someone who holds a different view.

The way to defeat your opponent is to present a better idea. In the case of those critical of the government, the president does not talk specifically about their failures to present robust solutions and ideas to our problems; he rather concentrates on presenting a list of alternatives he believes will work. I admire that. How about this for a quote, perhaps borrowed out of context from President Hage:

 “The actual state of our economy is better than currently portrayed in the public domain. As a matter of fact, the underpinning fundamentals of the economy are stronger today, than they were a year ago.” Yet the biased media won’t rest until it has the public domain believing otherwise. See the problem today is that we have exchanged what was once common sense for nonsense.

 Look at what consumes our attention, propaganda stories and fake stories and gossip against our elected leaders. Trust me, it is junk food for the mind and we are not doing ourselves any favours imbibing on this junk. As the youth, in particular, we need to start reading more and understanding what is truly going on in our country instead of letting ourselves be susceptible to those trying to imprint a negative outlook on the economy of our country and our administration. Here’s a positive suggestion. The government has instituted some of the

deepest fiscal cuts since independence to rescue the economy and put it on a long term growth trajectory, so let us allow President Hage to achieve that.

We can all see that the shelving of big and expensive undertakings such the construction of Hosea Kutako International Airport, new Parliament and office building for the Prime Minister and the Kudu Gas to Power project along with putting on hold other projects has begun to show positive signs and assurances that we as country under the leadership of President Geingob are on the right track.

We should be glad and appreciative that structural reforms were put in place to make our economy resilient and vibrant post the economic downturn, such as the passing of a new Public Procurement Act which is high on local content mainly meant to support the development of Small and Medium Enterprises.  Let us get involved by giving a list of programs and policies we would like them to pass (or repeal) for the betterment of our country. 

Somewhere in between is enough common ground to repeal legislation and programs that aren’t working and create new ones that will work, based on experience, not ideology. For example, legislation to establish an Independent Revenue Agency was recently passed in the National Assembly and has been forwarded to the House of Review before finalization.

 We understand that this Body once fully operational will strengthen our macroeconomic architecture and should result in improved tax administration and revenue collection because we have proof that we have not been doing that well on the later in the past. Let us not be a hindrance to our own progress by supporting those who are trying to make our good President appear like the enemy because of lack of right and truthful information. If we come on board with robust ideas and suggestions, the president can then hit the road and sell an agenda that is beneficial to the country as a whole not just to the well-connected few. Something we can all agree on, instead of being the Achilles heel to our own progress.

 The president deserves credit for eliminating regulations that have been choking the economy, such as significantly reducing the travel and substance allowance budget. It is a major reason why the economy is showing signs of growing again and he deserves to be applauded. We should support him and let him continue doing things his executive power allows him to do to the betterment of the masses of this country.

Being tribalist and calling President Hage a narcissist and “childish” or whatever that deranged and failed politician Bernadus Swartbooi said changes nothing. Where will insulting the President get us? What is the goal of such language?

Do the name-callers such as Professor Joseph Diescho, Job Amupanda and Elia Nguare think he will become something other than what he is, absent a miraculous conversion? Let us be real, President Hage is not the enemy.

By trying to paint a negative picture of the President by focusing on the shortcomings, they are destroying us as a nation. They are getting in the way of everything good we are trying to achieve. People like Swartbooi and others, when it suits them, they engage in this shameful practice of trying to publicly disrespect the President. We better build up with this president and the good he can do, as he is the only president we have.

The power-hungry and greedy are becoming imminent threats; conniving and trying to shift the direction of power in this country, throwing rhetorical bombs at our leaders is not helpful, rather shameful. To use the media and leaders, we are not each other’s enemy. There are those who wish to destroy our hard earned peace and stability, why are we helping them?  All of them, Swartbooi included, are an established stable of “controversialists”, a term I detest with a passion. They crop up regularly in certain sections of the media and are now part of an entire genre that tries to pass itself off as journalism.

In fact, it’s merely opportunistic outrage-surfing peddled by people who are power hungry and greedy who have mistaken attention for relevance. They specialize in legitimizing and professionalizing what frequently amounts to selling hate.

You know the bunch, the type that arguing the opposite of the conventional wisdom is in itself a skill, life Prof Diescho. People who utter so much bile against our leaders just because they go against the grain are not “controversialists” but attention-seeking bores.

They don’t have the intelligence or talent to distinguish them within mainstream discourse so they try to do so outside of it. And they’re not exactly persuasive. They know they can’t argue against the person with facts and figures and logic like President Hage, so they resort to these cheap tactics. They are presented to us by editors and publishers and media institutions that have a political and financial interest in advancing their views as legitimate opinions, rather than drunken dinner-party and conniving chat, we are told that our objection to their views is precious, privileged pearl-clutching.

 The sad reality is now that mainstream opinion is now in a race to the bottom and the media is to blame for it.  You know society is usually an implementation of certain design, normally by the powerful, but that’s not to say the commoners are powerless to interact against that. That in no way means that things always go in the way of the powerful because we are human beings. We have our thoughts and feelings; we wake up from the matrix every so often and say we are going to divert the course of power into this or that particular direction.

Then those interacting social forces, sadly mean the balance of power certainly lies with the powerful. So the result, one would argue, is predictable in a way that they favour people who already have some kind of access to power in some form be it cultural, racial, social or whatever else. I’m not a politician, but I think the only way to soothe people’s pain is to give them a positive response and President Hage has been doing this very well. The model that the president has pioneered is the way we ought to run the country.

We ought to get everyone together, agree on what we are going to do and make something sustainable good happen. That way is better than this constant fighting and conspiracy theories helped by the biased media.

 Thus as everyday people of this country, we should not give in to this lowest common denominator and look at the government or current administration as the enemy. Of course, there are those that have made it their day job to make Namibian youths think that resenting, distrusting and disrespecting their leaders on social media or other platforms shows their concern of the state of the nation.

That is simply celebrating youthful mindlessness mistaken for bravery and intelligence;  which for me is a euphemism for a blind, less informed and myopic subject of the conniving others. Facts on the state of the nation have hugely and purposely misinterpreted and misused by those with a sordid political agenda and some sections of the media that help them, those who take advantage of their gullible youthful followers.

It is sinister how they have become prominent in the public domain. Some of them are being referred to by the media as ‘radicals’ simply for being controversial and downright toxic. It is remarkable how fast they become the press’ resident trolls.  Opportunism abhors a vacuum and this lot will fill it.

And the media has not only indulged the lot, it has positioned them in the spotlight and paraded them undeservedly as ‘activists’.  But anyone honest enough to study their actions in recent times, the like of Martha Namunjebo-Tilahun, can see that they lack any sense of decency.  That’s why I would like to look at this lady in the face and ask her the following, “Have you no sense of decency, ma’am?”

 Watching their conniving actions makes one shudder with embarrassment.  Don’t get me wrong, I am for each and every one that has this country’s interest at heart youth or non-youth, politician or non-politician, pundit or non-pundit. I just want to reiterate that being an intelligent youth is not how loud you raise your voice to your democratically elected leaders, but possessing that dexterity and subtlety without losing focus of the discourse and resorting to anger and divisive tactics.

Intelligence is questioning and bringing our leaders to task, without resorting to cheap tactics. Let us be honest these type of people do not give damn about the well-being of the country, they just wish they or their favoured candidates were in the driving seat.

How do you want what is good for your country when you are that opportunist that jumps to support every opportunity of chaos and anarchy in the country or those behind it for that matter?

  Well, for those who have been trying to figure out how did we get here, here is a newsflash: it is not Facebook feeds or WhatsApp groups, it is the respectable press that have provided a platform and dictated the terms, all the while polishing a gloss of respectability over enemies of progress , theirs lies,  cants, propaganda and manipulations. We have got to do better; the President is not the enemy.