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Other Articles from The Villager

Why not Hage?

Fri, 18 August 2017 19:12
by Chrispaul
Columns

In the aftermath of the Swapo Party’s central committee meeting, what grieves me the most is not so much the fact that the party has not endorsed President Hage yet, it is the fact that there is still no answer to this question; why not Hage? 

If the there is something we learned from the central committee meeting is that there is tension and division within the ruling party. The party is battling on many fronts to contain the fallout from a damn near deep political crisis.

The party is deeply divided and probably in its weakest state ever. It is not only struggling to contain the wider social, economic and political crisis, but it is also forced to fight to manage the internal factional battles which are threatening to tear it apart. The regional and district elections have been marred by infighting and allegations of heavy fraud in the candidate list processes.

 Just a few months before congress, the party members are just as divided, just as politicized, just as biased. Rather than taking the higher ground as leaders in preserving the legacy, stability and continuity and call party members to join in, they are sinking down into the fray, getting soiled and dirtied in the process.

 Rather than being a voice of sanity and clarity to the nation as leaders of the ruling party, their message is muddled. They are ruder than redemptive and more caustic than compassionate. As a ruling party, surely we can and must do better.

Power-hungry and tribalistic politicians, greedy and conniving business persons are not an existential treat to the peace and stability of the country; they are the cancer within.

They are dapper and edgy, presented by the media as if anti-heroes fl awed but somehow loved. The rapidly normalization, nay, glamorization of the anti-Hage force is also, depressingly, a function of media’s established profound towards and solidarity with  those they intend to push and make household names. It’s not shocking that some newspaper’s caricature of President Hage has become an offensive distortion. People, it is time to stand up and to speak the truth and fight the slander.

We have witnessed months of relentless lies and smears by the tribalist attack machines and its media enablers, who are labouring tirelessly to create an aura of ineptitude around President Hage. These detractors reel off a laundry list of unsupported accusations with an air of absolute authority, and the sadly thing is someone within the leadership of Swapo is supporting them.

Someone is enjoying this, someone is secretly supporting those who are trying to make this country ungovernable. You have those who are craving for power yet they don’t want to come out publicly, as a result they are doing whatever they can to work with forces that are against the President and sabotage his efforts.

 I’m sick and tired of endless lies about Pres Hage, the character attacks, the distortions of his agenda, the knobby misrepresentation portrayed in some newspapers.

Anyone can see that it is precisely the intention: Taint him through innuendo, throw enough dirt at him so the masses develop an instant negative association with his name.

 We are witnessing an era where movements are strategically stacked against the sitting president like never before. Inordinate sums have been spent in attempt to paint a malignant picture of Dr Hage, using propagandists with sophisticated techniques to try to undermine his work.  Sadly, some people blindly imbibe and regurgitate these fabricated narratives, joined by operatives of stuffy pigsties called newsrooms with personal vendettas, whose biasness is so vivid even to a kindergartner.

They rejoice at the news of Moody downgrading so they can say to people that ‘we told you so’. They said the state coffers stated to dry up soon as Hage expanded the size of his cabinet, unnecessarily appointed money-hungry advisors from the private sector, and increased the pensioner grant, increased politicians municipal utility allowances and others.

They spread lies such as that Dr. Hage is so incompetent that all these factors that have pocked holes in the government pockets were done without carefully assessing the affordability and a sound financial projection of the country. 

  A lot of us are at a loss of words about how to respond to frightening, divisive tribalist and divisive views , not only being spotlighted, but mainstreamed. Unable to adjust, we continue to engage with these views as though they were just a new wave of controversy.

Times are changing, and we are not catching up. Being modest and tolerant, trying to be the bigger guy doesn’t always work. If what is happening in this country in the event of economic recession,  some positions simply cannot be entertained, let alone argued against. The alternative to this ineffectual and futile false equivalency debate is to simply stand up and aggressively call each and every one of them out, especially when some higher-ups in the ruling party are tolerating them.

There is this fallacy in the current administration about reasoned debate, probably brought about by the fact that the president is a modern leader who believes in engaging the disheartened in debate and keeping the dignity of decorum intact. This philosophical Achilles’ heel is what is paralysing and undermining the current administration and maybe a little too much sense of liberal democracy. It’s time to talk back and point out detractors and traitors. It’s one thing to have principle-based convictions.

It’s another thing to be a slave to power-hungry and greed motivated opinions. It’s one thing to be passionate for progress in the country and truth. It’s another to be so right in our own eyes. Right now it is pretty much two camps, those who want President Hage to get a second term and those who are opposing to that.

If we look all around us, everyone and everybody seem to have an opinion with regards to what I just said.

How many of us do our best to understand both sides of an argument? How many of us make an effort to listen and understand before we speak? How many of us expose ourselves to viewpoints that we differ with? How many of us put caring before criticizing? How many of us realize that we all have blind spots that hinder our objectivity? How many of us even take time to think before we open our mouths and start critizing others over humanly mistakes?

Often things are not so vividly black and white, and often there is truth and error on both sides. But if we completely shut out opposing views, if we refuse even to hear what others have to say, how can we be so sure that we’re being objective?

 I’m an unashamed, unapologetic, Hage supporter, and I would gladly die on the hill of my core principle convictions. At the same time, I can tell you what my ideological opponents believe and why they believe it. And I can present their arguments in such a way that they would say, “You understand our position.”

 Yes, I understand it and I reject it because you have failed to give ample reason as to why President Hage cannot get a second term. But all too often, when I’m remonstrating or simply interacting with someone with opposing ideas or someone I differ with, my focus is not to understand their position before responding.

My focus is to refute them, to prove they’re wrong, to demonstrate I’m right. And that begs the question: Am I trying to win an argument or am I trying to be redemptive? Am I trying to be right or trying to help someone see the truth? And am I even open to being wrong on any position I hold? To be candid, though, our lack of ability to have constructive interaction is not my biggest concern.

 Rather, it is that I see tribalism in the party, I see greed-driven factionalism in the party, I see lack of love, even worse, I see cruelty. And so much of it is done in the name of the party. What a reproach.

During President Sam Nujoma and President Pohamba, the party leaders usually laid into anyone that had any sort of problem with the president as being against the party.  The president of the party was always protected, which I believe was always the right thing to do.

 But if the party extended such protection to the party president against anyone or anything trying to undermine him, why isn’t the party holding itself to the same standard when it came to those trying to make President Hage’s time ungovernable? Why not Hage? Why is President Hage not being afforded the same protection? What is wrong with President Hage that the party has not endorsed him as a sole candidate yet?

 Swapo’s reluctance to endorse President Hage only seems to highlight its internal conspiracies and how true they are. There is a level of corruption and it is fundamentally factionalised and it is held hostage to a profound kind of amoral internal politics that protects the power-hungry, greedy and incompetent. Is President Hage such a threat to the party that if endorsed he will investigate and bring to light some of the hidden things?

You bet that’s my opinion. The truth is someone with in in Swapo is scared of what President Hage might dig out. Someone is having something to hide, by that measure, they are willing to work their fingers to bones to prevent President Hage from becoming the party’s president or endorse him as the sole candidate.

My final thoughts to the youth as the future of this country is that we need to heal ourselves from the follower-syndrome and think independently, President Hage is the victim here. Let us be real and honest to ourselves to what is currently happening in this country, there is no one as deserving as President Hage to run this country.

 Let us all try to come up with solutions to our problems instead of resorting to the coward and cheap way out of finger pointing and forge forward with our President.

Let’s work hard young nation, let’s dedicate ourselves to progress, let us not be become tools of those who are trying to destabilize our country and undermine our efforts to bring about prosperity. They will come to you and tell you the worst things about government because that’s all they want you to hear.  The only way we are going to stop this conspiracy is by standing strong in our truth.  They want us to fold, they want us to shut up and let them take this country down by any means necessary.

 They want us to fail so they can say that we told you so. But we are not going to play by their game, unlike them we are not going to encourage tribal strife and discord, resort to media manipulation, fake news, tactics of pay protesters or connive against anyone.

We are going to beat this enemy and all other challenges facing this country, including economic, through hard work, innovation, honesty and with our values. The simple truth is that they can’t compete with our ideas and they know that, that’s why they chose chaos. Namibia is an upright country, we shall not give in to those trying to derail our efforts to prosperity and power-hungry leaders within in Swapo trying to make things difficult for our President for their own selfish reasons.

Times are hard, hard for everyone around us, but we shall prevail.  It is sad that the public is not told enough-a-time that Hage’s administration is diligently focusing its energy and efforts on correcting previous mistakes without wasting a single second on pointing fingers.

The public is not told enough-a-time that President Hage inherited so many problems, instead of allowing themselves to be used by tribalists and greedy businessmen and these power hungry, dishonest and manipulative groups  that has refused to accept Hage as president and  propagating negative energy around him, they should get together and help their government help them.

No matter how shocking this may sound to Hage’s malicious critics, those tribalists who spend their time condescendingly mocking and accusing anyone who is honest enough to say a good word about the president of being on the payroll, Hage has demonstrated that he is a thoughtful, hardworking public servant who has earned the respect of leaders at home, Africa and overseas.

 Without taking anything from past presidents, Dr Hage is an upstanding, principled and dignified leader who has survived an induced political wilderness and is currently surviving the most purposely made volatile and unstable administration in Namibian history. So, why not Hage?