Dear Dr Hage: What now?

Dear Mr President, What is plan B, and do we have one?

The last year was tough on the economic side, and seeing that you are actively involved in the developmental activities and economic remedies, we would like your assurance that you have a plan.

When all fails, soldiers look onto their Commander-in-Chief for a way out. After all, we have all those fancy advisors to advise us on the best way to go.

Right now, people have the jitters about the collapsing Rand which the N$ is pegged to, and although our economists have tried to assure us that just because South Africa is going through a rough patch does not mean that Namibia will not be dragged into the mud by default , we still don’t see how that is inevitable.

The same drive you had when you were installed as Number One in the Land of the Brave and started taking everyone to task immediately, we would like to see those energies being invested in things that matter.

This column was motivated by the Economic Outlook for 2015-2017 report, which says risks to the domestic outlook include low commodity prices which may lead to a deterioration in the country’s external position and exert pressure on both the current account balance and the international reserves.

I don’t know how anyone else interprets this, but this is bad. I do not remember a time when things were being interpreted to turn out this bad, even if it’s for a short period of time. Mr President, please understand that my concern is never with the HAVES, but with the HAVE-NOTS.

These are the people who do not always understand what it is that is causing bread and butter prices to increase so much. So, can we actually look like we care for them, and not only attend to who got what tender and who did not?

The outlook continues to say in no uncertain terms that “electricity supply constraints which started in South Africa could worsen further and spill over to the Namibian economy and restrain growth”.

Again, the outlook proves in more ways than one that what affects South Africa socio-economically always spills over here because of our marriage. In the case of electricity, why has it taken three presidents before deciding what to do with the insecure electricity supply?

Projects have been announced and cancelled since the first administration. Why is it so hard for us to set our sights firmly on a few major projects in water, electricity, infrastructure and manufacturing without having to go back and forth?

At this rate, 10 independence generations will come and go before we decide on anything.

Now, the Judgement Call is not saying that we are facing a candlelight crisis, but we are just asking whether we have to wait until the 4th president to actually do something which will last for many generations? We are not set on anything, be it in housing or power. Mass housing has been on and off. Kudu and Xaris are on and off as well. Where do we stand?

Finally, it hurts to read things such as “the negative impact of the decline in oil prices on the Angolan economy is likely to have a dent on Namibia’s growth, mainly through wholesale and retail trade.”

Are we married to everyone? I understand our relationships with our SADC brothers and sisters, but do we have to be on our knees in all sectors? Neighbouring countries sneeze, and Namibia gets hospitalized.

If there is something the Judgement Call would like to remind the Commander-in- Chief about, it’s that he has done this before. Prime Minister twice and President once is the best thing that could have happened for this country.

We are led by a man who has had first and second-hand experience of what Namibia needs. Your last term as Prime Minister should have ended the trial run, and started the real thing.