By: Uakutura Kambaekua
The Basic Income Grant Coalition of Namibia festival under the theme “Basic Income Grant is basic Humanism” is set for Saturday at Zoo Park’s Amphitheatre in Windhoek as the coalition joins the rest of the world in celebrating the 15th week of the international BIG week.
The #NoOneIsLeftOutFestival is a free festival which aims to mobilise Namibian artists and the public to unite in observing the 15th anniversary of the International Basic Income Grant Week.
Confirming the festival to the Villager, BIG Coalition representative Rinaani Musutua said the festival’s purpose is to call to action by creating a poverty-free society, thus reminding the government of its promises of poverty eradication.
“We are joining our voices together to spread a call to action in the context of what we can do to leave no one behind by creating a poverty-free society. The hashtag reminded President Geingob of his promise to the Namibian people in 2015 when he said he would “eradicate poverty” and that “nobody in the Namibian house should be left out in the efforts to eradicate poverty,” said Musutua.
She also stated that the festival would act as a tool for advocating for a basic income grant as the most efficient way to eradicate poverty and inequality.
“The #NoOneIsLeftOut festival is organised by the basic income grant of Namibia to observe the international basic income grant week, which has the purpose of advocating for a basic income grant as the most efficient way used to eradicate poverty and inequality. We are observing the 15th international basic income grant week, which is why we organise the basic income grant, which is organised to call to action against poverty and to remind the government and the president of the promises he made to eradicate poverty. The promises have never been kept,” narrated Musutua.
Musutua blasted the government for doing little to address economic disparities among citizens, noting that more than 1.6 million of the country’s population still live in abject poverty.
She also called on the government to convert the Harambee cash bank into a universal basic income grant whereby each Namibian from age zero to 59 would receive N$500 per month as the most cost-efficient way through which Namibia can reduce poverty and inequality.
“We have managed to get some funding from international and local funders who made this pro bono event possible. It will be a free event with a lot of music, traditional music, brass bands and a fashion show. We are doing this because we believe the government is still not doing enough to help the Namibian people, we have 1.6 million poor people in Namibia, and nothing has been done to remedy the situation. What the government has done is to turn the food Harambee food bank into a cash bank which is only given to about 45 000 Namibians. That’s only two per cent of the population, so that is just a drop in the ocean. We want the government to convert that Harambee cash bank into a universal basic income grant whereby each Namibian from age zero to 59 would receive 500 per month, and that is the most cost-efficient way through which Namibia can reduce poverty and inequality,” she noted.
According to Musutua, the festival will feature Cota Mushe, Ou Billem, Maranatha, Banger Drums, Tashen, Franklin, Tapz and Hartley Drums. To freshen up the Namibian music scene, upcoming musicians will also feature at the festival, including Elle Mwanaka Chokwe, Namlife style, Star Keys, YMZ, Rock Star Wetu, Rap King, Gaddess, Ori, Cutty (cutti3), Mareo and SamZoo, Hosei Legitimate and Dope Dance Boys. Other activities include a brass band performance, fashion show, children’s entertainment, traditional dances, poetry, drama, SME stalls selling “Made in Namibia” beauty products, fashion, and traditional food.
Additionally, Musutua said the coalition would use the festival to urge the Namibian youth to rally behind the BIG Coalition in the fight against poverty and demand unconditional BIG as a right.
“With a 50% youth unemployment rate, it is mainly the youth who are affected by poverty and hence, should be the ones demanding humanitarian relief from the state,” she added.
To protect the society from being torn apart by social tensions caused by social and economic disparities, Musutua further called on President Geingob to tackle the crisis with new and innovative measures such as the universal Basic Income Grant (BIG) of N$500/person/month for all Namibians aged 0-59. “This has been scientifically validated to be the most efficient way to reduce poverty and inequality in Namibia,” concluded Musutua.
The basic income grant is a periodic cash payment unconditionally delivered to everyone individually, without means-test or work requirement.