When we achieved our hard earned independence back in 1990, we collectively and consciously embarked on a journey to transform our nation to achieve the kind of society our heroes paid in blood for us to enjoy. The kind of society our ancestors could only dream about, you know, the kind of society envisioned in the constitution.
The country was vastly divided on racial lines, but we made a commitment to heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on recognition of inherent dignity, equality, social justice, fundamental human rights and democratic values.
From the onset we accepted the reality that our everyday life and prevailing conditions will amplify our diff erences, that we may have diff erent views on how to eventually achieve our vision, but we were determined that the diff erences in our views would be challenged under democratic principles.
As a result we espoused the idea of ‘One Namibia, One Nation’, as a guide and as our motivating vision to transform our society and eliminate the inequities of the past. So 27 years after independence, we can clearly see this is not the state of the nation that we and our government made a commitment to build. The undeserved poverty and inequality suff ered by black people is still clearly visible in most parts, they continue to exist and, in fact, have increased on a number of measurement scales. Namibia is no doubt one of the most unequal societies in the world, a country with vast land yet the majority is landless.
This and many other impediments can hugely be attributed to the policy decisions we made after the independence. That the ruling party and its government should have implemented a radical approach to deal with this apartheid induced results of wealth inequality, lack of opportunity and landlessness. The question of radical approach to this country’s impediments, and how to tackle them in a substantive way, has been avoided a great deal. Like at the dawn of independence, these challenges have remained sensitive and uncomfortable to deal with by all the three presidents.
The majority poor still look at the approach the country has taken as ‘reconciliation without restitution’, because those who benefi ted unfairly during the apartheid era continue to enjoy the fruits seconded only by the well politically connected. With all that said civil society also can’t just sit back and be whiny, because resolving this problem will require its full engagement in the quest for practical solutions. This can go as far as big businesses who are greedy and only interested in fi lling up their pockets.
These businesses can also make a big diff erence if they had a shred of goodwill. We know that these businesses and the economic elite, throughout the history of mankind, have never out Wealth transfer to the poor Apartheid racial economic relations still intact of a sense of goodwill volunteered to give up some of their privileges for the benefi t of the poor. What will be great to see is a strategy and plan, completely conjure up and motivated by the private sector, with the sole purpose of funding social development projects that will directly benefi t the poor in the country. That way we are meeting the government halfway, instead of having to rely on government for such development projects.
Over the years we seem to have forgotten our inclusive idea in sharing the Namibian cake and have unapologetically adopted the ‘every man for himself’ mind-set. For those of us who spend a great deal of time on social network engaging and analyzing the dialogue that goes on there, one can’t help but note that there is a signifi cant number of youths not only showing an unprecedented interest in the politics of the day, but seem prepared to off er suggestions with regards to fi nding solutions.
It is refreshing to see that a good number of the younger generation is refusing to be blinded by those hell-bent at derailing their progress, some of who are prepared to tackle the diffi cult issues without preconditions. However, one can easily be deeply disturbed by the misguided anger and disrespect displayed by the less informed and willing tools of those trying to propagate negative energy around the administration.
Those who are so blinded by misguided bitterness that they can’t see the progress government has made since independence. This is usually necessitated by two things either they are so crazy and delusional that the confused themselves or just have a big commitment to derail our progress.
The volume of anger and frustration expressed on social network is a very clear warning that those who have nothing to lose, and they are in the majority, may not wait long to bring about change in the only way they know how. What many failed to understand however is that complete eradication of social and economical inequalities that will take generations to achieve. The elimination of the inherited wealth gap that was primarily based on, above other things, race is no Usain Bolt race.
The driving force in achieving our targeted emancipation from inherited social, economic and mainly neo-colonialism must be making the predicament of the majority poor the driving force. The vast division and wealth gap in our society is a legacy of apartheid, this by no means letting corrupt and greedy politicians and the implementation bad policies off the hook.
The failure to implement substantive measures of redress contributes to this chaos, but thankfully for a country like Namibia, unlike many African countries, we have in this country a president who will not tolerate the corrupt and greedy. He has made enemies and rightly so, with those hell-bent at destroying the economy, peace and stability of this country. That said my ‘Final Thoughts’ are that urgent measures of redress are needed. We know that some degree of coercion has always driven change the world over and this country cannot be an exception.
Change can either be forced or peacefully implemented. The institutional mechanisms for enforcing anti-discriminatory laws are still inadequately administered. In cases where we have tried to rectify these impediments we have found ourselves to be the enemy of such progresses. As a result this is bringing anger and frustration among our people, that’s why we keep waking up to a new land movement every day.
Far too many poor blacks are still landless and not in a position where they can create something meaningful with their lives. We need to implement measures that work for the majority poor even if it means we have to embark on a radical approach in balancing the imbalances that cripple us. We have too many passive policies that need revised and rectifi ed. People can’t eat peace and stability alone.
The whole situation exemplifi es the precariousness of how to deal with what is now becoming an epidemic. Silence and complacency are not an option. This is why even those that are not distressed have a duty towards others, those who have benefi tted from things such as capacity building and tenderprenuership need to come on board to help others claim their rightful positions on the Namibian dining table. But to do so, there is also a risk any progress the majority poor has made to break out of that circle of poverty is undermined.
It is a quiet stranglehold, maybe purposely made so. But what we need to do is implement measures that work and the landless masses should be the focal point.