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Tribalism undermines democracy in Namibia

Tue, 27 August 2013 00:06
by sonja ndahafa
Columns

As Namibians prepares for November 2014 general elections, where different candidates from each political party take part for yet another term of ruling and run the country, the effect of tribalism is still prevailing and undermining our democracy.
Namibian democracies which have bypassed the divisive influence of tribalism, such as many Namibians arguing as to why the majority of leaders are Oshiwambo speaking.
Why certain main events on our calendar are mostly celebrated in some parts of the country. Why is our land still in the hands of white people. Why only people from Omusati Region occupy top positions such as Permanent secretary, deputies and even ministerial.
In Botswana, the adoption of a single national language, Setswana, is seen as instrumental in forging the country’s strong national identity - and Tanzania whose independence leader, Julius Nyerere, is often credited for the creation of a national identity in a nation with more than 130 tribes.
At a particular ministry, I had to go do some clarifications with certain papers last week. Before being assisted the person in charge has the audacity says: ‘’Yes, I’m able to help you Ma’am. I see you are related to Prof. Lazarus Hangula? No, wait. You have two surnames here, Nahas Angula neh? I was shocked and very disappointed. I shook my head and left. Does this matter? Or does this mean that if I was’nt an Angula or Hangula surname carrier, she would’nt assist me?  Namibians need to comes to terms and get the idea painted in their minds that a country will never be a true country if we regard ourselves as Ovaherero, Damara, Kavangos or Zambezis.
We are Namibians and that’s where it should end. There are still some Namibians who are battling with the fact that next year’s chosen and most favorable to many, Dr Hage Geingob, will take on the leading oath. Ethnic and tribal natives should really cease to be an issue. What Namibia need is strengthening democratic institutions, a good governance which cater for us all as citizens by a capable good leading individual and not some tribal/ relations bloods.
It appears that human beings are inclined to stress their differences in the pursuit of power, rather than emphasize their similarities.
In other parts of the world people, reach for different things. It could be colour, religious affiliation, origin or whatever. But in our country’s societies, tribe seems to be the easiest difference to exploit to gain power.
You need to belong to this, to have that, to know who, to stand at this position in order for you to get a breakthrough.
It’s saddening that after 23 years of colonial oppressions we still battling with individual war of tribalism. What examples are we giving to those that visit or live here from other countries? Worse of all we shouting to the world that we are a ‘’Land of the Brave, One Namibia and One Nation.
Or is this some plain amusing slogan?  As a citizen of this country, we need to look at our faults, run through what we are bad at and correct ourselves a little because we are not only putting ourselves to shame. We are placing our beloved country to that extend.
More concerning however is the renaming of the regions, and the divisions that are put to perspectives because this might divide us even more.  The government’s agendas should be its people not names. Government can rename and redivide all regions again and over again. But for as long as its priorities are misplaced, the nation will continue to suffer.