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Flipside

FLIPSIDE

Unaccountability is exposed

THE rebellion in town- and village councils confirms that it is possible to be trusted and promoted with good intentions, but it can result in the worst possible of outcomes. In the case of the mutiny in municipal council elections it brought Namibia’s famed democracy under suspicion and in disrepute.
The decision of the Namibian and Swapo president, Dr. Hage Geingob, to refer this distasteful mutiny to he politburo demonstrates strong leadership and constitutional commitment. He furthermore created an opportunity to restore the status of democracy that is under attack. However the Swapo Headquarters complicity in the council “rebellion” must be scrutinized and sanctioned. The politburo must not only decide on the fate of the elected and suspended councillors, but should hold those in the party administration who were responsible to account.
The voters were not informed and not prepared, because of an arrogance of leaders who want to force their will and treat the electorate as voting cattle. It must stop. It is just insulting.
It might have very well be the case that Swapo as a collective took a decision not to change office bearers in town councils and it is their right as party to do so. The question arises when and why such an collective decision was taken and how the instruction of the party was conveyed to the supporters of the party. The Swapo members should have been prepared by those assigned months in advance and it is close to democratic sabotage from the ruling party structures if it did not happen. It would be unjust to punish councillors, but not administrators. In fact it is arrogance of leaders to expect that a decision can be enforced on voters just because they think they are entitled.
An analysis of the facts of the past few weeks can come to no other conclusion that the crisis of council elections was self inflicted.
The facts are that Swapo is reminding Namibians at very opportunity that it is democratic and that democracy must be strengthened. Namibia unfortunately experienced the opposite. Democracy was eroded and ignored by decrees that the Swapo voters had no knowledge of and were not consulted about. They were confronted by a monster like a dictatorship/democracy introduced by a Shaningwa directive.
There is no such thing and President Geingob must be praised for directing the issue to the politburo and confirming his and his parties commitment to democracy.
But there must be consequences on all sides. Those who did not communicate and those that defied the will of the people. The corrections should be made and the sails set on the stable democratic path.
Leaders have a greater duty towards citizens than what they can demand from citizens, because the relationship between elected leaders and the voters is founded in trust and it will fall, because of a lack of trust first and finally accountability and democracy will fall to anarchy when respect and credibility goes.
Both which is needed for unity in finding sustainable solutions for national challenges.
Me. Shaningwa’s performance in the town council fiasco should not be evaluated only from when she became secretary-general and can in no way be swept under the carpet as a factional conspiracy or a price she pays as supporter of Dr Geingob.
She must consider the town council fiascos as a simmering volcano that she did not address as Minister of Local Government and Housing in spite of many pleas and warnings of the beleaguered communities.
There was a time when she as minister waved her fists in the air, telling councillors she will deal with them, even launching corruption investigations into land transactions.
She left, became SG of Swapo and the action that was taken was taken by her successor, minister Peya Mushelenga, who, boldly and bravely fired the council of Rehoboth and it is going better. Okahandja remains a festering sore of a bigger lack of leadership in the Otjozondjupa region and will not disappear. A bark without a bite does not discourage wayward behaviour and never lead to correction.
Me Shaningwa acts and portrays herself a combat general and not a secretary general ailing the machine of party functioning at its peak. Now again, in spite of her aggressive manners that are regarded by many as insulting, she threatens and nothing happens.
Namibians are still reeling from behaviour that is not befitting national leaders of an internationally respected and admired republic where the rule of law is respected.
At the funeral of the late Seth Kooitjie of the Topnaars, national leaders pleaded for the traditional chiefs of the Nama to unite all Nama-speaking clans, but chose not to explain or take responsibility for their own roles in division.
Little did they realize that they themselves were also leading the funeral of political decency and accountability.
The town council rebellions might be suppressed for a while, but the Swapo list of candidates for elections later this year will be the real test.
The lists will become a bloodied political battlefield of a fight for survival and personal and factional interest, unless the candidates are going down on their knees in a spirit of accountability and take responsibility for those that elected them as servants of dreams and givers of hope. The parliamentary list have all the potential to become a political hit list to save the party and its culture.
Namibians – through their Shaningwa defiance – have shown an old Namibian truth: Namibians will always retaliate when pushed far enough into a corner.
Me Shaningwa must hold herself to account and be the judge of her own commitment to accountability.
She knows what she must do. Me. Shaningwa must just find the bravery to do the right thing and Namibians will not only forgive her, but respect her for setting an example of self-sacrificing accountability.
Self-sacrifice for the common good is the highest honour of loyalty.
The land of the Brave is not only for those who suffer and endure hardship in freedom, but for those who don’t, because they are leaders with privileges beyond what most can ever expect.
That is the Land of the Brave, being led by Brave Leaders.

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