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From the news desk

Governor Mutjavikua must resign

EMBATTLED Governor of Erongo Cleophas Mutjavikua has lost credibility and therefore his ability to govern.

This week, a secret audio recording with the governor suggesting ways to undermine the union he once represented in favour of a foreign company, as well as how to manipulate the labour Act in its favour during wage negotiations with unions, was leaked.

The careless suggestions troubled many, understandably, with the National Union of Namibian Worker asking President Hage Geingob to step in and fire him, as well as all public office-bearers who do not have the interest of workers at heart as they are destroying the economy.

I tend to agree with the union that we deserve better from our leaders, especially given the current national political environment where a high unemployment rate is recorded and job security is not guaranteed.

As someone whose political career was launched through the unions and workers’ issues, it gives me no pleasure to see Mutjavikua’s rapid fall from grace.

Were his intentions deliberately misunderstood, or did his utterances expose a man lacking a moral compass, an incurable character defect that no amount of after-the-fact rationalising or apologising can fix?

Only he knows for sure, but his mishandling of the highly incendiary issue shows that he is clearly not up to the job.

His poor judgment has undermined his standing with the residents of not only the Erongo Region, but the nation, in ways that I believe will permanently impair his ability to act as an effective governor.

Instead of waiting to be possibly sacked by the Head of State, he should therefore do the honourable thing by resigning and perhaps return to his other passions, whatever they may be.

In the aftermath of the audio that has since gone viral, Mutjavikua tried to explain his words away, insisting that he only acted as a mediator.

“Indeed I referred to re-organising clause in the labour Act on a question relating to systems and processes which the company wanted to be addressed. The issue of processes and systems became a sticking point in negotiations as the mine insisted on linking half of the annual salary increases on the performance of the company,” he said.

So the governor wants us to believe that he wasn’t implying that works should be retrenched when he suggested re-organising to the Chinese mine bosses.

I’m not buying it, and neither are the unions, who would most likely know the governor’s tricks better than anyone else.

It is more likely that Mutjavikua realised the enormity of his blunder and is trying to back paddle to save his political career.

All politicians are flawed human beings who sometimes make grave mistakes. When they sincerely admit their wrongdoings, which we have yet to see from the governor, they deserve forgiveness and a chance for redemption, but that does not mean that they deserve to remain in high public office.

If Mutjavikua steps away without needing a push, he might still make a comeback as he would have been seen to be honourable, but the longer he stays in power while the workers continue to suffer under unfavourable conditions, he will always be seen as the man who stood with the oppressor and not the oppressed.

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