FLIPSIDE — by Chris Jacobie
NAMIBIA is seemingly racing headlong towards a precipice and might even miss the cross-roads towards economic-, social- and political recovery if they cannot free themselves from a terminal electioneering mentality that can easily be confused with a struggle for what is left of the treasury.
A great tragedy is unfolding when self-appointed interests groups are looking over the fence into the political domestic violence and growing anarchy in the Southern African neighbourhood rather than to harness Namibian stability and security to be a Southern African investment destination of choice.
It is not in the nature of common Namibians to be alarmed conspiracy theorists, but it will be an act of unforgivable dishonesty and irresponsibility not to point out the warning lights of division and self-interest flashing in rooms of the house.
As with any long journey, the nation should pause and reflect to arrive safely at the destination of sustainable dignity to all.
Namibians should not allow intolerance, insolence and insult from both conservative and liberal fundamentalists to silence the always reasonable majority. Common value is still the national middle ground of dialogue of tolerance of the whole population, whose interests and well-being are also far greater than those of the different factions of self-interested noisy tyrants of the minority whom they pretend to represent.
Social distancing of Covid-19 is not social distancing of the mind only for it to be captured by factional interest.
In fact, social distancing should drive Namibians closer towards each other for the nation to recover and exploit the economic- and social opportunities when it presents itself, because when regional and continental competitors are losing their edge, a united Namibia must be the sharpest edge, because others lose their attractiveness and are busting their own myths as powerhouses.
Populist politics of opportunity is more dangerous than the FISHROT-scandal, with two ministers, managers of SOE’s, and the cream of asset managers already in custody and various legal minds under investigation.
If Namibia is already struggling to allow for the judicial system to deal with FISHROT they will find the rest of the level of corruption at SOE’S and in Ministries an unsurmountable obstacle.
The crisis of democracy is that the very same institutions that must safeguard citizens’ rights and act as checks and balances, are assaulted and weaponized against itself. The corruption that is drowned in the FISHROT political shouting match, is camouflaging much bigger corruption in which the financial sector is complicit by association.
The state of a beleaguered Namibia is a fast collapsing political credibility from members of the ruling- and opposition parties alike. The middle- and top management of the civil service and SOE’s captured a significant section of the administration. The unfinished projects, construction disasters and missing millions are reflected by the shining shoes of corrupt officials who don’t even care if they appear corrupt, because they never walk the sidewalks where beggars and street vendors’ last remaining hope is for empathy only.
Fate could not have conspired in the cruellest of ways with a continuous drought, a persistent economic meltdown, Covid-19 and a competition of ego.
More than ever, Namibia needs unifiers to rally a wounded nation for a decisive battle against Covid-19, corruption and tribalism. They must be moulded into that fine internationally admired nation who has fought a hundred year war against each other and often made temporary peace with each other just for a bigger battle against the might of the world powers of history.
The past thirty years, a new generation walked in the shadows of warriors and kept the peace and the spirit of a free society that will outlast many generations alive.
Covid-19, factionalism and corruption on all levels of society cannot strip Namibians of their legendary resolve and instinctive generosity towards each other.
When the last credibility of the courts and laws are undermined, when no elected leader is believed, when the police and fire brigade are attacked when they do their duty and the corrupt and ignorant officials are allowed amnesty from dishonesty, there will be no-one left to come to the rescue of fellow Namibians.
Anarchy and political obsession is not a cure for an ailing democracy.
It is a curse.