FLIPSIDE — Chris Jacobie
IF COVID-19 and its effects are still not enough to make the Namibian Nation sick, the political opportunism and populism will succeed where the virus failed and put good administration and democratic institutions in Intensive Care.
The Namibian Household is close to a self-induced coma and a growing leadership paralysis with credibility destroyed on local and regional level and infighting in all political parties.
If the whole of the nation could collectively look into a mirror, the image staring back at them will not be flattering. The crisis of faction looks more serious than the crisis of COVID-19 infection.
Posturing and shouting matches are not even attempts towards national dialogue, but bravados of intolerance between the political deaf and the mute who only hear and listen to the voices in their own heads.
What COVID-19 has unmasked is that the extreme right and the extreme left share more in common than what they differ about.
Both are minorities and both agree against all evidence that their world is the perfect world, but they are fundamentalist all the same.
The reality of everyday Namibians on the streets, pavements and in the frontline of serious service delivery on security, health, education and food production is in direct opposite of the statements shared by the privileged few who have data and access to sophisticated devices.
The vast majority of Namibians suffer in silence and leads by example by adhering to rules and surviving day-to-day and they do it gracefully.
In addition to personality- and factional interests, an urban and rural society is forming and only now noticed because it is drifting apart. If Namibians stop the scare and care to look around them, democracy of unity and peace is close to a homeland system because of a mental lockdown.
The nation took a few hard knocks the past years with a world- and regional economic downturn, a drought that seemed endless and a COVID-19 pandemic that caught the planet off guard making the distinction between friend and foe nearly unrecognizable.
Namibia was knocked backwards, but not knocked out. The nation has all the reason and motivation to fight back and must do so to be part of the Land of the Brave.
Despite everything that would have brought most governments in the world and the African continent to their knees with citizens at war with each other, Namibia still has endless space, opportunity and is conflict free.
The streets are not shrouded in the billowing smoke of burnt tyres where mothers and children dodge the bullets of drug- and political turf wars.
The pandemic already robbed Namibians of most of their innocence, freedoms and gains as a young growing nation, but citizens are now at risk of losing their pride and common purpose to populism and faction, as well.
If, as the evidence points to, Namibia like the rest of the world were not prepared for COVID-19, they are surely not prepared now for the end of the pandemic which will come as sure as night follows day.
The sad state is that some might not even believe that the State of Emergency will ever be lifted, and if it is relaxed some might not believe that it’s real.
It is maybe opportune that Namibians take stock of the bravery of the handful of men who 54-years ago travelled through forests and swamps to fire the first shots in Namibia’s liberation war on 26 August 1966 which eventually led to independence on 21 March 1990.
For three decades already, Namibians are the heroes of independence, peace, development and stability.
Now it is time for a new type of hero – heroes who must keep a nation free and healthy and prepare for final battle to economic recovery against what seems like impossible odds.
Tolerance and mutual goodwill must keep Namibia free to face the challenges on behalf of the weak and the helpless.
If Namibians overcome and they must, they will emerge stronger, because the heroes of everyday Namibians, are Namibians.
The only sacrifice that is needed unlike war is to sacrifice personal interest, because right must defeat might.
When collective dignity is restored as a supreme value the battle for freedom and justice will be achieved.