FLIPSIDE — By Chris Jacobie
NAMIBIANS should spare a few minutes in self-imposed exile from the information-carpet-bombing to appreciate the difference between an authentic and a fake Namibia.
To reflect on the differences between gossip and Namibian gospel, is glaring and re-affirms that Namibia is home like no other.
All the efforts, advantages and convenience of modern communication technology cannot hide that the Namibian society is a melting pot of community diversity that greatly contributes to its democratic and independence experiment that the world thought thirty years ago, will not last.
A mushrooming of political parties and interest groups that came and went and come again confirms the spirit of independence.
After a hundred years or more of foreign occupation of various kinds, there is a huge difference between Namibian citizenship and party membership.
In the real everyday Namibia, the welfare and dignity of the whole population is a shared responsibility that unifies Namibia and the peace and goodwill is visible in all corners of the country. While Namibians might not always appreciate it, visitors are as mesmerized by it as the plains, valleys and forests where man and beast live and survive together.
They appreciate Namibia as a world destination of hospitality and not one of hostility. They admire the nation for not being terminally infected with the wars of greed, fake power conflicts and populism raging around them.
Citizens of Independence have earned their right to dignity after being challenged like few other communities on the African Continent and around the world.
Change that is promised is not possible without a change in attitude first. There are enough samples in the world where change in leadership was for the worse, because populism perverted common sense and produced kings, not servants.
Namibia is a nation of opportunity and attitude.
Guns are not pointed at each other or outward at their neighbours, because frontier communities live in peace with their neighbours and contribute greatly to regional peace, saving huge defence costs.
For their efforts, they deserve an acceleration for their investment of food production, which is a matter of pride and a measure of a man to feed his family, and contribution to healthcare and education. The optimistic rain predictions and the devastating drought have moulded farmers into an even stronger force to take advantage of better times, because they learned from disaster.
Namibians must thank and congratulate their own temperance and reverence for their country and resilience.
They have rights and they know their rights. Those who step out of line are challenged in the courts and an independent judiciary’s decision is respected and abided by.
The warring political parties and internal factions should be grateful for citizens who maintain an atmosphere where politicians can insult and injure each other in their quest for power.
In a minute of self-censorship, the nation will realise that the people, by abiding by COVID-19 prevention measures, are slowly but surely shaking off the stranglehold of conspiracy and are winning the war against diseases like COVID-19 and Hepatitis E through improved primary health care.
On the eve of regional and local government elections, Namibians realize that they need representatives that can shake off the grip of incompetent civil servants who have the nation and political appointees by the throat.
There are still a few good men and women who cannot bear to send their workers home knowing that there is no basic service because overpaid and underworked officials sit at tea tables and discuss schemes of fraud and self-enrichment.
The challenge for Namibians is to make sure that Namibia that is so much admired outside its borders must be equally attractive for those living and working and carrying the nation’s interests on their shoulders.
Namibia must be attractive to each other, but much must be done to achieve that. An effort in the right direction is what is needed.
Violence against the weak and the vulnerable is not acceptable. It is a stain on the conscience of every citizen.
Poverty is everywhere, but too little attention is given to eradicate it. Dignified living conditions with basic sanitation and water should not be part of political slogans but should be a national quest for common dignity.
Investment, growth and the best human resources should be kept inside Namibia and should not be neglected. Young Namibians of all races look for opportunities elsewhere, because they despair when their parents and leaders trample on the nation’s reputation to be on top.
The world and Namibia have changed.
Citizens have lost their innocence by rampant corruption and a delay in the well-intentioned mechanisms to address cases of corruption is necklacing good governance because the civil servants swim under the protection of sharks.
Instead of demonizing each other, Namibians will do well to demonize the idea of self-enrichment and unfair advantage, because it erodes equality and in the end, there will be no shame and therefore no dignity.
Political parties can win elections but will lose the war if the candidates that are fielded are not leaders of a new front of just and humble servants of a population.
The elections that loom are a window of opportunity that Namibians cannot afford to close.
Candidates and not contestants, servants and not masters must steer the Namibian ship towards a safe harbour where prejudice and pride is worthless.
Gospel will defeat gossip because gossip stands in the way of tolerance and dignity.
The fair and the just in power instinctively serve the whole of the populace from a one-hour-old baby to an elder who has one hour left to live.
That is the Namibia of freedom of spirit and body where everyone is as safe as can be and as happy as possible under any circumstance.
Because in the end, it is the pursuit of happiness that matters, because therein lies the dignity of any man, woman and child.
The reality is that everyday citizens must pick up the standard that is ripped apart by corruption and suspicion and rise it as a Namibian victory of effective administration in the service of all.