THE second Land Conference started as a search for sustainable solutions towards fair land re-distribution and correcting historic injustices.
After five days, a nation emerged that through delegates discovered nationhood and mutual goodwill that cut across all segments of societies. More importantly, the decisions of the land conference confirmed serious service delivery shortcomings that will receive attention.
In all fairness, government took responsibility for mistakes and intends to appoint a commission of inquiry into some of the matters regarding resettlement.
But as with all great discoveries, it only serves a purpose if it serves the common good.
The Namibian consensus is for change in attitude and culture. Never before did it ring so clear. At the same time, Namibian commitment to the Constitution and the rule of law could not have been more unanimous with President Dr. Hage Geingob flying the banner with a rededication of his oath.
Namibians also have the right to expect that his political appointees and some of their administrative accomplishes will rededicate themselves to the presidential example of his word that is his bond. If found wanting, they should do the honourable thing and resign.
In this regard Namibians will do well to take note of the latest court action of the Affirmative Repositioning Movement (AR) who is approaching the courts in an attempt to force the establishment of a Rent Control Board by the Minister of Trade and Industry. That is their right and a great example of constitutionalism from the youth movement and a change in strategy and respect for the rule of law that the authorities and the nation should take note of.
Two weeks ago the mere mentioning of a land conference was abused on social media and other channels to whip up emotions, invent frustration and cast suspicion through sensationalism.
The will of the majority not to outvote or to dominate, but to find agreement in difficult times has proven unshakable, rallied by the obsession of the obstructive and divided minority to serve as additional motivation for the united majority.
Succeeded, the Land Conference did.
Civil society was also exposed to their own fault lines of division and lack of national purpose. The lines between interest groups and political opposition are invisible. Questions are also being raised about opposition meaning “against” and opposition meaning “alternative”. Opposition can never mean a “tribe”.
Civilised society organisations will have to be more inclusive, cohesive and financially independent to regain their credibility and serve their noble purpose that in many ways is compromised by first boycotting, then participating and never explaining.
The misguided criticism of statements of the Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, and his successor, Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, lose sight of the democratic rights of the two presidents. It also does not recognise that their viewpoints set the course for an inclusive debate in forcing Namibians at the Land Conference to reach consensus away from the opinions of the two revered statesman.
Unity defeated the attempts of creating division between the legendary Nujoma/Pohamba/Geingob troika and rather strengthened the ties of leadership legacy. What Drs. Nujoma and Pohamba did, was what democrats do and what is expected from leaders who have the support and faith in their citizens to be trusted with decisions.
They spoke their mind in a responsible way and reflected the consensus of Namibians.
In nearly all other democracies on the continent it would have been interpreted as serious differences of opinion between presidents, except in a maturing democracy like Namibia, where in fact the differences between presidential opinions strengthen the constitutional rights of all citizens.
Namibia cannot be more different and more sovereign.
The challenge is now for the privileged to give, to better the future of the marginalised and the left behind who resigned themselves to hopelessness and poverty.
Moreover, not only was consensus reached, but close to 160 wide-ranging resolutions were also agreed upon. The consensus is almost as important as the ability of Namibians to identify and agree on so many issues, big and small, that must be addressed.
The government and the president should be concerned about the huge amount of recommendations that the conference was unhappy enough with to list. It demonstrates dissatisfaction and simmering anger over a broad range of issues that could have been solved had communities been better represented by their respective leaders. It shows neglect and a growing divide between leaders and their communities that could lead to a communication gap of credibility.
The five day conference defied the usual opportunists and pessimists and is a motion of confidence in common people that goodwill amongst themselves will always drive common sense, because it is good for the future. Politicians, councillors and officials who abuse this trust should now be presumed as disqualifying themselves, and as self-styled honourables should protect first, and always serve before benefit and out of privilege.
Namibians showed their intent to unite in the most difficult times. They should be supported by responsive and compassionate leaders who must have an instinct to know right from wrong.
And they in turn should support and respect each other.
That is the reality of crossroads.