By Job Shipululo Amupanda
I have learned the concept of representation during my early studies of political science. I not only learned about its conceptual definition but also operational definition. Professor Andre du Pisani, one of the political scientists that had inspired me since high school, taught me other concepts that relate and should accompany the understanding and practice of representation. One of these is the principles of justice, justice understood as fairness – matters of equity and inequality.
I was then able to learn, during my early years of my academic life, to treat equal cases equally and unequal cases in proportion to their inequality. For example, it can be understood that given our colonial past and indeed the patriarchal nature of our society, the inclusion of women in decision making structures can be understood as dealing with the question of inequality – the state of men and women as unequal cases. The principles of justice, as discussed in this context, do not end at the distinction of men and women as unequal subjects; it goes on to deal with the subjects previously excluded whose inequality is addressed. In this context, political scientists are concerned with the inequality that exists within the equal cases; the question of equity.
When the above is considered, it is to be understood that although women as a whole were victims of colonialism and patriarchy, white women were more privileged compared to black women. Indeed, women from African monarchies were privileged than commoners. In short, I have long learned that representation should not be starved of principles of justice, justice as fairness, treating equal cases equally and unequal cases in proportion to their inequality. Without an apt comprehension of the above, it is doubtful if one can represent a given collectively effectively.
There is, however, one aspect of representation that is often ignored by those representing the collective in their trinity of responsibility consisting of (1) to represent the collective interest against harm from outsiders, (2) to represent the collective interest from harm from the members of the collective and (3) to represent the collective through behavioural correction of members of the collective. At most, one finds that those charged with the representation responsibility solely concern themselves with the two aspects of trinity of responsibility often ignoring the third. On the second aspect, they often seek to punish members of the collective who go astray (real or perceived) instead of behavioural correction. This approach, in any case, is often arrested by factionalism and kinship.
Punishment is selective and targeted instead of being meted out to achieve behavioural correction. Mao Zedong was appalled by this tendency characterising it, on 07 September 2016, as a form of liberalism; a Philistine attitude that brings about degeneration. He writes; “Liberalism manifests itself in various ways. To let things slide for the sake of peace and friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled argument because he is an old acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. Or to touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is that both the organisation and the individual are harmed. This is one type of liberalism…To hear incorrect views without rebutting them and even to hear counter-revolutionary remarks without reporting them, but instead to take them calmly as if nothing had happened. This is a sixth type. “
Indeed, we must not always seek to punish but correct erroneous perspectives of the members of the collective be it our acquaintance, a fellow townsman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one, an old colleague or old subordinate. When we see that a wrong culture of entitlement has captured the youth, those that are charged or found themselves with the responsibility of representation, whether directly or indirectly, must quickly ascend to the pedestal and provide clarity on this matter. Namibia has long battled this culture of entitlement. The generation that freed our country from colonialism and apartheid have given itself a license to loot state resources on account that they liberated our country. They steal state resources and get away with it on the same account.
Their offspring are either seen grabbing all opportunities or escaping the wrath of the law because of political connections. Of the many names that come to mind Kaupumhote Pohamba and Ndapanda Pohamba (all children of former president Hifikepunye Pohamba) one being a darling of state tenders while the other scooped the all-expense paid Chinese scholarship – and Phillipine Angula and Vita Angula (all children of politician Helmut Angula) one getting diamonds from Government while the other gets criminal charges withdrawn, are immediate examples. This crisis has been going on for a long time to a point where it is now normalised.
What is worse, being the main concern of this column today, is when this culture captures the youth. Because the youth learn from the best, a tendency has now emerged where youth expect others to sacrifice and work for their benefit while they relax and reap the benefits. It is for this reason that as activists we deal harshly with armchair youths who want things done for them instead of standing up and sacrifice like others. As activists of the Affirmative Repositioning movement we have become subject of abuse by clowns who think that we exist to fight for them 24hours. It is as if we are their 24hours brothel providing them with endless orgasm.
It has become a norm for clowns to invade our private spaces, say when we are discussing sport, and retort; “focus on land.” We are unapologetic in dismissing these clowns and directing them to go hang. Our struggle has no room for armchair and comfortable clowns who do not want to stand up for themselves yet wants to reap benefits. We will fight for those that are willing and ready to be liberated. When we deal harshly with these youths, it is not because we seek to liquidate and quarantine them or that we have given up on them; we deal harshly with them so that they can self-correct or we assist in correcting their erroneous perspective as per the trinity of responsibility stated earlier. This is what we have to do when the entitlement culture captures the youth.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015