AN idea of developing scientific cooperation between Namibia and the United States is perfect itself. But particular bilateral projects in this area need to be valued carefully before approval and implementation. This applies to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) proposal to establish a three-year ‘ORACLES’ mission at Walvis Bay. To begin with the Namibian Government had to pay attention to safety and security of its people. It is quite possible that the presence of a sizeable number of the US personnel and its aircrafts at the Walvis Bay International Airport will attract the attention of international terrorist groups with their intention to attack the Americans. These attacks can lead to numerous victims among innocent local citizens and destruction of the costly infrastructure of the just renovated airport. It is worth to recall in this connection a double attack against the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam in 1998 in which hundreds of Africans were injured and killed. For such a scenario in Namibia (save us, God) is there special agreement between our two Governments? For instance, is NASA prepared to pay compensations to relatives of victims of terrorist attacks and to finance restoration of the airport?
In addition it should be noted that Namibia will suffer significant economic losses, especially when the country is already trapped in a large budget deficit. These losses would be as a result of the outflow of foreign tourists, which, of cause, would be scared by terrorist acts. This has happened to Kenya where a number of foreign tourists are constantly declining since 2011 when it started military operation ‘Linda Nchi’ against Al-Shabaab militants in neighbouring Somalia. And again, is the USA obliged to compensate Namibia these losses?
Another concern is related to the fact that the NASA mission is established in close proximity to our national key points such as the port of Walvis Bay, a planned strategic fuel reservoirs and military establishments at the airport. Why is our Government so careless about protecting important state secrets?
Furthermore, the deployment of NASA ‘ORACLES’ mission is already construed in some corners of the Southern Africa and beyond as AFRICOM deployment in Namibia in defiance of SADC protocol of not accepting US troops’ deployment in the region. This opinion has been formed in view of the fact that NASA uses U2 reconnaissance aircrafts piloted by the former (or current?) officers of the US air force. It is also believed that there are a lot of American militaries among the project’s personnel who are guarding NASA laboratory in Walvis Bay.
Moreover, it is said that the current Namibian regime has intention for political rapprochement with the United States of America. If so, then our authorities have very short historical memory. They forget, after just 26 years, that Washington has been of wide support of apartheid regime, the regime with which we fought to liberate our country.
During that fight a lot of our people lost their lives. On the other hand our Government consists of a lot of former fighters against apartheid and it is unbelievable that they are among supporters of the mentioned new trend in the international politics of Namibia. The question is why are they keeping silent?
Bearing all this in mind it seems that the decision on NASA ‘ORACLES’ project has been made by Namibian authorities hastily and thoughtlessly. This decision is wrong and it should be revised and disapproved because it is not in Namibia’s strategic interests, it can undermine national economy and our county’s image in the sub region and international arena.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015