WE have heard enough of the reasons from Government representatives and the pro-below-inflation sympathisers as to why 8% should not be given, ranging from:
1. Government has “to manage the public service in an affordable manner especially in times like these when we are faced by drought, food shortages, hunger, poverty and many other calamities”,
2. “…the examination session will be disrupted and our learners will be traumatised psychologically, and further endure irreversible disadvantages”,
3. “No work no pay policy will apply”.
Can we be given also the side effects of giving the teachers 5% whether they like it or not? Can we be told about the negative impact, of ‘no work, no pay’ or deductions, on learners and country; looking at how much tax teachers bring into State coffers? The ‘divide-and-rule’ tactic of labelling those who prefer 8% as bad teachers and those assisting Government to stick to its position as good teachers must not be allowed to stand.
School principals are themselves having their own small battle with Government when they instructed a private lawyer to take Government to court because they are not given equitable benefits like car allowance and all. They can hardly be used to put pressure on ordinary teachers as they will likely have a face-off with Inspectors of Education.
Regional directors of education have no direct special relationship with teachers and it will be very difficult to tell them what to do during this critical time. They are seen as part of the employer.
A Government must be seen as a ‘blesser’ to the employees. And Government that fails to provide the basic ‘sanitary and toiletry’ materials, is not worth the ‘blessee’ it wants to claim possession of.
Unless if our politicians only found politics boring and they missed ‘action’, otherwise they could have found a solution already. Now that the campaign for 5% (Government) and for 8% (unions) has started, I just hope, in the absence of the role of the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), the set national ‘Code of Conduct’ will be observed as no State funds will be committed to such activities while we tell the world that ‘there is no money’ for un-urgent ‘services’. Threats or intimidation of ‘if you vote for 8%, no pay for you’ must avoided at all costs. The issue is still within the ambit of the rule of law and Government must not be tempted to be provocative or turn into unlawful or confusing tactics. Law and rules must not only be observed when they are on ones’ side.
What can the Government do?
1. Reduce tax deductions from teachers by 5% or 10%. Yes! That can be a mitigating factor when one’s beloved country is really faced with a ‘state of emergency’.
2. Put on hold the habit of buying new furniture, new fleet of cars, flowers, un-urgent constructions, including the new Parliament mansion, new OPM complex, new airport and others. The amendment on the budget can be tabled and money can be re-allocated to education.
3. Reduce the salary of well-paid politicians by 5% to 25% and put a moratorium on ‘entertainment benefits’ of ministers and other top officials as well as ‘Subsistence and Travelling’ and Travel (S&Ts) allowances. Yes! Solidarity Reduction for ‘Poverty Reduction’. That can only give taste and meaning to the ‘spirit of Harambee’ they keep telling the poor and marginalised citizens.
Parents and guardians in the end will realise that if anything bad happens to the education of their children, it is Government to blame. The strike will be instituted only if Government rejects the democratic voice (vote) and available options. If the teachers vote for 5%, then ‘Hallelujah!’ – Government and Nantu-TUN must just respect that! If the teachers vote for 8%, the Government must eat humble pie, concede defeat and respect the outcome and comply! There is no voting for a strike! A strike is a consequence of not accepting the outcome of election. No strike will take place if Government respects the election results. The politicians always tell competing political parties ‘to respect the will of the people’.
Therefore, Nantu, TUN and Government must allow the election to be free, fair and credible. No bullying tactics! Teachers are professional and mature people. And the outcome must be respected by all for the sake of the Namibian children; all are now claiming to have at heart.
In fact, Government has technically threatened to abandon the conciliation process it has committed itself on. The process started with the Labour Commission’s ‘negotiations’ that were postponed many times as per Government team request; Nantu team was so humble that it did not chicken out due to a frustrated process.
Worse still, a day before, the Office of the Prime Minister issued a press statement pre-empting the conclusion of a conciliation process on 22 August 2016. After a certificate of ‘unresolved dispute’ was issued, what should follow is voting. Making statements to show your arrogated stance is a clear sign of going into a settlement in bad faith!
I know our politicians are not telling the world that Namibia is technically bankrupt. Or are they?
Shitefa sha Mvula
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015