By Joshua Razikua Kaumbi, Romeo Shiemo, Herold Stanley Banda
THE creed of the sitting president, since taking office, has always been that of inclusivity, couched in that clarion call of One Namibia, One Nation, which has steered us through the dark days.
Hage Geingob has since 1990 been prioritising the youth agenda and youth issues. As Prime Minister, Dr Geingob is one of very few politicians, still alive, who provided young politicians with an opportunity to serve in government and in various leadership positions.
It is through the President that many young ones climbed the political and administrative ladder. Most of these young people were taken while not in any Swapo structure or when they were still children, who had proven themselves to possess qualities or appeared to have such qualities.
It is also a fact that Dr Geingob is among a few who selected these young people from all corners of our country, and not from his kith and kin, like many other national leaders. Thus, the notion that young people are being sidelined by the current president is neither here nor there, and quite misplaced.
Looking at the composition of the current cabinet, the sitting president has fared exceptionally well in accounting for the racial and ethnic diversity of our nation, a process we nearly abandoned, as we scrambled for resources. This challenge is often created by the youth themselves, by not keeping the door open. After they are empowered they tend to fail to provide opportunities for other youth, or fail to mentor those younger than themselves, but rather create a Green Zone between the elders and half the population of our very youthful nation.
Digging into his past, both distant and immediate, Geingob remains one of the few people who surrounded himself with young blood. He even paid for the tertiary education of many youth leaders, without blowing his own horn. Comrade Charles Siyauya from the Zambezi Region used to inform us at the University of Namibia, that had it not been for then Prime Minister Geingob he would not have been at the university. Many of today’s youth who are in parliament, owe their presence to the sitting President’s patronage and mentorship, just like the Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, discovered the current crop of today’s elders.
During a recent Keetmanshoop Swapo rally, the President’s statement about the generation of the 40-50s seems to have been misinterpreted as being anti-youth.
This interpretation is considerably off the mark.
Objectively analysed, what the president meant was that if one is aged 40 or 50, one’s resume should not have blank pages, in terms of one’s obligation to carryout one’s civic duty, including exercising your right to resist unjust laws. In this resistance, one’s record of participation, particularly in school politics, student politics or other leadership activities of a developmental nature, comes to bear. This conclusion is drawn especially given the example of Gwen Lister, who is the example the president used. Her resume is a reflection of the road she has travelled. The generation born before independence should have an actively associated with the liberation struggle waged Swapo, NANSO, Swanu, CCN and the workers of the time, etcetera. One’s resume ought not to be blank.
There are many activities that those who missed out on the liberation struggle, and our formative years, can champion today, instead of solely blemishing the path we have travelled or comparing our present to yesterday, when most of us were not there.
It is a trite fact that unlike many others, when the president was appointed as the Minister of Trade, he never assumed a vindictive mode, but rather treated the personnel of the said ministry as Namibians, and not as the late Hidipo Hamutenya’s supporters or as hibernators, an which can only be matched by President Pohamba. There is a deliberate attempt to discredit the person of Hage Geingob, without evidence. There is a deliberate attempt at misleading the citizenry of this country about the character of the sitting president. Are these critiques really genuine?
During our first decade as a free nation, when a minister was to touch base with State House, he or she would first enquire from the minister who preceded him, on whether it is the right time to see the Founding President. The well-worn temper of the Founding President was borne from intolerance for incompetence and distractions from the all-important task of nation-building. Vincent Hailulu would best narrate to you the frustration of the second president (Pohamba), when issues of national importance were not handled with care and due diligence. Leaders should be able to take ownership of their departments and be able to operate independently. One is not a leader when you frequent State House, but rather when you can take on your assignment with a sense of purpose, whether the president is around or not, and even when you are in leadership or not. The president should be able to be granted the freedom to bring his vision for the party and the country to fruition, and should be allowed to demand absolute devotion to the task at hand, from those he has entrusted with pulling the national wagon towards a more equitable and prosperous Namibian House for all. Most of us are alive to the behaviour of our fathers and uncles. Your father and uncle would rubbish your advice, just for you to realise later that they in actual fact took your advice. Good parents are not necessarily those who are our friends, but those who toil for the sake of our progress, as a family unit.
Whatever ideas we have, whatever dreams and vision we have, the goal should be to synergise the same with that of the collective, unless that collective has been proven to be prejudicial to our progress as a nation. The legacy of the current generation will end up being covered by mud, if the current President is challenged for the position of Swapo president at the coming congress, and if he is not allowed to carry out his transformational agenda, like the past leaders were allowed to do. It is the duty of all of us, the collective, to ensure that the path we took hitherto is not split into insignificants paths, leading to the fragmentation of the collective. The structures of the party and party elders in the past provided the direction the congress should take, with regard the position of the presidency. One hopes that as time draws near, the same structures will confirm the precedent; the practice we have followed all along. Failure in this regard, at this critical juncture in the history of our country, will create an unwelcome uncertainty that should be bemoaned by all, especially the politburo and party elders. Our legacy will only be secured, if we move in one direction. If Namibia is bigger than individuals, then our respective parties should be bigger than the subjective irritation of individuals.
The programme the president is pursuing derives from the Swapo Manifesto, which we adopted as a collective, just like Vision 2030 and Pohamba’s vision, which was derived from the party manifesto. Our engagement should rather be more on how we can improve our implementation strategies or how the president can inspire proper implementation, by harnessing constructive criticism. The successful implementation of our third administration’s policies will be more useful to the legacy of all our past leaders, and will appeal better to tomorrow’s electorate. We therefore submit that any critique against the person of President Hage Geingob must be based on genuine intentions, rather than on a hidden political, Agenda 2017, which fallaciously believes that a person can even be nominated from the floor at the congress, for the Swapo presidency!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015