THE unfolding seismic events in South Africa, regarding allegations of a shadow State that has usurped the power of the African National Congress (ANC), and is centred around President Jacob Zuma and his cronies, should be cause for more than just a little bit of concern in Namibia.
The allegations in the neighbouring State include that there is a parallel government, which is giving instructions to Cabinet ministers and heads of parastatals and their boards, to award billions of rands in contracts to an Indian family, the Guptas. The term ‘State capture’ has become part and parcel of South Africa’s vocabulary.
At the centre of this network is allegedly Zuma, who has used his power to evade accountability, and even shuffles his Cabinet at the behest of this family.
This past weekend, he again survived an attempt by ANC National Executive Committee members to have him removed as Head of State, while his popularity ratings plummet and a poll suggests that 62 percent of ANC members disapprove of his presidency. Under the guise of so-called radical economic transformation, treasury is being robbed blind, and all the accompanying woes of sovereign credit ratings downgrades and the like are being felt in neighbouring Namibia and the rest of the region.
Failed attempts to capture our State, by a few political cronies, disguised as businessmen, indicate that Namibia has survived such heinous attempts by some greedy individuals. But unfortunately their scramble for fiscus and their ransacking behaviour has managed to bring the Swapo Party into a quagmire, because of desperate attempts to remove the sitting president.
But what is our state of capture? And why do we not see broad-based economic transformation in Namibia? Why is it that only a few politically connected individuals seem to be raking in massive State contracts, and crippling the economy, while the poorest of the poor continue to suffer and languish in poverty? Deviously disguised, ahead of the upcoming Swapo Congress, are efforts of this elite clique to retain their places at the State feeding trough.
Now that the current administration has put in place a new Central Procurement Board and has actively targeted those accused of corruption, suddenly there is a purported crisis of leadership in Swapo.
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein ought to prove his resilience against attempts by Namibia’s pseudo-Guptas, in collusion with willing State officials, to loot and plunder treasury. Schlettwein should not divert his bold efforts to protect the country’s fiscus and bring these individuals to book. A cursory look at the political cliques that are emerging can confirm to any right-thinking Namibian that they have coalesced around the protection of their wealth accumulation, which is taking place at the expense of broad-based sharing. However, the voices of reason are slowly emerging, especially from those who see that business interests are at the core of the anti-government brigade, because their access to tenders is under threat.
Former Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, spoke this week about how party membership is being used by some to access State power, in order to enrich themselves.
“Some come into Swapo because they want employment, some come to Swapo because they want tenders, some come to Swapo because they want some favours, and some come to Swapo because it’s fashionable, and all that. “It’s not supposed to be like that. You should come to Swapo because it’s determined to achieve certain objectives to whose values you subscribe to. The tension you see in Swapo is because we don’t have common values,” Angula said.
Speaking at a Workers’ Day commemoration at Eenhana, President Hage Geingob was adamant that inclusivity equals harmony and peace, while exclusivity spells discord and conflict. “Twenty-seven years after independence, we can no longer tolerate to live in a Namibia where the minority own all the means of production and the wealth, while the majority continue to languish in poverty,” said Geingob. He further stated that he does not support get-rich-quick schemes and the proliferation of black billionaires, at the expense of the majority of the working-class Namibians. Perhaps this has succinctly opened a window about what is really happening in Swapo, given that the minority who have benefited, and continue to benefit, feel that their cake is going to be grabbed and shared with the majority.
Far from being immune to State capture, Namibia has been experiencing it for years, to the detriment of the poor and vulnerable.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015