Apostle Marson Sharpley
LIFE is about choices, and we find ourselves individually or collectively where we are, because of the choices we made.
No matter who or what influences us, at the end of the day, the one required to make the choice has to make it and bear the consequences.
We all endeavour to make the best and right choices, whether on a personal or a public level.
It is even more pressure to make these choices when you are a public figure or a leader in whatever form, or at whatever level, because they affect other people as well.
I have observed that there is heightened anxiety in people lately, mostly because of the desire to acquire material belongings, and to live a comfortable life.
The emphasis seems to have shifted from qualitative to quantitative, where being driven by selfish greed is seen as better.
This has resulted in people no longer caring for each other, and having a sense of God-given natural love. Instead, we see strife and conflict, as well as divisions among groups of people, who should in fact be exuding unity.
I wonder sometimes, even though I see the answer: Did it really have to take the hateful, ruthlessness of apartheid and colonialism, characterised and driven by detention without trial, institutional racism, torture, disappearances, murder and long prison terms, to make us unite as a people organised in our revolutionary organisations, with one purpose in mind, being the restoration of our human dignity through the attainment of political freedom through universal suffrage?
It seems we negotiated our political freedom very well.
However, was it perhaps at the expense of economic freedom, or were we so eager to gain political freedom, that we neglected to fully apply our minds to what was on the table and at stake economically?
I say this in the light of the following: The ruthless battle between people for positions and power seem to know no boundaries, and is escalating by the day.
I see us doing and approaching things very contrary to the way we used to do them, and the way we were trained to do them during our struggle for freedom.
I see conflict and strife spreading like cancer among people, who should be holding hands in unity and building the nation.
The unprecedented disrespect and vilification of our leaders, even elders in our midst, is truly worrying, especially towards our President, Vice-President, the Founding Father and the former President.
We see some people going around and claiming to be fighting for one of the three statesmen and yet destroying their legacies in the process.
The President and his peers are seasoned revolutionaries, diplomats and politicians, whom we can trust and emulate in the way they practice Realpolitik, using wit and savvy.
Please help me here, if I am missing something. I would think that they would instead prefer to see us, as their followers, sons and daughters, holding hands and striving for peace and harmony through unity and building the nation.
We have to be able to sit around the table and iron out our differences, and where we are unable to reach amicable solutions or agreements, part ways in peace, instead of calling press conferences and decrying what has befallen us, and blaming others for the wrong decisions we took.
What happened to the days when, even if people differed, dignity and the decorum of respectability reigned?
What happened to the days when we were transparent with each other and accountable at all times? What happened?
I think I might know the answer to the questions I have put above: Money happened, materialism happened and positions happened. It has all happened at the expense of giving up the way we used to treat each other, and the way we did things respectfully.
Were we really supposed to reach a stage where we indulge in the most demeaning strife and conflict, at times as though we lack political and even intellectual depth?
Has one’s ability to buy loyalty, friendship and votes become greater than the ability to love, respect and celebrate each other?
Has the war for positions become more important than improving one’s ability to perform in that position? Are we really supposed to accept what seem to be systemic corrupt practices, in both the public and private sectors, as the norm for our country? Are we supposed to allow connected people to close the rest of us out of transacting business in this country, because we refuse to ‘okay the game’?
The escalating aggression and conflict between us for political and high public office in our society is directly linked to business transactions and the good life. It has absolutely nothing to do with the advancement and betterment of the lives of the poor, voiceless masses of Namibia. It all has to do with unpatriotic, selfish greed. This is definitely, I believe, not what this was and it is supposed to be about. Most definitely not!
The question is: Who is supposed to remind us and educate us to be more humanitarian? Who is supposed to have a heart, even in business dealings or competing for positions, if not ourselves?
I witness people who have little or no political understanding or experience wanting to hold serious political and even diplomatic positions. Have our standards dropped or are we dealing with some delusional characters, or is it as a result of them being aware of others, who do not have the capacity, sitting in positions they do not deserve? What is it?
Are we living the life of a society described by George Orwell in his book Animal Farm, where through entitlement, others see themselves more equal than others? When you look at the boards of directors of SOEs, the awarding of lucrative tenders, the signing of deals with SOEs, it’s the same people over and over again. When do other deserving and capable nationals get a chance to also transact business in the Namibian House?
It is this entitlement that is one of the issues fuelling conflict in the country, because it now spills over into these same people feeling that they are entitled to hold high political office, at the expense of cadres who have solid political track records. And this is one of the main reasons that there is an increase in conflict between people, who should instead be united.
The comedy of this sociological tragedy, which is playing out in front of our very eyes, is that we all have the propensity to be ruthless, corrupt and selfishly greedy, but because we were well-trained, and scholars of human behaviour, and are dedicated to building a respectable nation State, by respecting and preserving the legacy of our leaders, we stand down and we mark time, as we march to the rhythm and the beat of transparency and accountability.
As much as we have to deal with detractors and political or business opponents, we should not be conflict carriers. Conflict carriers are people who thrive on conflict, and if they do not find conflict they manufacture it. There are many demonic spirits that generate conflict and they include a Saul spirit, the big brother syndrome and the spirit of rebellion, also referred to as witchcraft in the Bible. It was Bob Marley, who philosophically sang; “If you get down and you quarrel every day, you’re saying prayers to the devil, I say. Why not help one another along the way, to make it much easier.”
Our continent, Africa, has been dogged by conflict for decades now and it all started small, but because it was not checked, it escalated into outright civil war. Having served in the UN Fourth Committee that dealt with decolonisation in the latter part of the 1990s, and having to link up with the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, I and many others from our continent came to know the painful collateral damage of conflict and strife, and believe me, it’s not something to play with.
We need the voices of reason to become louder in government, the church, civil society, and especially political arena, before it is too late, and we find our nation engulfed in political violence.
Anything left to itself will lead to chaos and mayhem. We have to address the issue of strife, conflict and political intrigue head-on. Competition is good, it’s healthy and powerful for advancement and development, but it must not lead to hatred, strife and conflict, to the point where comrades, who should be working together, start working against each other. It is a strong ideological base and foundation that informs us and guides us to exude sobriety, no matter what.
Intra-fighting on party political level is not healthy and should not be condoned, fuelled or encouraged, no matter what is at stake, because it will only serve to demean and undermine the integrity of the party and society at large.
We must at all times remain vigilant and not entertain gossip, either from word of mouth or the media. There are constant principles in political and diplomatic engagement that are the pillars of such activity, no matter the era in which they are practiced.
Finally, let us strive to cultivate and develop open, powerfully robust debate, with minimum and managed conflict and intrigue, as the hallmark of such engagements.
I still adhere to and believe in One Namibia, One Nation.
God bless us all!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015