Daily Observer

We must live with COVID …but we must not pretend it is gone

The president’s recently announced steps to further re-open Namibia as a country, society and economy are welcome. The year 2020 has been an unprecedented financial disaster for Namibia as a whole. We all have taken a major hit. Governments had to respond in the way that science and their best guesses dictated; they are doing their best. The danger with reported deaths and recorded new infections decreasing is that people think COVID is ‘over.’ People think that life can go back to the way it was before the outbreak. We must never lie to ourselves. Whatever was happening ‘before’ is…
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The 800 pound gorilla in the room

There is no doubt that Minister of Finance Iipumbu Shiimi has to drink from the dual poisoned chalices of taking on the Finance portfolio in the middle of a severe economic recession and then COVID-19. The 800-pound gorilla in the room is that after the smoke clears, there remains a budget deficit of N$17 billion. How will we fill that gap? The mid-year budget review announced yesterday is, at the end of the day, only a plan; it is not money in the bank. It declares what the government should earn and what it will spend in a particular period…
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Who cares for the children?…we must change our culture and traditions

The tragic story of baby Nangula Haikali, her parents, grandmother, aunt and neighbours that knew the child was having a ‘difficult time’, raises disturbing questions. According to reports, a vulnerable baby girl was mistreated, unloved, and murdered bit by bit. Those arrested for the horrific deed are the same people who should have been her first nurturers. But, society must not only point a finger at the two women accused and forget about this issue. The problem is deeper than that. It is a tradition here in Namibia to leave babies and young children with elderly relatives in villages or…
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Geingob should not apologize…Henk must not re-write history

The comments made on the campaign trail by President Geingob about white voters who should be grateful to Swapo are typical campaign rhetoric. There is nothing there to get hot-and-bothered about. There is more noise about Geingob’s comments than proposals to mitigate the economic disaster on Namibia’s doorstep. Let us hear the opposition party’s viable plans to uplift the economy – that is how to win votes. It is the response by the faded politician Henk Mudge regarding Geingob’s comments that should engender an apology. Henk claims that whites do not have to thank Swapo for the country being peace-loving…
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Ndaitwah’s suppression of CSE is contradictory

[et_pb_section][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text] Over the decades of her public service, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation grew to prominence as a staunch advocate of women’s rights. We find the new position of Nandi-Ndaitwah against comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), a total contradiction to her erstwhile claim to fame as an advocate for women. Sexuality education for young girls and women is the first step towards their empowerment. Women must make choices about their bodies and their futures. We fail to see a logical reason for Namibia’s #1 international women empowerment advocate to shift gears and withdraw…
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Joubert has a point

Gondwana, a respected tourism group, in Namibia is first among equals in the tourism industry for empowerment, training and skills transfer, promotions on the basis of performance and a wildlife/conservation focus that is important to Namibia. The outspoken CEO of the Gondwana Collection Group, Gys Joubert sent a letter to the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres. He is fired up about World Health Organization protocols and their vastly negative impact in Namibia. The angered CEO says he is tired and battle weary of having to fight for his 1,102 employees and their jobs and for the financial viability…
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Bullying is normal in Namibia

A 14-year-old boy just killed a 15-year-old boy who, reports claim, was bullying him. Murder and violence can never be excused, but it must be understood with an eye towards curbing similar actions in the future. When anyone gets pushed to their breaking point, a reaction will result. And yet, most people push that truth away. Most Namibians do not correctly label bullying. They make excuses for brutality and ill-treatment. The battle against the bullies must start at home. As of now, in Namibia, bullying is normal. According to www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org, bullying is defined as when someone is being hurt either…
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Dealing with asylum seekers in the new normal

The recent arrival of more than 50 refugees from the DRC and Burundi to Katima Mulilo raises questions during a pandemic. What is our adjusted policy to deal with untested, non-quarantined asylum seekers that rock up? As much as Namibia is noble for welcoming Africans running for their lives from violence in their home countries, the government’s first obligation is the safety and security of its own people. The influx of untested people that lack the capacity to follow national protective measures (no masks, no social spacing, and no handwashing) carries a risk for Namibians. Can we be our brother…
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Boys with toys are dangerous

When boys have toys, they use them whether it is necessary or not. People manhandled, gassed, beaten and arrested over the weekend at a march in Windhoek were victims of police boys with their new toys trying to be macho. These poorly trained law enforcement officers had no idea how to de-escalate a complicated volatile situation. The protests of mostly young women and minors against Gender Based Violence (GBV) could have been managed in many different ways, but the officers involved preferred using their toys. And, of course, they made a mess of it. We have the suspicion that the…
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Remove the crutch of foreign consultants

There is nothing inherently wrong with hiring qualified foreign consultants for a specific task. The problem is that the country surrenders to these consultants rather than inculcate the skills. We do not ensure that our own people learn what is being done by consultants so that we need not import the same skills set repeatedly. Until we commit to using foreign skills only as a tool to strengthen the country, rather than a crutch to weaken it, this will be a controversial issue. This issue is not new; many have been complaining about Namibian dependence on foreign skills for decades.…
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