Daily Observer

It is not your N$750

When the emergency income grant (EIG) of N$750 was announced, we applauded the idea. At the same time, we raised concerns about how the program would be packaged and rolled-out to the public. The current wave of public gripes about the grant seems to reflect that indeed, there is major misunderstanding about what the EIG was meant to be. Expectations were raised that cannot be met. Promises of ‘free money for all’ to momentarily deflate rising fear and anger amongst low-income citizens, could backfire. When loftily-announced pledges (like fishing jobs for all who were retrenched due to Fishrot) fall flat,…
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Is the cure worse than the disease?

We remain committed to following government rules regarding the multi-stage lockdown. However, we feel obliged to ask the question for debate: Are our cures/prevention remedies for the pandemic worse than the disease itself? The latest articles and commentary seem to agree that this virus will never ‘go away’. It will be in our world always until there is a vaccine or cure. Shall we stay in a state of emergency forever? With rich countries ready to pay for the vaccine or cure, big pharma (global drug companies) is moving like Usain Bolt with research and testing. A treatment/cure/vaccine will now…
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City of Windhoek or Huawei City?

The decision about 5G technology in Windhoek in order to allow the city council to create what will be effectively, another an SOE is alarming. A quasi-SOE jointly owned by the City of Windhoek (CoW) and Huawei will supposedly run a fast, state-of-the-art internet ‘system’ conceived, financed, installed and operated by the Chinese. This is supposed to be a good thing for Windhoek. We disagree. First off, Huawei has been blocked from installing its high-tech internet infrastructure in the United States because there are concerns of Chinese control and access to national concerns. Also, THEY will have the on/off switch…
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Labour issue in court case signals doom

In general, we tend to support the lawsuit by several companies challenging the government. The cherry-picking of existing national labour laws, will destroy their businesses. Other laws that could overlap this situation are being side-stepped. The precedent is frightening. Others will credibly argue that the prevention of mass terminations and precipitously firing thousands of workers during a state of emergency is not a political agenda, but a national security consideration. At worst, it is a humanitarian imperative. The courts will have their hands full sorting the matter. Many are watching this ruling. This decision could break the Namibian economy, either…
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If you need help, ask for it

Namibia faces a serious problem of re-paying the Eurobonds that will come due in October 2021. The time for outside professional, experienced professionals to address the problem has come. This cannot be done on the cheap. We are loathed to make this admission. We have always criticized government ministries about their dependence on foreign consultants. Since independence, Namibia has spent hundreds of millions in hard currency for consultants. Ministries have paid consultants to do their jobs for them over 30 years. Consultants contracted for a month to help write one document, were given every assignment under the sun. Consultants paid…
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The meal has been eaten; the bill must be paid

The real challenge the president faces is not cancelling car purchases or termination of special advisors to regional governors, but how the Eurobonds taken in US dollar currency will be re-paid on time. The US$500 million bond taken out in 2011 is due in October 2021. That means nearly N$9.3 billion will be payable to those holding the bonds in about 17 months. These monies borrowed during the presidency of Hifikepunye Pohamba have long since been spent. The meal has been eaten, now the waiter is hovering near the Namibian table with the portable swipe machine ready, watching us. The…
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Cabinet conflict of interest under review

We are encouraged to read that cabinet members with conflicts of interest regarding the fisheries issue on the agenda had to step out. What concerns us is that such an action is considered new. This should have been the case from the start. A conflict of interest is “a situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity and where your separate duties to act in the best interests of two or more clients in the same or a related matter conflict.” Cabinet must always act ethically…
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The selfish rich and middle classes

Those who eat regularly, have some income, and a safe, warm place to sleep need to stop shouting so loud. Your noise is drowning out the screams from those who have nothing. These are challenging times and all of us must come down a notch or two. The selfish rich and middle classes, need a wake-up call. Someone who never has bread does not worry about not having bread. But, the person used to eating bread everyday feels bereft they miss bread for only one day out of seven. We must be careful about shifting limited resources to appease the…
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‘Namibianize’ Namibia

Most Namibians love their country and do not divide their loyalty by ethnic, racial or tribal segments. They are proud Namibians. This is no less the case for us. But, when the members of boards, holders of high office and certain government job appointments, are only people from the Oshiwambo-speaking ethnic group, the playing field is uneven. This is a problem. Those responsible for this problem know that giving jobs or appointments based on tribal origin is unfair (and illegal). But, there is an unspoken arrogant response in the air, “We’ve done this and there is nothing you can do…
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The price of not knowing why

Our educational system teaches students to ‘do’ but not to think. Beneficiaries of apartheid and colonialism loved this. Thinking people will quickly and easily perceive weaknesses and attack strategically. After independence, in most public schools, that same back-handed educational trend continued. The reason changed. The priority was increasing higher literacy statistics and ‘grades.' The government did not want to slog up the hard road of educating teachers and teaching students critical thinking. In this pandemic, we now pay the price for this. We ask people to wear masks, but do not help them to understand why. That is the reason…
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