National News

Individuals must never be judge, jury and executioner

The recent comments made by the former president of Botswana, Ian Khama, justifying Botswana's shoot-to-kill policies reflect his callous disregard for the rule of law. The United Nations, so quick to talk about sanctioning nations that habitually violate human rights, is silent on the despotic acts by the Botswanan Defense Force (BDF). The tragic loss of life of the four Namibians is a wake-up call about what has been quietly going on for years. Botswana is a lawless nation and should not be allowed to continue its affairs as if they are not accountable for their actions. No country must…
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Talk must now turn to action

It is easy to sit on the sidelines and speak loudly about what is wrong. It costs nothing to loudly and rudely challenge those with power and responsibility when you have neither. With the success of the opposing parties and some independent candidates in certain areas, 2021 means the time for populist promises and brazen talking is over. To those enjoyed success at the polls: It is you in the hot seat now. Others will take your former chair from the sidelines and snipe, gripe and complain about you. Let us hope you have a thick skin. Your vociferous talk…
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Accept reality and strategize accordingly

The ruling party did not perform at last week’s polls as it may have expected. Swapo did not ‘lose’. It still maintains a simple majority, though ground was lost. There is no need for panic within the party faithful. The short-sighted comments by party spokesperson Hilma Nicanor that accuses ‘outside’ forces of trying to unseat the ruling party are not in line with the dignity of the mighty Swapo Party. There is a time to fight hard for the hearts and minds of the people and there is a time to accept reality and strategize accordingly based on the outcomes.…
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The need for housing cannot wait

As we wait for the confirmed election results, there are consistent nightmare problems in Namibia that must not be eclipsed. The need for affordable and decent housing cannot wait. In Walvis Bay, a consortium of fishing companies began constructing accommodation for 300 of their employees. Over N$65 million is in the pot for costs. This is an example of what must happen all over the country. Government and business must push everything to the back of the line – housing must be the #1 focus in 2021. This consortium of fishing companies gets a nod of approval for their housing…
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As expected, sign-in books are a waste of time

Earlier in the state of emergency over the pandemic, we did an editorial stating that the sign-in mandate before entering shops or businesses as a method to assist in pandemic tracing efforts was a complete waste of time and energy. Namibia has neither the resources nor capacity for metadata processing. Now, recent reports in the Namibian newspaper headlines today force us to declare: “We told you so.” There is no long term, consistent ‘will’ to trace people by using those books. Those collecting the data are bored with the entire exercise. Those forced to sign-in, see it as time-wasting joke.…
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Barking at the wrong threat

There is negative shade flying all over about a recent N$530 tender bid won by a Chinese company to construct the road from Tses to Gochas. People are barking at the wrong threat. Rather, we need to sound the alarm because Namibia still does not possess the technical expertise to be substantive practical, logistical and development partner on major infrastructure projects in our own country. That is a real threat to our sovereignty and we are quiet. We have been inviting the world in to build things for us before independence and after. We happily remain ignorant about how to…
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Going too far hurts credibility

The claims by the vibrant politician Bernadus Swartbooi that Swapo wants to kill him are over-the-top and challenge his credibility. Many in Namibia are depending on new firebrand politicians, including Swartbooi, to challenge sacred cows. People want them to question authority, give voice to the marginalized, and energize younger people. They are expected to force political debate into the 21st century, put the spotlight on those suffering in silence, and fearlessly call out corruption. But, statements from the Trump School of Demagoguery and Lunacy reflect poorly on the politicians who make them. Swartbooi’s ravings with no evidence or proof whatsoever…
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Freedom of speech is absolute

State House Press Secretary Alfredo Hengari got it wrong when he decried legal plans for citizens to demonstrate against the killing of Namibians by the Botswana Defence Force (BDF). The best course of action for government officials regarding citizens expressing their constitutional right to demonstrate and express their opinions (following all regulations), was to say nothing. During an election campaign and any other time, the president should not be exposed in such a way. The statements articulated on this issue make Hage Geingob look as if he wants people to be silent just because he says so. The statements came…
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The unseen is more dangerous

Over 2,000 previously registered students in the Ohangwena region did not return to school as classes reopened after the state of emergency. There is a wide range of reasons for this. But, the bottom line is that 2,000 more young people have their futures placed in jeopardy. They and any children they have are in line for grinding, cyclical, generational poverty. This is the kind of issue that should be driving the 2020 regional elections and should inspire budgets of every relevant ministry. Often it is the unseen threat that is more dangerous. If we see a problem coming, we…
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Swapo must update its campaign rhetoric

The spate of strange and inappropriate comments from Swapo speakers on the campaign trail is embarrassing. The crowds listening to high public officials pontificate about their voting choices at the end of this month are not the same crowds that were listening to Swapo heroes in 1989. Swapo speakers must update themselves and not be so out of date. Most of those in the crowds hearing these odd speeches were in kindergarten or not even born when such virulent, ‘anyone-not Swapo-is-an-enemy’ speeches were relevant. People in the voting mainstream don’t think like that anymore after 30 years of independence. The…
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