Highs and lows for 2022

Martin Endjala

As 2022 is closing, its review indicates a mixed back of both positives and negatives and as 2023 looms many are anticipating it to be a better.

Political analyst Henning Melber says there are neither any spectacular nor noteworthy positive or negative events. But a slight recovery from the shocks of the pandemic with ‘business as usual’. Remarking that Namibians have not made many advances in terms of human rights (neither when it comes to reproductive rights such as abortion nor to LGBTI rights) nor the reduction of poverty and other forms of marginalisation.

He however indicates that there were no setbacks in terms of repression or infringement of existing civil liberties. Emphasising that Namibians continue to enjoy the freedom of speech and political controversies remain with rare exceptions peaceful. Neither investigative journalists nor other critics risk their lives or imprisonment. “While this should be taken for granted in a democracy, it is not the case in many other countries, even in the closest neighbourhood.”

Therefore, on the positive highlight, he opines that a vain President feels offended by critical observations of ‘half-baked armchair analysts’ without further consequences for these. Stressing that Swapo will have to dig deep to champion back its lost first love to get into the good books of the masses.

Rundu Constituency Councilor, Paulus Mbangu, is pleased to see seven water boreholes introduced in the constituency, and the water pump initiative by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, Anna Ndahambelela Shiweda on 18 September, 2022.

Another positive highlight is the completion of the Kayengona tarred road, and the donated stationeries by various foundations and individuals, in the beginning of the year to schools, as well the setting up of a network tower with another one commissioned to be put up for the Kawe village (were the oil drilling is taking place) by MTC, with MTC officials said to have already accessed the ground and come next year, it will be set-up.

He, however, indicates that consistent budgetary allocation cut for this year of N$21 million has halted development in the regions, thus emphasising that it needs to be revisited for constituencies to develop.

“Come next year, the budgetary cut of N$21 million must be re-instated in order for constituencies to develop”, Mbangu pleads. But concerned about tenders given to dubious companies, recruiting people when they get the tenders only to hear thereafter that the same employees no longer have jobs. His stance is, therefore, that tenders should be given to companies that are known for their good reputation to safeguard the livelihoods of the people.

Fast-tracking forward, 2022 has seen various political parties butting heads, within or without, a trend that some commentators believe will continue until next year. The increase in social grants announced by President Hage Geingob was also one positive element of 2022.

But one noticeable event is the Swapo Party 7th Congress, which , may for the very first time in the history of the country, if indeed she remains the party’s presidential candidate for the 2024 Presidential and National Assembly elections, see the first female president for the country if the Swapo Party wins the elections.

Factions within parties were very common this year, varying from party to party, particularly those that are seen as contenders for the upcoming elections.

Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah emerged as the Swapo Party Vice President, with incumbent Sophia Shaningwa retaining the Secretary General (SG) position and Uahekua Herungua emerging as the Deputy SG. The Swapo Party President has already announced that the VP incumbent will be their candidate for the 2024 elections.

The Ministry of Health Social and Services (MoHSS), announced the end of the mandatory wearing of masks, seeing also several measures lapsing such as the gathering of people, travelling proof of vaccination, and business operations.Which saw a massive awareness campaign of vaccination across the country. Another talking point is the announcement of the SIM card registration by the Communication Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN), which is already in full swing and will run till next year, with those not registered yet given till 2023 December, although it will be effective as from the 1 January 2023.

In addition, the Ukraine-Russia war, brought about inflation, with Namibia finding itself having to apply stringent measures to sustain its economy, and to ensure that livelihoods were looked after, petrol and diesel went up as well as food, particularly bread and oil.

The Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) gained its nickname the don’t care ministry, as the public felt that the MME was increasing fuel without thinking about the citizens, despite its several public sensitisation attempts. The repo rate was another significant scenario, with the current repo standing at 7,5% basis according to the latest update.

Commentators do believe that 2022 has been an unprecedented year coupled with other global conundrums, and some feel that this was a learning process, and 2023 will be a year to plan and make decisions based on 2022 experiences.

By Observer