Yours Truly Ideologically in last week’s edition took exception and reservation to the notion that 32 years, and 33 years next month, March 21st, that Namibia has been independent and free, may, could, should and must be seen as not long enough for the government to have been able to deliver, especially the basic needs of life in particular to those at the lower end of the socio-economic ladder.
Because such a notion of 33 years not being long enough, as those in power and authority would like to maintain, to deliver on their promises, has not only become repetitive but tautological election after election. Likewise while it has been known from and by one Namibian Head of State and Government to another during the years in question, that each Constitutionally only has a maximum of ten years, that is if returned to ruling after the initial five years, in which to fulfill their promises, it has come to be perceived that the initial five-years term in office nor the ten-year one as having been long enough. Hence the extension of it to ten years. Because very few if any of the country’s presidents since independence can be said to have delivered anything tangible especially even with regard to the basic necessities. Hence the clamouring by the rulers, as much as they have mute on this, pretentious of abiding to the Constitution while deep down they are and have been craving by all indications for a lo
nger term. With some resorting to king making with regard to the next ruler after them. But granting even longer term of ten-years as is Constitutionally, has been proving like a very bad precedent. Because if there’s anything any of the Namibian presidents hitherto has proven during her/his term, is that no term how long would prove long enough for them to deliver on their promises. So that more than anything, the extended term from five year to ten years seems, more than anything else, to have become more a matter of precedent than an exigency and imperative of delivering.
Further, if anything that anyone’s term(s) have also proven, is that no term can be long enough and that for them to deliver they need eternity. The two-terms that the presidents have had this far, starting from essentially and practically three-terms of the founding president, Namibia has no lessons in delivery the country and any other country for that matter can and could learn from. But rather an experience of non-delivery if not an illusion of delivery.
Namibia’s experience is not akin to her. “The human needs of Africa are desperate. Disease as well as hunger and chaos threaten its people..,” wrote Professor Abdoulaye Bathilly in 1991 when Namibia had just obtained independence and was barely three months old. Then most of the African countries had been independent more or less the same years as Namibia has been independent now. Sixty years later or so, the observations by Professor Bathilly is true and cannot be less true today as it was then.
Does it mean Namibia may need another 30 years from now to deliver if only on the basics? Because what Namibia has been and is being called upon till this day is to provide and administer to the basics of, it needs be, only those deserving of the basic necessities and not to all and sundry. Unless those deserving of such are all if not many or most. Be it the case that those deserving and/or in need of basic necessities are many if not most or the majority, and after 30 years for that matter, then Namibia’s case cannot be defined and seen as otherwise but a crisis. Raising the question how and why she has not been able to deliver to the basic needs of the people in 30 years or so? And whether there is a prim facie case, if at all, for more years, and how many for that matter? If she may need another 30 years to do so, what about the African experience ala Professor Bathilly’s observation of countries who after 60 years, are still in a “desperate” situation. What guarantees are there that Namibia after anoth
er 30 years, would be different. Not only this but it also presuppose and fair that these years must be equally for fairness granted the political party ruling currently. The problematic for that matter within the ruling party is not per se of it ruling but during the 30 years or so that it has been in power it has been run by three different people that would reduce the 30 years to essentially ten years for each. Deductively that could not have been enough in view of the seemingly 60 years which may be needed. Because this year Namibia is going to the polls. With a different and another pretender to power at the helm of the party ruling currently, and should it be triumphant at the polls, at the helm of the affairs of the country. How many years should and must the needy give him/her? Or any other likely suitor of any other politically party and/or formation?
Needless to say this is a scenario and a vicious circle those in dire need, which many in Namibia are already in as testified by the number of people in the country dying from hunger, can ill afford. Thus, simply, anyone coming to power cannot, should not and must no expect those in dire need to remain in suspension endlessly, like it seems the case in Namibia since independence, before their urgent and basic needs are attended to. Not when and while the country is able, how meagre and/or hard pressed her resources, can be prioritised and diverted towards them. Because the problem in Namibia is not so much a lack of resources but their mismanagement and misappropriation so that they are not applied and prioritised for essential services for those in real need.