Workers a benign folk without a good shepherd

Kae Matundu Tjiparuro

It has been becoming all along obvious and apparent that workers in Namibia are a benign folk but without a good shepherd, if they still have any shepherd at all.

Despite their vanguard role during the liberation struggle, a struggle more about civil and political rights, as predominantly manifested in a free and independent Namibia, rather than being about bread and butter issues, where and in which the rights of workers remain neglected and relegated to the backburner of a free and independent Namibia’s political agenda, including the legislative agenda.

As the legislative timetable of the Namibian National Assembly manifests and testifies in the bills to be tabled and processed into the august house this year. “Enhancing Namibia’s Parliamentary Democracy Post COVID-19”. This a pointer to Namibia’s infatuation with political rights. To be precise more the rights of the political elite than the rights of the masses, especially the workers despite the notion of all being equal before the law and the Constitution that should speak in equal measure to guaranteeing the rights and freedoms of all citizens and residents.

High Court Amendment Bill [Review of Law on Sale of Primary Home of Debtors], Magistrate Court Amendment Bill [Review of Law on Sale of Primary Home of Debtors], Divorce Bill, Child Justice Bill, Ombudsman Bill, Marriage Bill, Uniform Matrimonial Property Regime Bill [Red Line Marriages], Civil Registration Bill, Roads Bill, Vehicle Mass Bill, Land Bill and the Research, Science, Technology and Innovation Bill. All these bills speak volumes about the nature of the bills projected for tabling in the National Assembly during the 2023 legislative year. Few if any of which can be said to attend to the bread and butter issues of the masses, let alone the workers. Most pandering instead to fashionable political and civil rights of a few rather than to the socio- economic interests of the masses including workers. Dictated by donors and their darling so-called human and civil rights frontrunner organisations.

Meanwhile few of the laws meant to alleviate and improve the plight of the workers, even if remotely so, and which rarely make it on the legislative agenda and timetable, are and have been gathering dust in the corridors of power, if not the corridors of the administrative bureaucracy. Like the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Bill. Which to this day remain in limbo despite the fact that the clause, which was to enable the elite from the previously exploited, stakes in companies, have since been scrapped. As much as it intents for all intents and purposes is and shall never be to improve the lot of the masses but rather a means of coopting the socio-economic and political elite. As a safety valve of capitalist neo-colonialism. The comprador bourgeoisie whose main function for the continued perpetuation, consolidation and preservation of capitalism, is to assuage and appease the masses and workers.

The 2018 Second National Land Conference has come and gone. Five years after it remains to be seen if the plethora of resolutions, which speak to the immediate socio-economic needs and wants of the masses, if not the workers remotely so, it remains to be seen if ever and in what way the resolutions thereof shall be implemented. With the need for land becoming more pressing day after day. On the contrary what has been happening lately is the invasion of the little land in communal areas by the powerful. Either through continued fencing of communal areas despite the fact that the law does not allow for the fencing of communal areas. Plus the wholesale of such land by the politically, economically and socially powerful, with the connivance of traditional authorities. Some of whom have been accused of benefitting through brown envelopes in this regard. With the powerless and destitute communal communities reduced to grazing their livestock in corridors to which most of the communal areas are being and have been
reduced and relegated to.

The communal land boards themselves have little to show in terms of laying the ground work for the effective and efficient administration of communal land. Being at best in cahoots with those who have been grabbing land. Not only land but in every economic sphere radical transformational policies have been wanting in terms of fundamental frameworks to bring about a radical transformation in the means and forces of production. A transformation ensuring that all the citizens shares equally in the country’s means of production.

Yours Truly Ideologically is not and cannot be oblivious to the unenviable financial position in which the City of Windhoek, to mention but one entity which must and should be a trusted agent of radical socio-economic transformation, has lately been finding itself, partly due to the council’s and management’s own doings like mismanagement, misspending, and misapplication.

Paralleled by exorbitant and unrealistic and not market related remuneration packages that councilors over the years have been selfishly apportioning themselves and the city’s management. Surely if council has been financially prudent, by among others, modestly remunerating its councilors and management, there must have been some trickle down to those down the remuneration ladder in terms decent wages. But as it seems now at the City, it is a matter of a winner takes all. These winners being the councilors themselves and managers. Meantime those down the ladder, including the cleanliness experts, seem at best to have been left to their own lot. Hence the industrial action which they ultimately have lately resorted to. Understandably this is a matter before the Labour Court. It is mindboggling to Yours Truly Ideologically that the mothers and fathers of the City of Windhoek cannot and do not seem to attended to the plight of some if not all of their children and have to abdicate such responsibility to the La
bour Court. Because to mothers and fathers of the City that are and should be, the cleanliness experts of the city are no less deserving children, and/or sons and daughters to be fostered to the Labour Court.

All the signs are there and have been there that they cannot. It is only a matter of time before the residents are fostered. The question only to who? Their would be union leaders idling by and watching, nodding in connivance to the wholesale of the workers as has been demonstrated by the pitiful civil servants salary increase last year.

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