Time to Restart Namibia

Time to Restart Namibia - The Namibian
Time to Restart Namibia - The Namibian

Africa-PressNamibia. MANY people consider 2020 a lost year. A year when more than 1,8 million people lost their lives to a pandemic that will go down as one of the deadliest in history.

Millions more people worldwide found themselves scrambling to survive – from day to day, week to week, month to month, as Covid-19 wreaked havoc personally, nationally and globally. It disrupted economies, led to widespread job losses, paused countless plans, and caused immeasurable pain and grief at all levels of society. Every day sees people in hospital, hanging on for dear life and hoping to see the next sunrise. There is no doubt that the uncertainty of last year will continue into 2021 as mutant strains of the deadly virus emerge. It will be a rough ride. Nonetheless, it provides a chance to create a springboard and chart new ways forward. While Covid-19 has thrown national and social issues into sharp focus, it has also provided a clearer vision of what needs to be done. More than that, it should spur us on to act accordingly.President Hage Geingob declared 2021 the year of resilience, calling for unity among Namibians in the face of the formidable challenges facing our country.We would add that 2021 should also be a year of resolution. It goes hand in hand with resilience. We need to be resolute in dealing with ills afflicting our nation. If Covid-19 has shown us anything, it is that intent needs to be matched by political will. We can no longer afford to drag our feet on pressing issues or sweep them under the carpet.Namibia which turns 31 this year was at a crossroads even before the onset of the pandemic. Covid-19 has merely highlighted the situation. The government continues to live beyond its means, unemployment is high, our health system is straining at the seams, corruption continues without a solution in sight, gender-based violence continues unabated, and our education system is still not up to scratch. The government needs to seize the moment and lead the way.For one, paying lip service to combating corruption but turning a blind eye to the systemic looting facilitated by minister Albert Kawana’s fishing rights allocations must be rejected out of hand. In this respect, we hope that cases like the Fishrot scandal will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.We also need to fix that which is broken. The government needs to act on both paring down expenses and streamlining a bloated bureaucracy. Plans that eternally loiter in parliament’s committee stage need to be activated; MPs must leave their egos outside parliament’s doors and get to grips with the business for which they were elected – in short, serving people and putting the national interest first.By the same token, politics cannot be left to politicians alone. It is not sustainable as we have learnt at great cost. We trust that 2021 will see greater citizen participation in Namibia’s governance. The quality of our democracy depends on each and everyone of us. All levels of government need to be held accountable – from central government through to village councils. Politicians should not be allowed to treat promises as election candy, they must deliver.Many town councils and municipalities are now controlled by members of opposition parties who have for years accused Swapo of non-performance. The tables have now turned.We urge fellow citizens to be hands-on. Attend council meetings (they are open to everyone); keep your councillors on their toes by monitoring their progress. Over the years, Walvis Bay residents have shown that this can be done. We have a long way to go. But it can be done if we start today. Tomorrow is not always promised as Covid-19 has all too poignantly shown us.This is Namibia’s sunrise moment. We need to embrace the fierce urgency of now. It is time for a reset.


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