President Hage Geingob has urged traditional leaders lead exemplary lives and at the same time called on them to join government in the fight to reduce road accidents on Namibian roads. Addressing traditional leaders this week at the 19th Annual Meeting of the Council of Traditional Leaders meeting held in Keetmanshoop, Geingob told the chiefs that they are greatly valued and still hold important roles in this modern era since they form an “integral part of a stable and well-functioning Namibian family.” “ You are paramount in maintaining social order and promoting the development and advancement of people within rural communities. You achieve this in several ways which include the preservation and promotion of local customs, providing advice, settling disputes, speaking up for others and providing spiritual council,” he said.
He added that traditional leaders managed to keep order in communities and assist in the deliverance of public goods and services in seriously challenging situations. “This has been evident during the past several years that our country has grappled with incessant episodes of floods and drought. Your effectiveness in helping government function and local regions develop can therefore never be overlooked,” Geingob said. With several incidents of tribalism and ethnicity threatening to derail unity in the country Geingob said: “You are bestowed with responsibilities to unite our people in the spirit of one Namibia one Nation not necessarily by looking into one’s tribal lineage.” The President said Namibia is being threatened by certain sectors of the public who have become bored with peace and are keen on creating an atmosphere of distrust in which they hope that people will retreat into tribal silos. “Such a situation is a threat to the progress we have made as a nation. It is a threat to the foundation of peace started by the Founding Father Comrade Sam Nujoma, consolidated by Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba and carried forward by Yours Truly, towards an era of prosperity. As a President tasked with carrying this nation forward with an overwhelming mandate, I cannot sit back and allow Namibia to slip down the slippery slope of disunity and return to the Bantustan era, for it has been said, “Man maintains his balance, poise, and sense of security only as he is moving forward,” he said.
He further addd: “Our people therefore expect our traditional leaders to take the lead to accentuate the ethos of this new narrative of the Namibian House. You need to lead by example, so that every village, every homestead, every individual, in every corner of Namibia becomes an advocate of unity. Like I have said before, there is nothing wrong with being proud of one’s culture or tribe.” “The problem arises when one starts putting the suffix ism at the end of tribe to create tribalism. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your race but once you put the ism at the end it becomes racism, which is poisonous to society. All these isms form the antithesis of the concept of the Namibian House and the spirit of Harambee, which are the pillars of our new narrative.”
The situation on our public roads has become critical and as we draw nearer to the end of the year, Geingob said, adding that the anxiety continues to grow amongst all road users. “Government, in collaboration with the private sector has undertaken many initiatives in order to raise the awareness levels of road users in the hope of curbing road accidents. Most of these motor vehicle accidents are caused by lack of consideration for our fellow women, men and children, through unnecessary risk taking and excessive speeding, sometimes under the influence of alcohol,” he noted. Geingob thus called upon traditional leaders to join Government in the fight to curb the number and frequency of road accidents by engaging motorists in your communities and encouraging them to change their lifestyles and behavior. He also reminded chiefs be cautious and change their approach to issues concerning land.
“Land is an emotive issue and if not handled correctly, has the potential to cause complete disarray in our country. Community disputes over communal land and over chieftainship succession have unfortunately become too common and present a concern not only to the members of those communities, but to Government as well.” He revealed that government is spending more money to investigate these disputes while traditional communities involved in these disputes often fail to cooperate with Government in finding solutions thereto. Let us meet each other half way. “Let us put personal ambition aside and think how we can help our neighbor and the poor members of our communities. I call upon our leaders to maintain peace within their traditional communities in order to minimize disputes. There can be no Harambee whereh there is selfishness and prioritization of personal ambitions.”