President Hage Geingob this week had a chance to exert his authority over his appointees when he was faced with the Bernadus Swartbooi saga, but clearly the President opted to take the easy way out by calling on Swartbooi to resign if he refuses to apologise.
Geingob is a big talker who is clearly afraid to take big decisions.
He claims the utterances of Swartbooi were not in accordance with nationhood yet he was prepared to let him off the hook with a mere apology, just as he did with Omaheke governor Festus Uietele.
Geingob must take note that he has officially set a precedence of being a President who asks for an apology instead of taking bold decisions.
Asking someone to apologise is not the best way to discipline someone under your rule, in fact such punishment holds insignificant severity that actually encourages other potential culprits to do the same.
Swartbooi, his appointee, told him straight in his face that he will not apologise yet Geingob continued to dilly-dally around the matter and begging Swartbooi to apologise. It is unheard of for a President to run after his appointees when they fail to toe the line.
Do not be surprised if other ministers do the same in future, after all they know nothing major will happen.
If Uietele was punished properly, other leaders would have taken note and make a mark not to take the same route.
The phrase “tough on the outside and soft inside” is not far from Geingob because of his indecisiveness.
A leader must be bold, and by being bold you must take unpopular decisions for the greater good.
Or is it true that political security is Geingob’s compass? Does he have the 2017 Congress in his mind? Is he worried how ruffling feathers will impact his presidency?
The President often boasts of the 87% he got during the 2014 Presidential elections and he rightly says it is not a sign of popularity but rather hope and aspirations of thousands of Namibians who voted and trusted him to lead the country into prosperity.
As popular as he might be, Geingob risks losing the fear factor if situations that deserve a tough hand are allowed to slide easily.
Tribalism is threatening the peace of this nation, and talks that the replacement of Swartbooi with Priscilla Boois has a tribal element to it cannot be casted aside.
If Geingob does not fill the void left by Boois at the poverty eradication ministry, then it vindicates those of us who criticized Geingob’s system of appointing two deputy ministers at some ministries. But the mere fact that he could move her without thinking twice tells us that there is not much to lose if the poverty ministry only has one deputy minister.
Swartbooi has to be commended for keeping the land debate alive, because Government was beginning to go back into its sleep mode like it has done since Independence.
Apart from periodical noise from the Affirmative Repositioning movement here and there, the land debate is slowly moving down the queue of the key needs of the country.
Hence it came as no surprise when the land conference was pushed to next year because of “a lack of funds”.
This coming from the same government that was quick to host poverty eradication and investment conferences without worrying about the status of the national bank account.
Do not get me wrong, the poverty and investment conferences are key indabas for our future, but we should not become a country that places the cart before the ox.
If we say we want to empower our people, should the provision of land not top the agenda.
Land is a key component of any investment, therefore even if we lobby investors to come to Namibia, the locals will be left to scramble for the crumbs because they will not have much to offer.
Priorities must be the order of the day in the country and our leaders must at all times remain a beacon of hope for the citizenry if we are to pull in one direction. At the moment it is difficult to place your faith in a Government that is failing to unite, how then does it expect to unite a nation?
As 2016 draws to a close, it is my hope that we will use the remaining period to reflect on what has transpired this year and begin crafting New Year’s goals that serve the interests of all Namibians.