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Sunday 21 April 2019
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Truth, ethnicity and politics

Let me begin this editorial by stating that I hate discussing tribal and ethnic matters as a topic. But when things are getting out of hand those who have access and means to be heard must speak up.
 
Tribalism and ethnicity should be no go areas in Namibia, especially when considering the gains made to unite the country from the day of the Bantustan arrangement to a society whereby all citizens can live amongst each other.
 
The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is the mantra of the courtroom, but it is also the motivating ideal of good science – as well as good social relations.
 
But sayings such as “In politics there are no permanent friends or enemies” makes one wonder whether politicians know its true meaning.
 
Politicians in the ruling party are openly and dangerously fanning the flames of ethnicity to score political points in the run up to the party’s congress later this year.
 
If the ethnic practice of politicians were confined to the political, the populace would surely have no qualms, but the reality on the ground is that politicians are using ethnic tactics fight their battles-subsequently affecting the nation at large.
 
Swapo is the elephant in Namibia and the citizenry forms part of the grass. And as the saying goes “when the elephants fight the grass suffers most”.
 
This adage is relevant to Namibia at the moment, so much that ethnic groups are prepared to fight each other because of politics.
Truth is a miniature term in politics, in fact it is relative to context in which it is uttered. What politicians do not see, is the fact that long after the congress, the effects of their tribal and ethnic campaigns will continue to reverberate across the country.
 
We have seen an upsurge when it comes to tribalism in recent months, with most of it being a result of political factors.
The simmering ethnic and tribal fights in the ruling party should not be allowed to destroy all the gains Namibia has made since Independence, politicians must fight in their own corner and the populace must remain vigilant and steer clear of political smear campaigns.
 
Some politicians have openly drawn the tribal to make their mark, forgetting that the short term gains of such a practice is not worth the long term sufferings that follows.
 
The hate mongering and divide and conquer tactic has gone beyond anything one can comprehend, today you hear of “Ndonga Agenda”, “Omusati Clique” as well as a “Kwanyama clique”.
Whether these movements actually exist is a debate for another day, but the coining of such terms and the fact that they enjoy public discourse on a daily basis is scary enough.
 
Just last year, Ovaherero paramount chief Vekuii Rukoro was quoted in the local media saying “this current Ovambo government is putting their finger in the Herero’s backside”, and that the Maharero Royal House had “run to suck milk and cry to [Sophia] Shaningwa” for permission to use a plot owned by the Ovaherero Traditional Authority.
 
He allegedly said this this after learning that Sophia Shaningwa had given the Maharero Royal House permission to hold their red flag day commemorations on 26 August on the controversial plot at Okahandja where their fallen heroes were remembered. Red flag day activities were called off at the last minute.
 
The people of the Namibia have been known to be one and the same. Profiling them by their ethnicity is dangerous especially if it is done by a leader. What example are the followers supposed to take if their leaders cannot follow their moral compasses?
 
With the multiple challenges plaguing the country, tribalism and ethnicity is the last thing this country needs. The term Harambee is one that I hold little regard for, but in this case I cannot ignore it because there is a need for us as Namibians to hold hands and pull in the same direction.



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