Friday 18 June 2021
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The state of the nation

There’s an air of unease. A sense of dissatisfaction. A degree of uncertainty. And there is hope. President Hage Geingob’s state of the nation address (Sona) this week has been described as a watershed moment by those who believe in his poverty eradication dream, while for those on the other side of the road it was just another speech. Like his other speeches, this one was no different, he just rattled off old statistics about the Harambee Prosperity Plan, repeated old promises and one can undoubtedly say that more than half of the things the President mentioned in his SONA yesterday is nothing he did not say in his previous speeches. Bluntly put, this year’s speech was quite predictable.
Geingob who had it not so good in the first half of his term – teachers strike, fishermen strike, tribalism, economic slowdown– has basked in a sustained high popularity drive that no Namibian president in recent history had enjoyed. Many – and perhaps he himself – thought he could do no wrong but if the situation on the ground is anything to go by, then it can be safely concluded that the President is not having a smooth ride so far. But like Indian statesman Mahatma Gandhi once said: “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.” If there is truth in the words spoken by the man who once graced our shores, we are a contemptable one indeed. The current government has often been accused of putting a certain spin on the facts, without uttering a falsehood, and in the process casting the most favorable light on a bad situation while covering it with a little artful makeup so as to hide its flaws.
More Namibians have grown either undecided over the President or dissatisfied with his performance. If murmurings on social media and other public expressing platforms are anything to go by, the President has a lot to do to win over the nation. Three key problems fester despite government efforts since Geingob took office: poverty, unemployment and corruption. Even on the main agenda of fighting poverty, the Geingob administration is witnessing falling numbers in terms of people’s appreciation of it. The war against poverty is more theoretical than practical, partly because Geingob’s executive team does not fully understand his grand dream of transforming Namibia into a prosperous nation. Of course Geingob’s drive to deliver prosperity in Namibia is welcomed and it deserves every Namibians unequivocal support, but that can only happen if the populace feel part of the decision making process. At times it feels like our leaders are out of touch with the realities on the ground when considering the type of policies that are being crafted in Namibia.
I agree with the notion that if citizens and government do not try to work together to solve or resolve issues nothing will get done or accomplished. This will be necessary as we move forward because as a nation, because ultimately, we need to be able to work together systematically in order to accomplish goals and make this country better for all citizens. We recognise that most big corporations have not embraced the cause of poverty eradication and are content with the bare minimum support to seem interested. But we feel that, instead of coming up with a new basket of promises, Geingob and Swapo must govern effectively and enforce existing transformation policies in their anti-poverty drive. Geingob ended his SONA saying: “I would like to affirm that the Namibian House is stable. The Namibian House is resilient. The Namibian House is secure.”
As Namibians we are surely living for the day that the Namibian house is genuinely stable, resilient and secure for all its people.

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