Sunday 11 April 2021
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Copy and paste does not work for Namibia

From the famous slogan of ‘One Namibia, One nation’ to several hybrid models shipped in from foreign countries – Namibia has failed to localize and refine these policies and blueprints so that they fit to the Namibian context; resonate with its people and deliver the intended outcomes.
As a country, and in almost of spheres of society, Namibians have fallen prey to the illness of copying and pasting from other nations – whatever happens in neighbouring South Africa, we are quick to mimic it here, whether practical or not.
To paint a clear picture, it would be unfair if I don’t highlight a few examples of what Namibians have copied from other countries but which has thus far not worked for us. During the liberation struggle, SWAPO combatants were housed in several sister countries, one such country was Zambia. From Zambia, we copied and pasted a motto: “One Zambia, One Nation”. We said “One Namibia, One Nation”, sadly we ended just there.
Zambia, like Namibia is a heterogeneous state with multiple ethnic groups. According to records, Zambia is believed to have 70 ethnolinguistic groups who live side by side. As such, the motto “One Zambia, One nation” was adopted, in 1964, to instill the importance of national unity. On the other end, we find Namibia, a country with just over 11 ethnic groups at independence, with the same motto, “One Namibia, One Nation”, a common phrase during political rallies and national functions.
But the question is, has our government done enough to really unite Namibians into one Namibia? The answer is a sad NO! In present day Namibia, we are still rocked by tribalism, regionalism and nepotism. More so, Namibians continue to be oppressed by their own, the ruling elite and their cronies.
Namibia remains divided along tribal lines. Despite the renaming of the country’s 14 regions, the majority of the Aawambo community live in the former Aawamboland; the Hereros live in the former Hereroland and is it the same with the Damaras and Namas. What this shows is, despite it being a genuine idea to learn from the Zambia, we have failed to implement it our own backyard.
Not so long ago, two years to be precise, the #FeesMustFall student protest began in South Africa as a response to exorbitant tuition fees. What happened next was rather fascinating. Namibian student leaders introduced the very same campaign here in Namibia, a direct response to events in neighbouring South Africa.
Again, it was a genuine as university fees in Namibia were excessively high. But was it practical? No. Today, the fees are still high and the status quo has remained. Recently, permanent secretaries and senior public servants left for Singapore to attend a training course on Governance and Public Administration, with hope to learn from Asian country.
Singapore, a one-time small island boasts a massive GDP per capita of about US$50 000. Key to Singapore’s success was its visionary leader, Lee Kuan Yew who ones wrote: “In material terms we have left behind our third world problems of poverty. The key ingredient to kiss poverty goodbye is to prepare young minds with 21st century skills, as we need people who are entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative and all the time inventive.”
However, to believe that what has worked for Singapore can work for Namibia is like being on a suicide mission, it cannot work. It has been manifested time and time again that these hybrid models that are shipped in from foreign countries do not work for Namibia, and this boils down to the governance of the country.
How about some Namibian ingenuity, 27 years later? Lets talk in search of ideas.

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