Wednesday 12 May 2021
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Intentional Leadership: Beyond New Year’s Resolutions

New Year resolutions are part of the general public culture, but it is worrisome when lawmakers operate based on New Year resolutions.
In his New Year’s speech, Dr. Hage Geingob said 2018 would be ‘the year of reckoning.’ Is this going to be the motto of the year, given that the Harambee Prosperity Plan is dwindling away from the public, except as a piece of political critique? While Dr. Geingob is a nice individual, I find this kind of leadership quite worrisome and disheartening. Instead of a turnaround strategy, our president presented us with a motivational speech with old feel good phrases.
Any given country’s success is highly depended on the kind of leadership it has and when decisions appear to be based on moments of excitement rather than on well thought out plans, we are in for stagnation. Africa’s general problem lies in that its leaders only have words but no serious plans, if they have plans, they don’t know how to have them materialise. Therefore, it’s perhaps correct to say that Africa’s problem is 90% poor leadership and Namibia is in Africa, think about it.
That many public servants are corrupt, provide poor services, waste state resources and underperform is self-evident, how will this be solved is what we need to hear. The public is not impressed by well-written speeches that say all the nice things but carry no weight of affecting policy. New Year’s resolutions are often shelved few weeks after reality kicks in, that the problems of last year did not end with the clock and calendar showing 31 December 2017, 00h00. In 2018, corruption continues, the economy is still in


shambles, civil servants are back in their work places doing nothing and politicians are still on holiday.
What we need as a nation is intentional leadership, with a clear turnaround strategy for the current socio-economic chaos; to rectify the dying public education system, even those who are designing it aren’t even confident to send their own children to public schools; to curb the hopelessness that increases with unemployment; rescue the debilitated state of the healthcare system; restructure the social care structures that are understaff, under-planned, under-managed, and under-funded; to address rural under development and poverty; to bring to book the corruption that continues to cripple hundreds of public institutions and affecting the entire nation. The list goes on.
With such a long list of issues, it amazes me to watch our president still indulging in motivational talks with no clear strategy of the way forward. Leadership that results in change is intentional, ‘lucky packet’ decisions prepared for media briefings are insufficient. Moreover, the New Year doesn’t make up for the massive incompetency, which has led us to where we are today.
In as much as I think the opposition parties in this country are ideologically contemptibly inadequate, at least I concur with Mr. Venaani’s critique concerning the lack of purpose and direction in the current government. We have to admit that we have been too long in the seats of government that we no longer see the actual problems. Pep-talking doesn’t alleviate poverty or bring to book those who are engaging in corrupt practices. Ours is a dearth sentense, unless we make serious changes at government level to change the direction in which we are heading as a nation.


As a citizen, I am grateful that we have a gifted person for a president but we are yet to see the impact of his leadership at a national scale. I’m also aware that the Geingob administration has to be dealing with issues inherited from the previous administrations, however, it’s accountable for the way forward in the moment of his leadership. We need to see intentionality in the decisions that are made and should be reflected in action.
Giuseppe Mazzini wrote that ‘Every true revolution is a programme; and derived from a new general, positive and organic principle. The first thing necessary is to accept that principle. Its development must then be confined to men who are believers in it, and emancipated from every tie or connection with any principle of an opposite nature.’
We are in a socio-economic revolution, but what is the plan, what is the programme. What is the principle by which we seek to achieve the things we said we are going to do, definitely not random New Year resolutions. We need a vision that will make every Namibian rally behind it, regardless of their political, religions, cultural or racial background. However, we lack the kind of leadership that will inspire us with the kind of vision needed. At present, we are but playing politics for self-serving purposes, not because we believe that our leaders are equipped to transform this nation.

In conclusion, we shouldn’t be delusional to believe that a New Year ushers in new progress, 2018 is a continuation of what we have planned. If there is no plan in place, nothing is going to change; the economy will continue in its downward spiral, public servants will continue to loaf around, the education system will continue to fail, healthcare will continue deteriorating, government spending on luxuries will continue, the ACC will continue informing us of corruption without taking action and politicians will continue making beautiful meaningless speeches for news outlets. Unless, we are presented with a leadership that is willing to change things and ensure that the changes are happening, not just talked about.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are in my private capacity, based on Article 21 of the Namibian constitution, granting freedom of speech and expression. They are not views of my employer IUM or its affiliates.

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