Namibia’s slow development can largely be attributed to the unwillingness of politicians from different parties to hold hands after elections.
One of the great projects of modern-day Namibia is reconciliation between those who fought against Apartheid and those who fought to preserve it.
On face value and the day-to-day rhetoric, reconciliation seems to have prevailed in Namibia, but a more closer look through the microscope tells a starkly different story.
Deep down their hearts, those who fought for and against Apartheid, are still stuck in the olden days.
It’s important and necessary work for politicians to reconcile. But as a recent argument in the National Assembly on the state of education in the country has shown, tensions continue to simmer deep down.
When Popular Democratic Movement(formerly known as DTA) MP Elma Dienda tabled the motion on the state of education, a blame game emerged amongst lawmakers with some saying the Apartheid-engineered Bantu Education system was better than the current system
When Nico Smit made his contribution, he used the platform to blame the country’s first education minister Nahas Angula for the current state of education.
Swapo MPs, as expected, lost their cool and went on a mad run blasting the PDM lawmakers for allegedly making remarks which suggest that Bantu Education was better than the current system.
Angula’s, who is not a member of parliament anymore, when contacted for a response on the allegations by Smit talked mainly about Smit’s history in the Apartheid regime.
This is proof enough to show that true reconciliation has not taken place.
This hampers the country’s development because of the lack of cohesion and collaborative nature amongst members in parliament who hail from different parties.
We are all aware that politics is about scoring points, but when political points take centre stage over the real issues, then we have a problem.
The zeal to score political points in parliament and failure by lawmakers to fully reconcile is part of the problem why development in the country is moving at a snail’s pace.
Nahas vs Smit
At first glance, Smit’s allegations levelled towards Angula seemed fair and one would therefore have expected Angula to respond in a clear manner in his own defence instead of ranting.
He accused Angula of abolishing all pre-primary schools operated by the government, a move he said deprived thousands of disadvantaged children of the essential opportunity to learn the basics of education that prepare them for the rigours of formal education in a primary school.
He also criticised the decision to change the medium of instruction in government secondary schools to English – with no regard to whether the teachers could teach adequately in English – and in most cases outside the urban areas.
Smit also castigated the decision to rewrite the syllabi for secondary schools rewritten while the system was full of poorly qualified teachers in rural areas who were left stranded.
Angula did not respond to any of these allegations head on, he instead accused Nico Smit of daydreaming and subsequently drew the Apartheid card to bolster his attack on the PDM lawmaker.
He instead reminded Smit that “Freedom meant liberation, he should not forget that the education they denied our kids has been discarded for good, ourchildren can now get quality education.”
Angula further accused Smit of politicking instead of addressing the real issues plaguing the country’s education system.
He went on: “He is crazy to compare the Bantu Education System and the current system. I know there are challenges such as the ability of the system to churn out job creators. We must remember that education only equips you with skills and knowledge, but still, the two are affected by the structure of the economy.”
All these interactions mirror the level of reconciliation that has taken place between those who fought for or against Apartheid.
Reconciliation is merely used for rhetorical purposes while deep vengeance continues to be the order of the day.
Unless this issue is address, issues of national importance such as the debate on education will continue to receive minimal attention.