Allow me to provide a brief analysis of how political independence has become the very tool for the kind of economic injustice we experience across out nation. We’ve been made to believe by key state players that we’re still fighting for the economic independence because the economy is still in the hands of the minority of the descendants of our former oppressors.
I’d like to argue that this view fails to have us see the source of our economic problem.
Recently the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources blamed colonialism as the source for the diminishing population of pilchards in our ocean.
As illogical as it sounds, his kind of thinking reflects the unexamined blame game we’ve heard for the last near thirty years of independence, our government fails to take responsibility of its failures.
I don’t deny the impact of global and neo-colonial forces on the economies of younger and developing states, that’s a discussion for another issue.
Mine is basically to argue that the view of unachieved economic independence isn’t because of colonialism is a distractive witch hunt.
Recent months have seen growing talks about land redistribution and even seizing it from White Namibians without compensation.
This kind of thinking is birthed by the ideological poverty of ignorant politics of blame which have successfully demonised the White citizens.
It takes conscious reflection to notice that the issue of the economic imbalances we continue to witness are primarily because of poor central government planning and management.
Not to mention that the people who would’ve us believe that the blame is colonialism or the minority wealthy White Namibians, are people who’ve crossed over to the upper economic class and are as wealthy as the people they’re demonising.
The idea that our government is fighting for economic independence should by all means be discarded as a myth. This isn’t something the government or those in positions of power have seen as a central need.
If it were true, we’d have seen a deliberate orchestration of development plans, national policies and central government spending towards achieving this goal.
Moreover, we’d have seen less blaming of the past and witnessed deliberate actions to curb corruptions, theft, mismanagement, overspending, self-enrichment schemes of politicians etc.
Recent reports have implicated our Head of State in private business deals with foreign investors of whom some have been found in corrupt activities that are harming the economy.
Yet, such relations are treated as normal, contradicting the government’s preaching on transparency, war against poverty or poverty eradication.
We’ve also witnessed how majority of the politicians are part of the system that controls the house pricing, yet the same government officials are telling us that they intend to see the construction of affordable and decent housing for low-income earning Namibians.
Moreover, these personalities have private businesses that are being awarded state tenders, they hold fishing quotas (which they often sell out to foreigners), and are beneficiaries of the state programme of distributing resettlement farms.
With these realities of politicians controlling all the creamy parts of the economy, we need to ask; Where is the evidence that there is a war being waged for economic independence for ordinary people? Such a war would take bread out of the mouths of politicians.
A real war for economic independence would’ve motivated the reduction of unnecessary spending on luxury vehicles, poorly quality assured externally modernised but shoddy infrastructures, public events such as Independence Day etc.
But no, we’d rather see hundreds of politicians flock to Tsumeb to flaunt their Land Cruisers and Mercedes Benzes, with head tables covered in drinks and food they will not even finish, while the poor masses can simply admire this state sponsored opulence.
On Independence Day celebration, after an overpriced catering tender, the cream of the crop will be served to the politicians and a poorly stuffed hotdog with a soft drink will be served to the cheering, sweating, hungry and poor masses who will then have to go back to their miserable lives.
Understand that I’m not anti-government and I do acknowledge many good things that have been achieved but that doesn’t change the fact that the public has been sold a myth of war for economic freedom.
That our national leaders continue to blame colonialism and demonise the minority White Namibians for the failure to achieve economic freedom for many, indicates that we’re literally in a failed state.
The current reforms of Harambee or the NDPs or SDGs are but political decorations to cover the failure.
Economic oppression is something advocated with impunity by the very people who are sitting in places of making national decisions.
They’re busy selling us myths of a war against poverty and social injustice while they’re actually fuelling the progress of this dehumanisation.
If there’s a war for economic independence it would have been evidenced by directing our natural resources, policies, budgeting towards that goal etc. This raises serious ethical questions concerning promise delivery, meaning of transparency, good governance and the kind of value we place on the economically disadvantaged citizens.
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.