Saturday 17 April 2021
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Holding hands towards economic freedom

Twenty-eight years since the attainment of political freedom, Namibia is engaged in another war for economic freedom. This war is sophisticated, partly due to the fact that it involves no guns.
Students of international relations are often introduced to the problems involved in sustaining international cooperation through Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s fable of the stag and the hare.
Rousseau tells the story of a group of hunters that went out in search of a deer. Only if they all worked together would they be successful in trapping the deer. But a single hunter acting alone could catch a hare.
As is common with human nature, one hunter slightly distracted deserts the party chasing the deer – with the result that the deer escapes. The individual hunter catches a hare but because of the failure to cooperate the group misses out on the chance of trapping the deer, which would have brought greater benefits to all.
The fable is used to illustrate the difficulties of sustaining cooperation while pursuing your own interests; for instance in international cartels, when individuals have an incentive to realise short-term gains through cheating on their partners.
It is equally relevant to international negotiations where countries, especially relatively small players on the international stage, are likely to achieve better outcomes acting cooperatively with others than they would achieve individually. For many years, this was the conventional wisdom regarding Namibia’s struggle during the war for liberation.
This approach should also be adopted on the domestic front with the economic struggle being the priority.
Government must open up and invite the populace to the decision-making table instead of working in isolation.
A number of good initiatives have gone to waste because the public was not involved during the crafting stages.
Mass Housing and TIPEEG are just some of the big examples that pops to mind.
While delivering his keynote address at the Independence celebrations this week, President Hage Geingob said: “On Independence Day, each and every Namibian should partake in the activities, pause and reflect about the heroic efforts of our brave sons and daughters. Namibians, holding hands broke collectively the shackles of physical, political and economic enslavement, opening the doors to our freedom and a future of possibilities.”
He also said: “We still have many mountains to climb and frontiers of possibility to pursue. I have no doubt that if we pull together as one, remain steadfast in the pursuit of a great country, and adopt a unified approach towards achieving our national aspirations; it will not be long before we accomplish the goal of shared prosperity.”
If this good rhetoric can be followed by action, then economic freedom is surely around the corner.
The main aim of public participation is to encourage the public to have meaningful input into the decision-making process. Public participation thus provides the opportunity for communication between agencies making decisions and the public.
The responsibility of governing the Government falls in the hands of the citizens of the country, and we should not be idle in our attitudes or our outlook towards the Government, because this creates the perfect opportunity for corruption.  We voted them into power, and it is our common responsibility to make sure that they stay on the straight and narrow, long past are the days of Monarchs and Feudal Lords who believed that the peasants where there to serve their every whim, the Government is the Public’s servant.
In essence I believe that people don’t need a government that wants to assume the position of a herdsman and his sheep.
Holding hands must not mean government directing the lives of people, but rather government and the people walking side by side to an agreed destination.
Therefore, government must sustain the cooperation with the public in order to fulfil its mandate.

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