Tuesday 11 May 2021
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SONA, year 3

Making promises is part of any development programme, simply because they are the yardsticks in essence.
In terms of holding the President to account, we should welcome the promises he makes because it gives us fertile grounds to benchmark our ratings of his performance.
A leader who is afraid to make promises is one who is unsure whether he can fulfil a certain assignment or not. In fact, leadership is about developing your constituency, of which making promises is a key component.
Politicians are renowned for making countless promises during election campaigns, forgetting that these very same promises can be used against them. The point I am trying to nail home is the fact that politicians must be allowed to dig their own graves in which they can be buried if they fail to deliver.
At the same time, such promises can also be their panacea to gain more public support if they deliver on their promises.
Customary to my post-SONA editorials, many will once more agree with me that the speech was predictable and that many of us could think of at least five points Geingob would touch on in his speech.
Like his predecessors, SONAs have been synonymous to an old car that has been spray-painted to appear brand new.
A part of the SONA that stood out in my view is when the President said: “Namibians are an audacious people. We have set ourselves ambitious targets and desire to reach our goals faster. The restlessness we observe among Namibian citizens is spurred by the fact that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This gives us hope and this hope should inspire hard work. We remain confident in our ability to eradicate poverty, and reduce inequalities by 2025.”
Whether you agree or disagree with his timeline to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality, we must commend him for being bold enough to attach timelines to his plans.
But come 2025, if those timelines are not met, we should not be labelled as anti-Geingob elements if we question him on unmet targets.
If Geingob is to deliver on his promises, he needs to get the composition of his team right and make sure that all players are team players.
He should not be afraid to deploy ministers who will more readily implement his programme, to chop his critics within Cabinet. We hope, perhaps naively, that SONA is not just a platform for empty populist rhetoric, but an occasion where a solid, informed plan of action is outlined.

Leaky administration
Another worrying factor that needs attention from the top is the high amount of information leaks in his Cabinet.
Or maybe we are mistaking the leaks as the transparency he often preaches.
In most cases, information leaks from Cabinet derails the planning as well as the policy formulation process. This needs to be avoided in order to ensure that policies are robustly debated until common grounds have been reached.
But be that as it may, if there’s one sector that welcomes the leaks, it certainly has to be us as the media.
After all, information is gathered in all sorts of ways. We have a duty to provide our audience with news and we will therefore not miss an opportunity to do that.
But then someone would argue that the media is perpetuating the leakages because it is seemingly creating a market.
Well, if that’s the lens you are viewing it through then good for you. Tell me when you come across a journalist that will say no to information, stolen or not.
Information is power and we as the media will not shy away from it.

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