Namibia’s greatest challenge as it has been indicated by many over the years is the absence of intentional leadership. Added to that is the absence of effective leadership models that will inspire the masses to pursue development goals. The kind of leadership we all are faced with today, as if by design of nature, are copy and paste models.
Year after year, we are told in differently rewritten speeches of how key state players are going to do things differently to impact the socio-economic conditions of the masses. This has become the tradition of both the ruling and opposition parties. Yet, when the defining moments arise, these very public orators are nowhere to be seen or heard, and no one gets to rise to the moment. Good intentions are commendable, however, they do not result into practical good, unless these intentions are intentionally pursued and turned into workable programmes.
I have personally been wondering as to whether been assigned to a 5 year term as head of state or political party has a certain psychological impact. Because Namibia leaders seem to have a tendency to treat their tenures of power as if they were moments of projects. Especially that they treat issues of national interest as mere projects and the citizens are equally projectified. It’s a kind of leadership that fails to add value to anything in a meaningful way, such that upon stepping out of office, many can only be remembered for their theoretical projects which served only as means of siphoning money out of government coffers with no memorable results.
Africa has continuous moments that require someone in the position of power to rise to these moments, instead they’re only treated with media presses and other speeches. It’s as if the only thing we know in moments of challenges is to talk but without action.
Come to think about our current economic strain. I cannot point to a significant action that has been taken to curb or snap our of it. Well, we’ve created a tax reform, froze a couple of tenders and public vacancies, cut down on the budgets of various ministries etc. But these reforms have not dealt with the root issues that have led to this kind of economic turndown. The absence of decisive, intentional, and implementing leadership.
It is heartbreaking when you go around and just realise that so many people have been impacted by the current economic strain. Like a virus, thousands are being retrenched, unpaid, cannot pay their bills, and there’s a general anxiety, insecurity and desperation.
The issue is not singlehandedly the president’s responsibility but for all key state players to rise to the occasion and provide interventions that will address the problem effectively. However, we continue to see unmitigated propagandism, endless talks, meetings, going to international conferences in numbers at the expense of the state etc etc.
One is most likely to be deceived by the external expressions found around this country, its blend of modernity and seeming orderliness of infrastructure. Yet, beneath this serenity are boiling issues which are affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands. However, they are issues that could have a different turn, if we had leaders who were intentional about national strategies to turn the socio-conditions of their people.
However, we cannot see meaningful changes without a real deep reflection and contextualised conception of what it means and requires to lead. As long as this fundamental level of understanding are missing, Africa is but being in the hands of project managers. It is sad to note this kind of reality of oneself, but it has to be said because smooth talking over life altering realities is an evil in itself. Moreover, in the absence of effectively and intentional leadership, it will always create room for opportunists who paint false visions to the public.
Political opportunism is that which we recently witnessed Julius Malema do at the funeral of Winnie Mandela or McHenry Venaani’s ‘Real State of the Nation Address’. As ridiculous as they appear, they are manifestations of the evidence that those that have been vested with the state powers to govern, are failing to do so effectively. Can we blame them? Not really, they are consequences of poor, unintentional, and unstructured leadership.
As far as the public is concerned Namibia needs men and women who are intentional about where they want to take us. People who will inspire hope and create socio-political and socio-economic that will inspire them to pursue their lives in dignity. There is need for a common vision and mission that is grounded in intentional and achievable goals and not just political statements that never materialises. there is no honour in idle political talks and there is no honour in non-performance as we have continued to witnessed. Unless there be an awakening that seeks to deal with real issues and not just the symptoms of issues, this hopelessness that clouds us as a country is bound to linger until someone rises to the occasion to intentionally pursue change. Wouldn’t it be great to see the vigour with which our leaders fought apartheid reproduced ten-fold to address current challenges?