Monday 14 June 2021
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Cleaning day or cleaning hour?

When one peruses the programme for the national cleaning day taking place tomorrow, you cannot help but think that it is just another platform for politicians to mingle.
On the day, the actual cleaning will last for less than three hours and everything is back to normal.
I am particularly perplexed by the fact that all senior government officials will be based in Samora Machel Constituency for the campaign.
Ideally, one would have thought the ministers and other senior government officials will be scattered all over the country in order to draw the public. What is the point of having all the officials in one area?
This will result on members of the public thronging the area where the official ceremony will take place while neglecting other places.
The cleaning campaign is a noble initiative which could set the trend for a clean environment, however it is important to note the post-cleaning period, after the hype is gone is most critical.
Politicians are very quick to blame the media when a news story doesn’t put them in a favorable light. But politicians use media to win elections by getting the exposure they need to reach voters. I hope this cleaning campaign is not another public stunt to draw support and crowds.
The need for a cleaning campaign signals two anomalies in our society, the first is the inability of our people to keep the environment clean.
Secondly, the failure of local authorities to maintain cleanliness in towns.
All this boils down to poor attitude and failure to take ownership of the environment outside your residence.
Many of the people who litter in public spaces are often very tidy when it comes to their own living spaces. It is therefore confusing to note how different a person can be depending on the environment they find themselves in.
But be that as it may, it is unfair to compel people to pay high municipal fees yet service providers who are paid millions to keep the environment clean fail to execute their mandate.
The lack of trust in politicians emerged as a big issue among voters in all the countries surveyed. Namibia is no exception.
Politicians are known to lead the charts when it comes to making rosy promises, but many Namibians will tell you that they do not trust politician because of high levels of corruption, “all talk and no action” politics, broken promises and politicians caring more about their own needs than those of the citizenry.
I am happy to note that the President is concerned about the cleanliness of the country, but he needs to be reminded that simple rhetoric and two hours of cleaning is simply not enough and neither does it offer a lasting solution.
He needs to robustly engage local authorities and force them to come up with plans that will ensure sustained cleanliness.
The fact that central government must come up with a cleaning day should be reason enough for local authorities to hide in shame because this cleaning day is effectively a vote of no confidence in local authorities’ ability to keep towns across the country clean.
If I worked for one of the local authorities, I would not even be excited about the cleaning day. We thank the President for indirectly exposing the incompetence of local authorities and we wait to see what the long lasting solution for Namibia is.

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