Wednesday 14 April 2021
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Fishing rights should be an eye opener

The ongoing scramble for fishing rights brings with it a lot of hope for Namibians who are bidding to get their hands on the lucrative resource.
For many years, those with liberation struggle credentials have benefited handsomely from the resources of the country, from fishing rights, tenders, EPLs and the likes. In fact, benefiting from the country’s resources has been seen by some quarters as payment for those who risked their lives to liberate the country. Whether that is the case, one would not know.
The scramble for the 96 fishing rights clearly signals the desperation of our people, a situation which should squarely be blamed on government’s inability to empower the people.
But 28 years after Independence, underground frustration fuelled by the unequal distribution of resources continues to increase. At the rate things are going, Namibia is surely bracing herself for a public revolt if drastic changes are not made.
The situation been made even more complex with the rampant corruption that continues to empty the public purse. Those within close proximity of power have made it a point to fill their pockets before they leave office, be it through empowering their immediate relatives or through proxies, but the facts are there for everyone to see that there is a drive from those in power to secure the financial future of themselves and their children.
The amount of wealth our ministers hold is shocking, so too the assets they hold. With their salaries known to the public, it is easy to assess that many of them live way above their income. This also shines the light on the public asset declarations made in parliament, when one critically assesses the register it is clear to see that many of the business activities linked are those that do not generate significant wealth.
So unless most of them declare untruths, it is safe to assume that many are involved in business activities through third parties.
Politicians are fond of proxies because they cannot directly do business with the State.
They however forget that once they die, their proxies will never come forth and handover the assets to the relatives. Also, state looting is a catalyst for economic failure. If the economic system crumbles, money becomes useless. Zimbabwe is a perfect case study.
In 2012 former President Hifikepunye Pohamba warned of a land revolution if nothing is done to give people land. Several measures to avert such a revolution were taken, albeit with little success mainly due to limited political will.
In this case, government continues its rhetoric on inequality but it does little to tangibly change the system. The poor remains on the periphery of society by surviving on handouts such as food banks and doing meagre jobs, while those close to the public purse continue the wanton extraction of public resources.
Addressing the land problem without addressing inequality is a futile exercise, simply because land without the necessary resources needed to derive produce from the land is as good as having no land.
In conclusion, we should remember that the absence of war does not automatically mean there is peace, the ongoing social evils including crimes such as theft, murder, rape and joblessness are clear signs of the invisible war going on in Namibia.

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