Wednesday 14 April 2021
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The Pursuit Of Courting Poverty

Twenty-eight years of independence, we’ve witnessed some consolidated efforts to address the dehumanising effects of colonialism and the legacy of apartheid.
We’ve also seen some commendable efforts of economic growth, improvement of public infrastructure, social support systems and many people are economically much better off than their ancestors were.
However, these achievements are being dwarfed by the deepening structural poverty, which has been left intact through the independence negotiation agreements.
Today, we do not only speak of poverty in abstract terms but as a country, there seem to be consorted efforts to ground it into every fibre of society.
To the extent that being poor is a batch of honour for being Namibian. Not to mention the route of hurling insults at the poor, a special treat by politicians.
All evidence, so far, only indicate one thing, the government’s deliberate efforts to court allies who would advance the course of poverty.
At home, we’ve thieving public servants who are been getting away with it, without consequences. Abroad, we are begging from old and new colonialists – with high interest rates.
Moreover, at home, those making public decisions do it in such a way that they benefit from them at the expense of the poor.
We’re not short of the language or rhetoric of ‘fighting poverty,’ except that every policy and action confirms wasteful spending and increased borrowing to sustain this wasteful culture.
For example, how have we fought poverty in the last 28 years by increasing the size of our government?
What seems to be employment creation was literally a duplication of duties. For example, the ministry of health and social services, ministry of gender and child welfare, ministry of poverty eradication and social welfare, can’t anyone see that is one and the same thing stated differently?
While states around the world that have gone from being cesspools of corruption and extreme poverty have embraced new ideals to make life better, we are headed in the direction they’re running from.
The pursuit of happiness, freedom, dignity etc are all being replace with the pursuit of poverty, except for the politically connected and their rings.
We’ve seen the state go out of its way to ensure that we set up decent public infrastructure, efforts have been made to expand cabinet, create new positions, to buy fleets of bulletproof Mercedes Benzes, etc.
But when you look around as to how many deliberate efforts have been made to deal with unemployment, poverty, poor public health services, failing education system etc, you only have excuses.
Understand that I’m not anti-government, I’m against the absence of forms of government that doesn’t take into account the progress of society.
A government and leadership that has deliberately made efforts to ensure that the poor would become poorer, doesn’t deserve to seat in that governing seat, any longer.
A government that puts its consumption and political interest above the needs of the poor – disqualifies itself from leading.
The kind of pursuit to court poverty, as we see in Namibia is by any definition immoral and appalling.
This national economy and management was never designed to benefit the poor.
Their structures promote a culture that budgets against the poor and disadvantaged.
It’s as if this was part of the economic negotiations with the then apartheid regime, to ensure that the poor would continue to be poor.
The pace of delivering on programmes and actions that would change the present dehumanising poverty levels has been painfully slow and disappointing.
Surely, there are many people who are opposed to the SWAPO government, simply because it’s not their choice of political party. There are also those opposed to it because of who is leading the party, especially on tribal and racial basis.
My critique doesn’t embrace any of such unbeneficial childish trivialities; my opposition is for ethical reasons.
Like the story in Orwell’s Animal Farm, some have taken a position of being more equal and have created and supported structures that continue to reinforce economic dispossession and alienation.
The history of poverty in this country was mainly manmade and enforced by law.
This has created society of perpetual poverty, but it is sad when those who have been victims of this history are at the helm of reinforcing it against their own people. The issue is not as complex as the excuses that have been made.
The neo-liberal agenda combined with poor governance, theft and corruption are increasingly failing to create strategies that will alleviate poverty levels and general economic hardship for the poor.
My question to our leaders as I conclude is: is there any significant turnaround plan to redress poverty? Definitely not Vision 2030, that’s a political decoration.
The issue is of moral significance because it has dehumanised the ordinary people, daily reducing them to greater suffering. We don’t have a shortage of resources, ours is an absence of moral consideration, lack of moral culture that seeks to uphold the dignity of others.
One that can only be overcome by an intentional abandonment of a pursuit of courting behaviours and practices that promote deeper levels of poverty.
NB: The opinions in this article are my personal perspectives and do not reflect those of IUM or its associates.

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