By Fikameni Mathias
The only way to save the sinking Namibian economy and restore voter’s confidence is for the current Swapo leadership to take a page from the liberation notes. That is if Swapo is serious about moving the country forward. Former Prime Minister and political stalwart Nahas Angula weighed in this week on the political outlook for the busy year ahead.
With elections due in Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and in Namibia, Angula said the leadership needs to wake up and face the long overdue confidence crisis, saying the current gear of ‘every man for himself and God for us all’ is not bringing any positive results except to harm the party severely.
“Inspire people to go back to the ideals of the liberation; the ideal solidarity, justice and freedom. We still need that solidarity. This culture of selfishness and greed is not taking us anywhere.
We need a culture of service and selflessness to work as a team and get somewhere,” remarked Angula, adding that this is not so within the current Swapo.
“The current Swapo is simply about stomach politics. It is every man for themselves and God for us all and this is tragic.”
He adds “what held us together during the liberation struggle was common ideals – the ideals of liberation. It was very difficult because we had a colonial power that was just across the border but it was required that all of us embrace the ideas of progress.”
Angula blasted the current youth in power for failing to speak up, for failing to debate issues that consequently compromise the future of their peers saying they have been captured by the tummy.
“What has happened after independence is that we have been captured by greed and selfishness, even the youth who are in leadership. Many of the young people you see shouting ‘Swapo will win’ are just doing it to get a job and something on their plates.
It is not a commitment towards a genuine cause of a common public good,” he said.
Highlighting more faults in the current administration, Angula added that the leadership’s inability to consult people with genuine opinions on the betterment of the country has also led to the stagnant growth of the country.
In situations like this, Angula proposes that the leadership needs a social dialogue with the people who control the economy; the banks, mines, hospitality industry, fisheries, agriculture and of course the workers. However, the veteran politician says it is vital consultations are done with stakeholders who are outside the proximity of the benefits of any policy or project.
“There will be no progress when you consult people who tell you what you want to hear. The people will just tell you that because they want to eat directly from the benefits. Ask people who are genuine because they have no stake in the project” he said.
Do the right thing…
Angula is of the opinion that the current leadership has the solutions documented and available on its desk but is deliberate in avoiding to do the right thing.
He advises the leadership to look at the example from the neighboring South Africa, where President Cyril Ramaphosa is hands on with restoring confidence for voters and investors. In the course of 2018, the country was able to host both Employment and Investment dialogues saying the Namibian leadership needs such aspirations if it wishes to get out of the hole is has dug itself.
He said budget cuts and budget consolidations are simply moves to avoid the country from borrowing more and avoid a deficit. Over the years, recruitments were put on the police and army while the construction fraternity has laid off many, according to the statistics available at the Statistics agency.
“The combination of budget cuts leads to no recruitment and then ultimately unemployment. Consequently, there is no buying power, that combination creates economic stagnation. The way the economy works is that people must have money in their pockets. There must be buying power. People should go to shops and buy. The economy is then moving because there is buying power” he said.
With elections due, Angula hopes it will not be another year the country spends money it already does not have on wrong priorities.
Having been in the political seat for quite some time, the veteran admitted that sometimes politicians do things just to impress the people and get the vote.
“You will see them dancing on podiums and feeding people at rallies instead of putting the money at the hospitals where we have Hepatitis E or buying school books to promote learning. You are not only spending what you don’t have, but you are spending what you have in the wrong priorities.
“Natural resources might be privatised for political campaigns. The problem with African politics today is that it is no longer about ideas and good policies. Because of our poverty, we live from hand to mouth. If someone offers you N$5000 to vote for them, you are unlikely to refuse even if you don’t agree with their policies.
That is why we are not making progress after 50 years of independence as a continent” he shared.
Leading up to the elections, he hopes the party solves its squabbles, making reference to the fights within the party that have gone as far as court.
“It is a concern when you start taking each other to court. It means you do not have internal mechanisms to attend to grievances.
If people feel they are alienated what do you expect?
At the moment, the leadership is not inclusive and some people feel left out and they will of course put sand in your food-plate. But at the end of the day, it is the country we need to think about because leaders come and go.”