Wednesday 12 May 2021
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On the other side of Parliament

The Parliament building was a buzz of activity on Wednesday afternoon. From the sounds of the uniformed brass band to cultural performances and smiling, laughing politicians arriving for the opening of parliament 2019.
The parliament exploded in applause and banging on desks as President Hage Geingob entered the Parliament building to deliver his statement for the opening of the ninth session of the sixth parliament.
Geingob amongst others, spoke about 2019 being the year of accountability, government declaring “war on social ills such as poverty and corruption,” that it is crucial for government to “improve the trust that people have in government” and that it should begin in parliament, where the “representatives of the electorate endeavour to fulfil the important function of keeping our democratic institutional systems accountable and transparent”.
A few kilometres down Independence Avenue, not far from Parliament where the President was telling parliament to improve the trust people have in government, 31-year-old Ndamona Amos, mother of two had no idea that Wednesday was the opening of Parliament.
She also had no idea that it is the ninth session of the sixth parliament, let alone what it means.
“Is it the new parliament they were building? No I did not know that it was opening today,” the woman who sells fruits and vegetables said.
Further down and now in Eveline Street 30-year-old Paul Kangongo sits at a bar with friends. Kangongo said that he knows that Parliament was opening today because he read about it the news.
The young man who says he makes a living from different business ventures, said that he sees the President talking about improving the trust people have in government, as just another political campaign.
“It is election year, so it is the same language and promises just told in a different way,” he said.
He added he has no faith or confidence in government because there have been so many promises made but not fulfilled.
Kangongo is not the only person who says they have lost all trust in government. Just across the street were a group of ladies who were keeping one of their friends company in her corrugated iron salon.
One of the ladies is a 25-year-old student from the Vocational Training Centre in Windhoek. She did not want to be named out of fear of being victimised.
The student said that she has lost “110% trust in government” because of the poverty and unemployment and she sees while there are only a selected few enjoying the fruits of the Namibian independence.
“It is always the same people, ministers are shifted from one ministry to another some of them have multiple paying positions. You only see a different face if one of them dies,” the student said.
While she heard about Parliament opening on Wednesday, she said that she had no interest in what the President’s statement was, what bills will be tabled or what the politicians had to say.
“It is always the same promises and the same lies. The people think we are dumb, but we know how to think, we can see how they are eating and only caring about their bellies.
We know that we are only important to them because of our votes. We know,” she said.
The student, who was visibly upset, added that the “only thing that changed with independence was the absence of the gun.
But what they don’t know is that the emotional pain is even worse. People are heartbroken. Imagine having an accounting degree and being a babysitter or selling vegetables with your engineering degree, those things are painful,” she said.
One of the other ladies added to say that the trust and confidence in the government does not exist anymore because of corruption and so many other social ills such as poverty.
“There are people who are born in a shack, they graduate from the shack, get married in that shack and go on to raise families in shacks. The cycle goes and they want us to listen to their opening of Parliament, for what, so that they can lie to us?”
The 27-year-old did not know about the Parliament opening and said that she could not care less because it just means it is the opening of another year where they lie to those who voted for them. She did not want to be named, saying “the police are very good at arresting the poor.”
Further down the street sitting at another bar, 26-year-old Timoteus Shaanika is optimistic that government “will get it right”.
Shaanika who knew about the opening of Parliament said that the Namibian people must trust the government and give it more time.
“The opening of parliament means a lot to me because that is where laws are made and we feel represented there,” he said, Shaanika feels that the Namibian people’s expectations of government are too high and that is how they end up disappointed.
“We just want to receive, but we must also meet government halfway.”
Those sitting at the bar with him however disagreed with him saying, government has made too many promises and they will have to do a lot to regain the trust that was there.
According to a 2016 Macro Poverty Outlook from, 19.2% of the Namibian population would have been living below the US$1.90/day (N$26.68) international extreme poverty line in 2016, 18.8% in 2017, and 18.3% by 2018.
Using the $3.1/day (N$43.54) poverty line, 42.5% of Namibians were expected to be poor in 2016, declining to 41.6% by 2018.

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