Monday 12 April 2021
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Politics of Innocence, Ignorance and Ignoring

There is nothing as anger provoking as when politicians drive ordinary citizens to the verge of survival mode, yet claim innocence. No so far ago, the now ousted Zimbabwean president expressed shock as to why so many of his citizens were fleeing their country in search of refuge in neighbouring countries. Ignorance was his only claim, after nearly forty years of ignoring the devastating effects of his gruesome leadership, corruption and maladministration that led an entire country into poverty while he and his cronies lived like royalty. Even in the midst of being ousted he maintained that he was but an innocent victim of greed and lawlessness.
We may say but that is Zimbabwe. Well, a year or two after being out of office, Tate Pohamba expressed shocked at the degree of poverty around Windhoek.
In his own defence, he said that had he known that there were such levels of poverty, he’d have done something about it. He was appealing to a sense of ignorance and at the same time seeking to exonerate himself by claiming innocence. For someone to have been in government since independence and after two terms of presidency to claim ignorance of the poverty levels, only shows how our politicians can get away with anything. With such a sense of complete shock and helplessness, he made himself the victim. Turning the attention on himself rather than on those affected by the cruel presence of poverty.
This trend of doing things clearly speaks how our politicians fail to be accountable to the people who elected them, and can simply get away with making excuses.
For an obvious issue such a poverty in Namibia should not be a shock, in fact, it should drive us to deep anger. Yet, an entire former president would have the public believe that this caught him by surprise.
There is a reason why we cannot refer to politicians as leaders. Although many people think by virtue of being appointed to a senior public office makes them leaders. No. You can be a politician without being a leader. And the above cases of Tate Pohamba and Mugabe are but evidence blatant ignorance that beats its chest by ignoring the obvious and still be claiming innocence.
In recent weeks, Dada Geingob expressed shock at that Namibians are angry. Sir, with all due respect, that shock means you’ve lived for too long in places that can no longer identify with reality on the ground.
Ask us who don’t drive in convoys, to controlled locations, where you turn up and the municipality or local community didn’t do any run around to tidy up.
We turn up in neighbourhoods unannounced and see the reality of poverty, faeces from damaged or blocked drains, children going in the cold mornings to school in patched uniforms, domestic workers sitting 6 a.m. at the gates of their employers waiting for gates to open at 8 a.m.
We live daily with realities of students knocking on our doors begging for opportunities to be allowed to study because there’s no one to pay their tuition fees. In the meantime, all your ministers drive in expensive government luxury vehicles, living in posh neighbourhoods, shielded from the realities of the lives of the ordinary people.
Public institutions are failing to deliver quality and efficient services, unemployment and poverty is rising and your administration has so far only offered lip service to dealing with many of these socio-economic ills.
We’ve witnessed how you’ve gradually morphed from being the Man of the People, into a staunch political player, who is now more concerned with self-preservation rather than the people who placed their trust in you. Sir, with all honesty, there is no reason why you should be shocked at the public anger directed at yourself and your administration. With all the efforts to cut governments spending, you’ve literally increased salaried positions of goldbrick comrades, while education and healthcare is falling apart.
Not to mention the crumpling structures that ought to offer social protection for the vulnerable of our society.
Over the last 5 years of his presidency, Dada Geingob ignored the calls of the public that his administration was wasteful. The promises to clamp down on corruption were only met with talk, with an ACC that’s exists to do nothing but waste state resources investigating petty offences. With such a rate of failures weighing on the present administration, the president is still lost at why the public anger. Instead of owning up to the failures of his administration, he resorted to self-defence and patronising rejoinders.
Displaying that very trend of innocence and ignorance while ignoring the obvious triggers of the rising public anger. It explains why the president would boldly stand up and be campaigning for a second term, because by his own standard, he’s the victim.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that we’re caught up in a stale political drama. The kind that has no regard for the people. Given that our history centres on heroes, the heroes consider themselves as entitled to rule over the people.
Such rulership, doesn’t have to account to anyone. All that matters is power and not the interest of the people.
This has become the trend of governance. The change will not happen by necessarily voting in another government, it’ll happen by the public creating a culture of holding politicians accountable.
And this is what should be happening in those community hall talks, not the president dictating the direction of the dialogue.
If we do not change from this, we the public are equally guilty of embracing the politics of innocence, ignorance and ignoring.

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