Friday 18 June 2021
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Kazenambo – “the father of tribalism” ?

By Staff Writer

Firebrand Swapo stalwart Kazenambo Kazenambo has said that the national discussion on the state of the Namibian house was fundamentally flawed in that it lacked a proper foundation.
Kazenambo said the concept of ‘One Namibia One Nation’ has been misused by political opportunists for mere political convenience to advance their self-interests.
What is the true meaning of a Namibia – diverse and united ? Can it exist or is this concept to be regarded as mutually exclusive, asks the opinionated former Parliamentarian.
“One Namibia, one Nation’ is a blueprint for our nation building. A very important concept. I am following that it has been debated in the National assembly and many parliamentarians and stakeholders have different views and perspectives on the matter.
My take on the issue is that we cannot just debate the issue randomly without looking at the background of the formation of the nation into a nation state.
Before independence we were a nation without a state. After independence we became a nation state but before independence Namibian communities existed as German South West Africa as it was called; an occupied territory by Apartheid South Africa,” said Kazenambo.
He added, “So the communities of Namibia were in fact nations on their own. Firstly, they did not recognise the colonial regime that was here. Be it the Germans, be it the South Africans.
Ideologically, the concept of ‘One Namibia One Nation’ has its roots on the bedrock of struggle for liberties and the rights of human beings in many ways, be it economic or political emancipation.
As people who were at first denied our inalienable rights of participating in democracy and who now have a say in the destiny of our country, it was appropriate to advocate for building a ‘One Namibia One Nation.’ So I support it from that point of view.”
He advanced that the national aim remains to bring together communities from different “tribes, from different colours, genders, communities of different cultures underscored by the need to manage diversity.
And in managing diversity you need to first and foremost recognise what the diversity is that you are talking about and be realistic rather to conduct a cosmetic exercise in managing this diversity, or try to coerce or try to be diplomatic about it.
You have to recognise that there were communities in Namibia and these were made by God, if you believe in religion. That is why we have traditional authorities in Namibia, they are tribal in nature whether you like or not manage them selectively.
You officially have traditional authorities and chiefs that you pay money to and we hear their voices. They are from communities – our communities. And when the community members speak from those diverse traditional authorities, when they identify themselves as Herero,” he said.
He took offense being branded a tribalist for identifying with one’s tribe.
“When they identify as Namas, as Mbalantu or Mbanderu or Khoisan or whatever then you say that they tribalist? It’s a serious contradiction. It’s not realistic.
I am trying to highlight that we are quick at branding people and accusing them of tribalism when they identify themselves as the people who identify themselves  from the communities from which they are born. For me I think we have reached a stage where we need to reflect realistically,” he said.
Kazenambo expressed that as a result of his views he has been labelled” the father of tribalism in Namibia.
Because I spoke of a non-Oshiwambo President, my attackers selectively and conveniently chose only one aspect because when I spoke about a non-Oshiwambo President, I also spoke about a female President and then the media chose for their own agenda and subsequently left out my call for a female President.
I was ostracised for that and still am. Be that as it may, I have never been shaken by the ostracisation. When I was speaking to the concept of a non-Oshiwambo and female President, I was within the blueprint of building that ‘One Namibia One Nation’ because a ‘One Namibia One Nation’ is grounded on the diverse communities of Namibia.
These are the people that we are bringing together and I was saying that wait a minute, when we are moving on and on, let us appreciate the diversity of one nation for consolidation of unity, for consolidation of peace and stability if you want,” he said.
He added that the ‘One Namibia One Nation’ concept would be meaningless, if it doesn’t recognise the aspirations of diverse communities and their tribes.
“If it doesn’t speak to the fears and expectations of the diverse stakeholders, or members of our diverse communities.
‘One Namibia One Nation’ should, on a serious albeit complex and sophisticated  manner address the fears, the expectations, the frustrations of our diverse society be it culturally, politically and economically.
It must not just be driven insensitively, it must not be driven conveniently and I am using the words sensitivity and convenience intentionally.
It would be insensitive when in our pursuit of ‘One Namibia One Nation’, we do not appreciate the background of our communities. This would be tragic,” he said.
Kazenambo asserts that as far as he was concerned, this has been the missing link right from the beginning “because we have just been riding on the comfort of convenience.
It has been politics of convenience. To be politically correct.
We have to sound ‘One Namibia One Nation’ without even grasping what it means and it remains hollow to a certain extent because opportunists have ridden it out.”

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