The Patriot (TP) this week embarked on a series of interviews with the Presidential candidates for the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly Elections. Our first stop was with the Honourable Mike Kavekotora (MK) , Presidential Candidate for the RDP ( Rally for Democracy and Progress ).
TP: Mr Kavekotora, you are Presidential Candidate in the upcoming National Assembly and Presidential Elections.
How have you prepared yourself for standing in this upcoming elections ?
MK: To be the Presidential Candidate and I must say it’s a matter of principle.
This is a situation where I feel comfortable because I believe I am ready because I have been around.
Whether corporate or politics, I’ve been running institutions ranging from housing to infrastructure development.
I believe I am because I understand the challenges that the country is facing at the moment.
These include the economic challenges and I think I have the solutions our economy needs to turn around.
For too long, we have been dependent on natural resources, we have never truly diversified this economy.
And herein lies the key. A model of sustainable economic growth, registering growth of 7% and higher.
TP: What is the leadership model that Namibia requires at this specific time?
MK : I think to a large extent, the leadership model that you need in a country at this point and time is one that requires enormous courage, a tough mind, one which is analytical and one which portrays a real understanding how the economy should be managed.
A leadership team which listen to the various needs and aspirations of the Namibian population.
For example, Namibia has very different needs and they vary from region to region.
The characteristics evident in the socio-economic structure of Kunene is not the same as they are in Zambia.
So, one needs to take time to understand this dynamic and address problems in that manner, rather than this one size fits all approach.
TP: What are your views on GBV in Namibia ? What are the solutions you have to offer ?
MK: We have all witnessed the moral decay in Namibia since independence, I think we lost our moral values. Our children are very loose, they are growing up very independently.
So what we need to do as a society as the Namibian nation, we need to bring back these moral values. We need to bring the Bible back for instance to show that certain norms are acceptable and that there are others which are not.
I think education and disciple should start at home and then we take it to our educational system. Believe me, that way when they grow up, they grow up to be a responsible, mature and caring person.
Part of the problem is that we have become too much materialistic.
People go into relationships, you expect to be cared for by your partner economically so people think they own the other individual while this is not the case.
TP: What are your views on the issue of gay rights, the issue of same sex marriage in Namibia going forward. If you were elected as President, what would be your response in regards to gay marriage?
MK: You see that is something that one has to navigate. On the one hand we must respect the individual’s rights.
That, we have to respect. On the other hand, certain individual rights must be protected and others must not be protected.
So I think people are supposed to have the rights to exercise their freedom but in harmony.
TP: On our foreign policy, you know the premise thereof which states “Namibia is a friend to all and an enemy to none.” Is that still a feasible policy going forward ?
MK: My perspective is that our foreign policy must be that of promoting peace and stability across the globe but for me the foreign policy articulated by my friend the late Hidipo Hamutenya during his tenure if the most ideal option for Namibia, which is economic diplomacy.
One where you will seek to add value to your economy, where you show value for Namibia, one where Namibians are first.
TP: Let’s talk about the youth of Namibia. What is your main message to the young people and why should they consider you to be a viable option for Presidency?
MK: First of all, I’m really appreciative of the fact that Namibia are more focused on issue based politics rather than the historic emotionally based politics.
Young people are very inquisitive.
They ask : If you want us to vote for you what’s in it for me?
What are you doing about education?
And I think our party has responded in our manifesto where we say, for instance on education where there is a mismatch between the output from our educational system and what is needed in the industry.
So, these are some of the issues that we will address and what we have set out in our manifesto.
We will pay attention to the specific issues that they are focusing on. Issues such as housing.
Things like education saying that we need to put up more vocational family centers across the country.
We have to make sure that education must have a meaning in our economic growth.
We must focus on innovation because today’s challenges might not be the same as tomorrow’s challenges and we have to be able to adapt to the situations in a fast way.
TP: How united is the RDP as you go into this election ? Off late we have witnessed the public skirmishes within your party contesting your presidency.
Has this been resolved and now do you have the endorsement of the collective to run as a presidential Candidate?
MK: First of all, I think we must put that into perspective.
The motive was basically I think a fear of competition.
It’s a fear which seeks to destroy the party, even to the point of infiltrating the party.
TP: Tribalism – this issue remains with us. How would you address this issues as a presidential candidate?
MK: Humans are interesting, whenever you feel a heat and where you are being challenged, we go back to our default position.
It is very unfortunate.
The problem though is that Namibia has never focused on creating a common identity for all Namibians.
We are so divided. Even “One Namibia, One Nation is meaningless when you look at resource distribution.