The level of our country’s leadership crisis has reached a critical point. For all intents and purposes political mantras like ‘the year of introspection’ will not suffice without robust and intentional plans and strategies.
This week, the President demonstrated the ongoing leadership troubles which he thought that his ministers were not academically well equipped. We’re in a failure of leadership and the president thinks it due to lack of academic training. Not to mention how he continues to complain of having inherited a broke government, something which has not been met by the degree of spending and wastefulness of his administration.
In the face of growing fears of economic uncertainties and crumbling public structures, we continue to see little leadership and more of survival politics on the play. The last five years are covered in failed promises and wishful thinking, and 2020 is but a year of public distrust in the political leadership of the present government. Sadly, at a time when the nation needs reassurance and proactive leadership, it seems to be nothing more but a deepening crisis.
This failure of leadership is sadly not just in the State House, it’s evident in our various public institutions. For example, 1) that entire hospitals and clinics have run out of basic supplies because of poor procurement processes and management structures that are open to manipulation and theft of health funds; 2) That the education system’s quality is ever dwindling but ready to introduce a new curriculum that cannot be implemented due to lack of both human and financial resources and; 3) That we’ve police and military presence in our civilian spaces terrorising neighbourhoods with the blessing of the government. These and more are but evidence of serious leadership problems which are left unattended to.
Things are falling apart and if there be no serious reclaiming and enforcing of the social contract, the whole country is going to be nothing but a wasteland. Henning Melber rightly narrates that the country is showing wear and tear, sadly, it’s the kind of repair that is not based on decisiveness but on political mantras. The kind that seeks quick fixes without putting long term measures in place. Without an intentional turnaround strategy at a national level, 2020 may as well be but the beginning days of a sinking nation.
Instead of focusing on slate politics and the singing from unquestioning loyalists, the President as leader of the nation need a serious rethinking of his role and approach to things. There’s been no time as this in which he should become the leader of the nation and not be making excuses. Admitting that he has failed should probably be the first step in the right direction. Telling us that he inherited a broke government, for example, only entrenches cruelty when all his ministers drive expensive Mercedes Benzes and live in opulence.
Poor leadership coupled with continued political arrogance has only fuelled an environment that strengthens cronyism, self-enrichment and greed. We saw this in how the President treated his implicated ministers with kid gloves – even calling them patriots. When he visited the Katura state hospital which is itself an epicentre of disease, he minimized the seriousness by saying it was just one place that was affected. These are the kinds of public responses because he doesn’t have the backbone to publicly confront his appointees, his friends. If this trend continues, the long-praised success story will soon be a full-blown story of failure.
This is not the time to engage in sensational and personality contests, we need leadership that will have an impact on the lives of people. We need a turnaround strategy for the story of ‘a rich country with poor people’ which can create hope and the materialization of promises.
This is a moral call. Having failed the nation in the first term, the Geingob administration can no longer think of doing politics as usual. The mandate to govern the country requires ethics and the ability to honour those who have entrusted him with it. Not the current self-congratulatory arrogance we have seen being displayed as if politicians own this country and will run it as their whims dictate.
I wish to conclude this article on a positive note, but not for a government that has been obstinate in every sense of the word. The current administration does not inspire vision, purpose or hope. If the Geingob administration is to bring about change, it will not happen with the current recycled team of men and women. It needs to restructure itself but above all, the President has to take leading in a way he’s never envisioned. Else, we’re bound to see the same results and probably worse.
Basilius M. Kasera
The opinions in this article are made in my personal capacity and do not represent those of my employers or associates.