Acceptance speech - 21st March 2010
By His Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba
Guests and Friends,
I am immensely grateful to the Namibian people for electing me once again on the list of the SWAPO Party. And I heartily thank my Party for nominating me and motivating my candidature for re-election as Speaker of the National Assembly, for the second term.
No doubt, I thank and embrace members of the opposition parties present for voting as well for me. The voters didnít directly elect me as Speaker. You did, my Party comrades and you all, my dear colleagues in this august House.
My principal manual of work is the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia. As one of its authors, and among the longest serving public officials, and founders of our Republic, I know of the highest vision the Constitution provides for Namibia, as well as the promise of national unity, reconciliation, democracy, the rule of law, human dignity, socio-economic emancipation and the commitment to protect the gains of our long and bitter struggle for liberation and independence.
I will, as always, stick to these and other essential imperatives of nationbuilding when serving the House and the people who have elected us. The Assembly, since 1990, has all along been home to a variety of political parties. The electorate has kept alive the vision and design of the Constitution, making National Assembly, this hallowed House of debating and also of listening, a special place of convergence of ideas.
Election Manifestos have now become roughdrafts for making transformative laws, enlightened policies and workable reference manuals of ideals to end poverty, income disparities and create more opportunities for employment and courageously tackling land reform and distribution. But, as we focus on these issues, we must always put the economy first. Namibia can become a peaceful island of democracy and prosperity. Thatís a tall order which demands stability and hardwork. We must be courageous and forward-looking.
The majority Party has once again been given the mandate to rule. But the opposition parties are entitled to be heard and their legitimate concerns taken into consideration. Thatís the ideal of democracy and peaceful co-existence. Political intolerance is unacceptable.
Accountable, performance oriented and effective government is what is good for the country and the people. That understanding requires cooperation, hardwork, mutual respect and efficient service delivery.
There are numerous factors affecting and shaping Namibiaís destiny. Political dynamics and competition for public influence are relevant but they are not as decisive as sustained and verifiable performance indicators of the economy. That is our work as public officials today and for the longterm. Economy involves everybody and affects lives of all for better or for worse. It makes us all members of one family.
Great parliaments are renowned for legendary orators but also of clever parliamentarians who have been able to get everybody across the political divide on board to pass groundbreaking laws that saved lives, helped the poor and opened opportunities for the youth, women and the aged. The late US Senator Teddy Kennedy comes to mind. I have also known of such colleagues over the years in this Chamber from the Ruling Party and the Opposition who have made constructive contributions for the good of the country and the people. Itís all about pragmatism, teamwork and common cause in national interest.
We must be able to rise to the level of self-criticism and admit failures without looking for scapegoats. By doing that we can only grow and get better as MPs. Corruption is killing Africa and Namibia is no exception.
Our founding President said, inter alia, this in his memorable inaugural address on 21 March 1990:
ďOur collective security and prosperity depend on our unity of purpose and action. Unity is a precondition for peace and development. Without peace, it is not possible for the best and talented citizens of our country to realize their potentialÖThese are the standards from which all who seek to emulate us shall draw inspiration.Ē
Before 20 years ago, the real enemies were there and they were many, strong and of all kinds. We made it by crossing the rivers of blood. And here we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Republic of Namibia. Today the real challenge is to conquer the economy.
Think about it and I thank you.