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Criticize but also give credit where it is due

By Dr. Elijah Ngurare
It was remarked the other day that if an African "watches western news about Africa you are bound to suffer depression for all negativity in the stories". This can also be true to our country if we are to accept the notion that "good news does not sell; but bad news is good profit".

Indeed the importance of the media in any society cannot be overemphasized moreso a proper media that is not driven by personal hatred or political agendas of individuals be they politicians or businesspeople.

It is not to be claimed that 21years of Namibia's independence is a bed of roses nor do I want to claim that our government or its leaders are faultless.

However, there is a lot of good that we have achieved in the past 21 years. Unfortunately, it has become habitual for negative reporting, so often we read newspapers, the impression that is derived is a depiction of our government leaders who are in totality not performing or not working all. It may of course be so that just as in a team you find high performers and low performers.

But for a winning team, it would show that there are many high performers than low performers. It is only natural therefore that some credit or praise should be given to those who are high performers in the hope that such would encourage the low performers to also aspire for high performance. I have said it on many occasions that ours is a winning government and made up of many high performers and we must strive to maximize the number of high performers.

Take the hectic schedule of the President and the Prime Minister for example. The President according to an interview he gave to the media starts his day by 06h00 and often return home when his children are already asleep. That is to say he devotes most of his time to administer the entire affairs of the State. There is no corner of Namibia that does not want to see and have the Presidents hear their needs. It is therefore by that that he appoints a Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, other ministers, governors etc to help him carry out his constitutional duties and obligations. My point is that he devotes much of his time to the service of the people. Let all those he appoints help him serve the aspirations and expectations of the Namibian people without fail, nothing more and nothing less.

The Prime Minister is referred to as the First Minister and as per the Constitution is a leader of government etc. In other words for many a Namibian people who cannot get satisfactorily answers from any Government Ministry/Office/ Agency they seek audience with the Prime Minister. His schedule too is a busy one and helped by the Deputy Prime Minister in the execution of their duties. All Ministers therefore are meant to be subordinate to the Prime Minister and in assisting him to carry out his constitutionally mandate as assign him by the President. We all know that in the history of Namibia, it is the first time that we have a Prime Minister who deliberately has decided to interact with the ordinary people through newspapers under "Citizen Nahas Angula". This down-to-earth approach has its critics, but I for one support him for it. He opens himself to criticism and he makes time to engage on such matters. I would even go further that this humility of the Prime Minister should be shared by others including our President and other Ministers.

There is nothing wrong for doing so. I recall that Cde. Peter Iilonga (Ekanda) also used to phone in the openline or chatshow of the NBC whilst he was Deputy Minister in Government.

In other words what I am advocating for is a culture of the elected to be in contact with the electorate at all levels. Let us not allow any disconnection, which creates a vacuum that others may hijack for their own political or selfish reasons. I am not writing to defend individuals but to defend their commitment to serve the system. For example, I know of a Permanent Secretary who also wakes up at 06h00 and return home bymidnight. This is an example of good in our system. As indicated above, it is true there is also bad in the system such as corruption, nepotism, favoritism, racism and tribalism hampering equitable distribution of the economic wealth of the country. It is here where we can and must criticize but perhaps it is better to do so constructively. The media too can constructively criticize us here but bearing in mind that do so for the love of Namibia and not for thelove of other powers beyond our borders.

After all as one comrade said on facebook recently "constructive criticism is part and part and parcel of the SWAPO Party internal democratic culture and its desire for a democratic Namibia where everyone enjoys freedom of speech to express contrary views. Constructive criticism is not only criticizing for the sake of criticizing but proposing and motivating alternatives that will allow us achieve those objectives which are so complex and huge that they will never be achieved without unity."

The soldiers of unity and righteousness are within Namibia; in SWAPO Party and it is within the conscience of all members and leaders of the Party in and outside the government. Let us continue to speak, write and implement the gospel of transparency, accountability, solidarity, freedom and social justice.


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