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'Don't despair,' President

By Staff Reporter

Today, the 21st of March is a day with no equal in the history of our nation. It is the day of triumph and the realization of the cherished goals and aspirations of the Namibian people to self-determination, freedom and the restoration of our fundamental human rights and freedoms.

It is for this reason that the current and future generations of our people will always honour and commemorate this historic day.

Today, we join hands in a common celebration and recognition that freedom was achieved because Namibians from all corners of the country spared no effort to pursue the just struggle for national liberation.

As we celebrate 23 years of independence and the enjoyment of fundamental human rights and freedoms, we pause to extol and pay homage to the thousands of our people who made supreme sacrifices during the struggle against foreign occupation of our Motherland and the tyranny of apartheid oppression. With greater zeal and dedication, we continue with the historic and important task of nation building, which started on 21st March 1990. We take pride that Namibia has come a long way since that historic day, 23 years ago.

At this juncture, I would like to recognize the historic role played by the Founding President and Father of the nation, Comrade Sam Nujoma, who led us during the national liberation struggle and also as the first President of our Republic. At the same time, I recognize the stalwarts, men and women of our revolution who resisted apartheid colonialism. Thousands of them have sacrificed their lives and others have been disabled permanently during the war of liberation. May I now request you all to rise and observe a minute of silence in honour of our heroes and heroines. (I thank you).

I am proud to say that Namibia is forever independent. As an independent nation, we have created a stable and democratic society in this Republic, where our people have the opportunity to realize their potential.

We have put in place functioning public institutions to facilitate the orderly conduct of public affairs at central, regional and local levels.

The delivery of public services and social amenities has been expanded to reach more Namibians, including those in rural areas. The social and economic development of our country continues at a steady pace. However, we must do more to lift all our people out of poverty, to create employment opportunities and to further strengthen our systems of governance so that Government can deliver more effective and efficient services to all across our country.

As a Government, we have identified the national priorities to accelerate the attainment of our national development objectives. These priorities have been outlined in our National Development Plans (NDPs). Several programmes such as ETSIP, TIPEEG, and others have been designed to strengthen the execution of the NDPs. These policies have been translated into practical and tangible outcomes for the benefit of all our people.

It is my strong conviction that in order to be meaningful, our stated policies must be fully carried through. They must be taken to their logical conclusion and bear the desired fruits. Thus, it is the duty of all institutions and individuals charged with the task of implementation to ensure that this happens, so that the desired outcomes are achieved.

There is no doubt that political leaders and the civil servants have a duty to deliver. They must carry out their mandates without fail. The nation is entitled to see results.

Therefore, relevant policy tools and mechanisms must be utilized to track and evaluate the progress being made and the difficulties being encountered in the implementation of Government policies and programmes.

It is particularly important to improve performance in those sectors where the rate of success has not met the nation's expectations. I wish to further state that the successful realization of our goals is not only good for the development of our country, it is also the most appropriate way of ensuring that freedom and independence become meaningful to all our citizens.

Building a more prosperous society implies that all our citizens should have equitable access to opportunities and services such as health care, education, housing, food and other socio-economic amenities. It implies that every Namibian child must have an equal opportunity to access tertiary education. Each and every Namibian child must have the opportunity to realize his or her dream of becoming what he or she wants to become in life. That is the true meaning of freedom and independence.

In order to realize this goal, the SWAPO Party Government has initiated policies and programmes aimed at addressing the development challenges facing our nation. We are currently seized with the implementation of the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) as well as the Resolutions of the 5th SWAPO Party Congress, which was held towards the end of 2012.

The priority areas outlined in these documents are therefore, receiving the priority attention of our Government.

Already, specific steps are being taken through the 2013/2014 National Budget, where provision has been made for tax relief for individuals and corporations, increase in social grants for the elderly, as well as salary increases for civil servants and public office bearers. Furthermore, there are increased allocations of financial resources to the critical sectors of education, health, housing, food production and other priority areas.

We are also forging ahead with the expansion and improvement of our physical and communication infrastructure through the deepening of the Walvis Bay Port, the building of the Neckartal Dam, road construction and other national projects.

Here in Oshana Region, the Kandjengedi and Oshiko Bridges in Oshakati and Ongwediva, respectively are under construction. Two weeks ago, I inaugurated the Fresh Produce Hubs at Rundu and Ongwediva, respectively.

The two facilities are aimed at promoting local food production and were funded by our Government at a cost of more than N$200 million. In the field of education, I am proud that the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Namibia at Ongwediva, which opened its doors in 2010, will hold the graduation ceremony of its locally trained engineers in April this year. This is an important achievement in the area of capacity building and human resources development in our country.

It is imperative that we fully dedicate our energies, our creativity and ingenuity to the development of our country.

Each and every one of us should make a contribution to this noble goal. Let us all work more, and talk less.

From businesspersons to academicians, from workers to subsistence farmers, all of us have a role to play. We should not let any obstacle stand in our way.

Our young people must use their knowledge, creativity and skills as their contribution to the development of our country.

Those in school must study hard and complete their studies. I call upon all our learners to make it a personal mission to succeed in their studies. I believe that Namibia will make sustained progress when we root out corruption, crime and violence from our society. Let us all work together with the Police and the Anti-Corruption Commission in this regard. We must all do our part to combat crime and violence, especially violence against our mothers and children.

I encourage all parents and guardians to instill and reinforce the values of respect and discipline in our young people. Furthermore, I urge our traditional, spiritual and community leaders to teach our young people, especially our young men, that violence is not the answer to the challenges and difficulties that they may face in life.

We, the Namibians must continue to embrace unity and the Policy of National Reconciliation as the foundation for harmony, peace and stability in our country.

In this manner, we can create and sustain an enabling environment, for our Government to pursue the national development agenda in a climate of peace and stability. For the sake of progress, unity and nation building, it is vital for all our people to always strive for a common national identity and inclusiveness in the spirit of "One Namibia, One Nation".

Our nation is facing a serious challenge of a drought due to poor rainfall in different parts of the country. The Emergency Management Unit and other relevant Authorities have carried out an assessment of the possible impact of the drought on the expected harvest of various crops and on the grazing.

The aim is to ensure an effective and timely response by Government to provide relief to affected communities and households. Our farmers are also facing increased pressure due to diminished grazing, however, Government would not be in a position to provide fodder to more that 3 million livestock. Farmers are therefore advised to reduce their herds by selling them to abattoirs.

Namibia continues to treasure the strong bonds of friendship and co-operation between our country and our neighbors in the Southern African Development Community. Similarly, we will always treasure the support from our friends and peaceloving people and organizations from the international community who stood by us during our national liberation struggle.

We are committed to doing our part in order to promote closer regional co-operation, as a catalyst for greater continental integration under the auspices of the African Union. In an increasingly competitive global environment, our continent must work harder to improve our performance in the areas of trade and commerce, and to address the challenges of poverty and conflicts affecting our people.

At the same time, we remain mindful of the unresolved question of Western Sahara. As we celebrate our own freedom, our brothers and sisters in Western Sahara, continue to be denied their inalienable right to self-determination and nationhood. We must urge the international community to implement the relevant UN resolutions in order to bring an end to this historic injustice.

In the Middle East, the people of Palestine must be allowed to exercise their right to self-determination and nationhood without pre-conditions. Similarly, I call for the lifting of the economic blockade against Cuba.

Namibia calls for peace in all parts of the world, where conflicts, violence and war are being experienced. We congratulate the Catholic Community around the world on the election of His Holiness, Pope Francis, The First.

My message to the nation on this happy occasion of our 23rd Independence Anniversary is this: While the task of nation building is challenging, we should not despair. We must summon our collective energy and determination to forge ahead. We must stand together in unity to make Namibia a great nation among nations.

We must continue to honour the bravery and sacrifices of our heroes and heroines.

I thank our people for their commitment to the maintenance of peace and stability since DAY ONE of our freedom and independence. I thank you for promoting the Policy of National Reconciliation and tolerance.

I also commend the men and women in uniform, who are responsible for law enforcement, for working hard to maintain law and order in our country.

Peace and stability are vital for building a better future for our country. Let us all make it our personal goal in our daily interactions.

On this special occasion, I wish you all a happy, peaceful and enjoyable 23rd Independence Anniversary.

Long Live the Republic of Namibia!

I thank you.





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