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In defence of the Namibian government

By Ashok Iyor
The incessant vitriolic castigation of the Namibian government by various sections of the media and Our society in general, has left me appalled and disgusted with the attitude of such individuals. Every action taken by the government is met with vehement criticism. Most of the time, such criticism is not even constructive.

These cynics, forget one very important factor i.e. we have a democracy in Namibia. In many countries around the world, such criticism would, more often than not, lead to an immediate death sentence, with or without a trial. For a government of a country, especially in Africa, to have such tolerance is commendable.

Has it ever occurred to these cynics that, given the popularity of the ruling party during the first decade after independence, it would have been very easy for them to convert Namibia into a one party state like China,Cuba etc. However, to their credit, they chose to run this country on democratic principles so that these cynics can bad-mouth the government, as and when they please. To the average, disgruntled Namibian, let me tell you that running a government is no cake walk, especially in a democracy. Forget the government for a minute and take the average household for a change.

There are plenty of demands in an average household. However, on account of limited income, everyone in the house cannot be satisfied. So, the average householder, in order to satisfy his entire family, borrows funds from outside. Most banks have strict lending rules so often, the average householder approaches friends and acquaintances to raise the said funds. Since he has borrowed from friends, he becomes obligated to such friends and if such friends require any favour from such householder, he has to perform it regardless of any prejudice to his family.

He may have to endure criticism from his family member, in this regard but, he knows that whatever he did was for the benefit of his family. The government operates in a similar manner. For the benefit of the people, it has to take favours from other countries and then repay these favours in a manner which, sometimes, appear unfavorable to the average citizen.

Running a democratic government involves the making of a lot of compromises which, although undesirable, are indispensable for maintaining stability in the country. I'm not saying that the government is perfect but tell me one government in the world today, which keeps all its citizens happy? One must concur that, in the two decades since independence, our government has made a few bad investments and, true to our pathetic human nature, we only look at the result rather than the intention for which such investments were made. One thing is for certain, any action taken by the government is going to inevitably antagonize some portion of the populace.

Before criticizing the government, one must be cognizant of the harsh international economic and social environment, under which our government operates. The problem with Namibians is that, they presume that, once they have elected a government, all their responsibilities have ended and that the elected government will take care of all their problems. A successful democracy doesn't work in that manner. Your responsibilities have just started with the election of a government.

As a citizen, it's your duty to support and work with your elected leaders in their endeavour at managing the country. It's just like the example of a happy and successful family where, the wife not only does her household chores but also supports her husband in tackling various problems faced by the family. She doesn't just sit back and criticize every action of her husband. You talk of corruption as if it is endemic to Namibia only. The entire world is beset by corruption mainly on account of a mixture of man's never ending desires and the disproportionate distribution of wealth. Nevertheless, rather than digressing on a philosophical line, one must face facts.

Corruption is a worldwide phenomena and the government is trying it's best to fight it. So, rather than sitting back and criticizing the government for any inadequate approach towards the problem} doesn't it make sense to join the government in working against this malaise?

After having spent about twelve years in this country, I sincerely feel that the ruling government has done a fairly decent job in the midst of an extremely hostile economic and social environment. Much more could have been achieved had many Namibians not fallen to the "mindless rhetoric of a few selfserving individuals and/or organizations.

Remember, Namibia is an evolving democracy. It took over a hundred years for most western democracies to stabilize. Compared to that we are doing pretty well. Please don't forget that the government is run by human beings who also have certain natural limitations. If you're expecting the world from the government, most of your realistic expectations can be achieved by working with the government and not by simply laying back and criticizing it. The path towards growth and success is only through co-operation.


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