Razor-sharp attack on tribalism
- Pohamba, Gurirab resent retrogressive tendencies
By Asser Ntinda
Tribalism and retrogressive tendencies have sharply been dissected and condemned by President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab.
Last weekend, President Pohamba said he was very concerned
about recent tribal utterances, saying that tribalism was once again
rearing its ugly head in government and in the country at large.
"People who have the responsibility to unite the nation, do not
recognize their responsibilities. We should learn from the experiences
of other African countries such as Angola and Rwanda where
many people lost their lives in civil wars caused by disunity.
"Look at what happened in Angola and Rwanda. People there
died because there was no unity amongst the people. If we encourage
disunity, this country will be in fire and a country in fire
does not select who to burn, even those causing the fire will be
burned in the process," a visibly upset President Pohamba told the
SWAPO Party Women Council Central Committee meeting in
Windhoek last weekend.
Three days later, the President called on parliamentarians to
protect and uphold the constitution, adding that they should reaffirm
their unwavering commitment to the enduring values enshrined
in the Constitution, especially the entrenched fundamental
human rights and freedoms in Chapter 3.
"It is our duty as leaders to provide exemplary leaders so that
our nation can keep the flame of freedom, respect for human rights
and equality before the law burning high and bright," said the
President when he opened Parliament on Tuesday.
"It is our duty to provide the kind of leadership that will inspire
our nation, not only to live by our constitutional values, but also to
internalize the letter and spirit of the Namibian Constitution."
But it was National Assembly Speaker, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab,
who whose sharp tongue railed through the walls of Namibia's
highest debating chamber, Parliament. And he minced no words.
"We must walk in tandem with the letter and spirit of the Constitution, in particular, the preamble,"
he said. "That is what
must inform our thinking and
temper our public actions as
national leaders at all times, otherwise
we would be like imposters
and wolves in sheep
These warnings against tribalism
came in the wake of Youth Minister,
who recently called fellow cabinet
ministers "stupid Owambo
He went on: "You Owambos
are just like the Boers, worse
because you are hungry and
stupid." He also called a journalist
who interviewed him a
"stupid, unqualified, inexperienced
Dr Gurirab urged parliamentarians
to re-read the Namibian
Constitution alongside that of
the SWAPO Party, which addressed
He called for the combating
of retrogressive tendencies of
tribalism, ethnicity, nepotism,
racism, sexism, chauvinism
and regionalism. He called on
Namibians to walk in tandem
with the letter and spirit of the
Constitution, particularly the
"That is what must inform
our thinking and temper our
public actions as national leaders
at all times, otherwise we
would be like imposters and
wolves in sheep clothing.
"Dignified and sustainable
upliftment is what all our
people yearn for all the time and
everywhere," he said. "We are
national leaders and must lead