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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 clothing."

These warnings against tribalism retrogressive tendencies came in the wake of Youth Minister, Kazenambo Kazenambo, who recently called fellow cabinet ministers "stupid Owambo ministers."

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 Owambo journalist."

Dr Gurirab urged parliamentarians to re-read the Namibian Constitution alongside that of the SWAPO Party, which addressed nation-building and social restructuring.

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 preamble.

"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 by example.'







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