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Starvation of leadership in Namibia

By Cde. Imms Shawanametiti Nashinge
The political discourse in our native motherland is somehow fascinating and frustrating. I have stayed silent about it because in many respects, I didn't want to add another voice to an arena with so many players and voices claiming to have a solution to our country's woes.

However, I think that my silence and those of others serves no one. I recall vividly during 1999 when people who are now members of the executive were complaining that H.E. Dr. Sam Nujoma should retire because he has been a leader for a long time, while some also left their key Government positions only for them to return.

Ironically, some of these leaders have been at the helm of the executive since 21 March 1990. Why are they better leaders than the Nujomas, Ya Toivo Libertinas or Tjirianges and others who have retired? This just shows that our leaders have lost the heart of leadership. For them, leadership has become a way for people to enrich themselves at the expense of others. The heart of leadership is to serve the people with integrity and making their welfare the first priority of what a leader says and does.

Unfortunately, you don't have to look further than our newspapers to find a daily chronicle of character assassinations, incompetence and personal insults that have come to characterize our political discourse. We need a change in the way our leaders carry themselves. We need OUR leaders to think of US again and not themselves. We need OUR leaders to SERVE US again, the people who elected them.

Furthermore, leadership is about vision- a clear picture of a preferred future-but where are the ideas? Where is the vision and foresight? Where do our leaders see Namibia in the next 20-40 years? We are yet to see and hear a concrete plan to create jobs and deal with our broken education system. We are yet to hear of how our leaders plan to stimulate the business sector and create opportunities for Namibians.

Yes, a lot of progress has been made under the leadership of my SWAPO GOVERNMENT but we've been waiting for 20 years to see some tangible results; to see change come to the common man. Enough with the talk and statistical progress. leadership is about results and the absence of results simply means that leadership has failed.

I know that the ruling SWAPO party and government take most of the blame for what is happening in our country, but the opposition have no cause for celebration either. Most of their leaders have also been part of the legislative since Independence. It's very easy to sit in the grand stand and watch the game on the pitch and have ideas of how the players can do better and score.

In other words, the opposition too has offered nothing concrete in dealing with the challenges we have in our motherland. How many jobs will they create if elected to power? How will they reform our education system? How will they help Namibians to create wealth? Talk is cheap and until these parties come up with very REAL solutions and a VISION, they do not deserve to be elected into power. Mark my words.

Leadership is all about confidence. It must display power without being forceful. It must exhibit strength and courage without constantly reminding people of who's in charge. Leadership must have quite strength and command respect without stepping on people's rights and ideas. This, however, has not been the case in our young democracy.

Some leaders have become M A S T E R S (Ookanyamukulwa, lazy and unable to produce and deliver us from poverty. Can we agree to disagree? Can we have a robust debate without being intimidated or seen as not having respect for the elders? Can we be allowed to criticize positively without insults and still see ourselves as Namibians wanting the best for their country? Most of our leaders need to grow up and someone must be the bigger person.

Charisma in leadership only goes so far. There must be a turning point that ushers in transformation. The time is now! Twenty-two years is more than enough. We the people also have a part to play in our nation. We need to hold our elected leaders to the fire and ask the tough questions. We easily fall prey to politicians with silver tongues promising the world but we have to ask them; how do you plan on achieving your goals? What kind of a nation are we handing down to our children?

WE must demand that they speak our language and not the common ambiguous political jargon that leaves us scratching our heads and my uncle's friend in Onandjaba, Okalongo cannot understand.

WE must demand that they manage our resources well. WE must demand that they deliver per our expectations and those that are serving on SWAPO ticket should do so per the Manifesto of SWAPO PARTY of NAMIBIA. WE must be an active citizenry.

WE also must realize that our leaders will not do everything for us; we have a part to play. WE must be innovative and demand that our leaders create an atmosphere in which our innovative spirits can thrive. WE must be active participants in the creation of our national destiny and wealth.

Twenty-two years after Independence, what grooming has taken place is a question that the Executive must answer: how many youth/products of UNAM and Polytechnic we have in ambassadorial, Ministerial, CEOs positions do we have?

The following quote by our Founding Father Dr. Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma should be a daily prayer for all our leaders, if they really want to leave us with a better country. "The youth are the strength of this nation. They are our future leaders. They bring unique perspectives that we need to take into account when we plan our future destiny. I, therefore, think that the youth should move to the centre of our planning activities in Namibia. We can no longer afford to keep them at the periphery."

Imms Shawanametiti Nashinge
School of Politics


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
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