12 EDITORIAL Friday, June 30 2017 | NEW ERA Transformational change beckons Ambitious plans announced by the Ministry of Works and Transport to construct earth roads measuring 900 kilometres, as part of its Master Plan for sustainable transport for the four northern regions, will no doubt bring about tangible development to ordinary Namibians. Road infrastructure is the key prerequisite for social and economic development. Road transport is the most used mode of travel, which connects rural areas to urban centres, and this development will therefore bring about radical change. Roads stimulate commerce; unlock investment and facilitate the movement of people, goods and services, which are all linked to development. The entire project will cost N,8 billion, which shows how committed our government is to the development of all the regions and to ensuring no Namibian is left out of government’s development narrative. This is clearly articulated in the National Developments Plans (NDPs), complemented by the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) unveiled by President Hage Geingob, which maps out government’s transformational development trajectory from 2016 to 2020. staying power is anchored in social progression, and more importantly infrastructure development. This includes the construction of roads, bridges, schools, clinics, hospitals and other important social frameworks the country cannot do without. The World Economic Forum (WEF) previously rated Namibia’s road infrastructure as being among the best in the world – similar in quality to roads in Britain and Puerto Rico. This is no small feat for a newly emergent country, and it just shows the seriousness of our government’s engagement in the efforts to provide quality roads and other social infrastructure. Namibia has positioned itself as the gateway to markets in the SADC region and its road network extends beyond its borders. Government, cognisant of Namibia’s advantageous geographical location in SADC, has year after year continued to invest heavily in its roads to ensure the country becomes linked to other countries in SADC, such as Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. Thus, the constant expansion and upgrading of our road network is important towards boosting economic performance both within Namibia, and in the context of SADC – the regional economic and political grouping of which we are a member. Poor road infrastructure, or the lack of investment in this sector, will only hinder our ability to maximise on trade and investment opportunities and this could stunt domestic investment and thus our competitiveness. The majority of the population uses roads to travel around the country because air-transport is unaffordable and trains are out of the question because not all regions have a well-developed railway network. However, road coverage is adequate for the country to move forward because of the constant investment in this sector, as the N,8 billion road construction projects mooted for the northern regions attest to. The fourth edition of the Istanbul Conference on Mediation will take place on 30 June 2017 under the theme of “Surge in Diplomacy, Action in Mediation”. Experts, diplomats, practitioners and scholars from around the world will explore ways and means to promote mediation as a resolution method. been rising globally since Turkey and Finland led the way at the United Nations through the “Mediation for Peace” initiative. The initiative culminated in the establishment of the Group of Friends of Mediation. The Group now has 53 members, including 48 states and 5 international organisations. There has also been substantial improvement in international capacity for preventive diplomacy and mediation within the UN, regional and sub-regional organisations and civil society. The Group has become the leading platform at the UN to promote mediation. It has initiated the adoption of four UN General Assembly Resolutions, which lay the ground for the development of the normative and conceptual framework of mediation. The Group has also contributed to the 2012 “United Nations Guidance for Effective Mediation”, a fundamental document for those who practice and study mediation worldwide. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed his willingness to further develop the UN’s mediation support capacity. His efforts are most commendable. We call on all UN member states to support UNSG Guterres’ broad vision and efforts to prevent and Turkey has been doing her part. Turkey is situated next to a vast region where acute active and is a central feature of Turkey’s enterprising and humanitarian foreign policy. Turkey undertakes various efforts in a wide geographic area from Africa to the Middle East, the Balkans and the Caucasus. She sees peace making in a humanitarian-development nexus. This year, Turkey has again become the most generous nation in the world in terms of per capita humanitarian assistance. Turkey has been hosting the Istanbul Conferences on Mediation since 2012. These landmark conferences are designed to bring together numerous practitioners - activities. The aim of these conferences is to promote synergies between theory and practice and help increase scope, reach and effectiveness of the international community’s mediation efforts. I must pay tribute to the efforts of mediators who engage daily in This year the Conference will explore how mediation methodology and practice can take better account of the needs of the day. In this regard, two questions in particular will be scrutinized. One is the potential of mediation in all namely from prevention to resolution and all the way to peace agreement implementation. The second key question would be the models for greater employment of mediation as a preventive tool in contexts where political, ethnic, religious biases create an environment of hostility. The latter is especially pertinent since we have come to sadly witness extreme tendencies in various forms of political, social and religious animosities. The rise in attacks in Europe against Muslims and migrants is a case in point. Prevention is key. However, prevention would be possible only when societies recognise and learn to respect differences and engage in genuine dialogue and interaction. I believe that mediators, who are well equipped with the cultural situation, can reach remarkable success. For that, we need to train more mediators including at youth level while encouraging more women mediators and equip them with the right tools. Our challenges to make peace the overwhelming reality on a global level are immense. However, we should be able to see the opportunities within those challenges. The readiness and willingness of the international community to build capacity in peaceful resolu- tion must be a priority. As we prepare to welcome participants of the Fourth Istanbul Mediation Conference, I call on the international community to take action in mediation.
| Friday, 30 June thought leaders Tributes have hardly started to evaporate, and tears of sorrow have not started to die, if ever they will, at the physical eternal retreat from this world of workerist, petitioner and freedom fighter, Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, whose soul the country committed to eternal memory last Saturday. The liberation stalwart bowed out of Mother Earth on Friday 9 June, only to be followed two weeks later, on Thursday June 22, by another veteran of Namibia’s struggle for independence, John Tjikanguka Garvey Muundjua. One is beginning to wonder about the month of June, especially that it often seems to coincide with the eternal retirement of colonial resistance, liberation and freedom stalwarts. A flash back to the days of colonial resistance would reveal that Ovambanderu erstwhile Paramount Chief, Kahimemua Nguvauva, and Ovaherero Chief, Nikodemus Kavikunua, were executed together on 12 June 1896, by German colonial troops. Ondonga King, Kambonde, likewise completed his mission in the same month of June in 1909. As recently as 2014, Ovaherero Paramount Chief, Dr Kuaima Riruako, joined his the ancestors in the same month, and earlier this month Ya Toivo and now Muundjua. Surely, the month must go down in the annals of Namibian history as somehow epochal for recalling Namibian stalwarts. Muundjua, amongst others, is credited with an instrumental and pivotal role in the mobilisation and agitation of Africans against their forceful removal by the Apartheid colonial regime in the then South West Africa from the Old Location, today’s Hochland Park residential area in Windhoek, to modern day Katutura. The fact that in 1959 the colonial regime reacted with brutality, resulting in the 1959 massacre in the Old Location, has in some quarters squarely been credited to Muundjua and his fellows. Not surprisingly, because earlier the same year Muundjua, and others like Clement Kapuuo, Reverend Bartholomews Karuaera, Erwin Tjirimuje, Uatja Kaukuetu, Tunguru Huaraka and Dr Zed Ngavirue, were members of the special constitutional committee before the launch of the South West Africa National Union (Swanu) on 27 September 1959. Swanu, which united many Namibian nationalists and Pan Africanists then came to be the main agent agitating against the forceful removal of Africans to Katutura up and until the 1959 massacre, and for Namibian freedom. This weekend Muundjua shall be committed to long lasting memory at the Old Location cemetery, now a national heritage site. This is as per because in the Old Location is where his nationalist seed was planted, watered and germinated. With the forceful removal of Africans from the Old Location to Katutura in the late 1950s, he chose to instead go into self-imposed internal banishment in the Aminuis communal area, instead of cowing to forceful removal. He only returned fortress. Yes, this surely must he his Heroes Acre. Post independence, Muundjua, came to serve his community in many Kavango West reflects on its state of development John Garvey Muundjua, mission accomplished! >> respects, not least on the farming front, having been on the board of Meatco at one point. But corporate governance to him did not come after independence, but dates back to the struggle years when he also served as chairperson of the African Publishing Company, publishers of Suidwes Nuus (South West News). “We feel that a project like ours, the African Publishing Company, which is financed, controlled, managed and owned by Africans, and which has various purposes - could be one of the methods by which your goals would be reached,” Muundjua petitioned the UN General Assembly Committee on South West Africa on 20 September 1960 pleading for assistance in his capacity as board chair. “As we are writing this letter a proclamation has been issued by the chief magistrate of Windhoek preventing Africans not only from holding meetings, but any gathering by a group of Africans has been declared illegal. Therefore, as a result of this proclamation the old location is being patrolled by the police every night. “This provocative attitude of the fascist government has again caused an enormous degree of unrest and bitterness among the residents of the P14 Old Location, as it reminds them of the 10 th and 11 th December, 1959, when lives were lost.” “It is because of this ever growing oppression that our petitioners called upon the United Nations to send a mission to the territory in order that they may verify what the petitioners have been telling them. “This being what the people of S.W.A. have along been wanting, but no to the philosophical euphony of people such as Mr. E. Kennedy who maintains that sending a commission would make the situation more tense,” John Garvey Muundjua wrote in yet another petition on December 10, 1960 to the United Nations, then as vice president of SWANU. Today there are people with names such as Karapio. In fact, this should be Carpio. This is after U.N.’s South West Africa Committee chairperson, Victorio D. Carpio of the Philippines, who led this committee’s delegation to the then South West Africa in 1962. This came after South Africa had for long refused the UN such a visit. Namibia obtained independence on 21 March 1990 with the implementation of the Namibian peace process supervised by the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG). John Garvey Muundjua has surely completed his mission. The Curse of the Future Upon Us (Part 1) What shall future generations say about us? Will we be thanked, praised or cursed? Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and other political systems in the world that raped their societies are cursed by subsequent generations. Those who come after the experiences societies bear the blame; the brunt of the resentment of their peers in the world to the extent that future generations change their names in avoidance of associations with evil. This enquiry seeks not to indict our leaders or organizations but requires an honest answer from with whatever size the spheres of Way too often, we heap all blame upon our leaders and conceal our own shortcomings and dereliction of duty in the life of our nation. We all have some responsibility to bring our bit to the common good today and to mortgage a better future for the youth and coming generations. Thanks to the gallant leaders who brought us where we are today, we live in a nation and no longer in homelands. Namibia is not what it was before independence. Namibia is a Republic, meaning that our order of governance is a contractual relationship between those who govern and those who are governed. In this system, authority and power to govern come strictly from the people who in turn reserve the right to recall as per agreement. In essence, this compact means that those in power fear the electorate and not the other way around. This is so because; in a Republic, the governor and the governed have a responsibility of mutuality to each other. Good governors are both the consequence as well as the expression of those who are governed. Elected leaders are as good or as bad as those who choose them. Leaders in government, civil society, churches, private sector, youth and education institutions, have a share in our future based upon the relationships we are forging and what we are doing in the present. Many years from now, where will our name as a generation appear on the pages of critical history? Our sins are in our failings to assist one another in the following terrains: LACK OF COLLECTIVE SENSE OF HISTORY: History is never a linear or straight line, but a more or less objective account by a more or less honest observer of something, which with a greater or lesser degree of accuracy, happened or did not happen at all. As Namibians in our diversity, we do not have the same memories of events that are of importance to our existence and which explain or justify the spaces we hold in our changing society right now as we are at a crossroads of our civilization. Our memories run along these lines: as tribes, as races, as ethnicities, as language groups, as sexes, as members of same church denominations, as unfree and stateless people. Herein rest the main foci of our differences, disparate remembrances of where we come from, and what we did and why we did what we did cause us to behave in manners at variance with what we profess we ought to be as citizens of one Republic. Our narratives of how we got here are not the same. Our histories deliver in us winners and losers, bad fellows and high priests of correctness who can make no errors and who are now entitled to have, receive, distribute power and resources and even loot resources that belong to all of us now. Our claims of history and our relevance therein are inconsistent present records and the future will remember as the truth. Political leaders, business people, civil society, religious leaders and followers, rich and poor, alike are saddled with the same encumbrances of historical dissonances. The good examples of this are in the revolutions that rocked the world to the surprise and chagrin of those who believed that they were in charge. For instance, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and his family have been in prison since 2011 when the youth-led the State House after he had ruled for 30 years. His colleague the Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali after the uprising in the land he ruled for 23 years. What caused the Arab revolution were essential factors, rising unemployment amongst the youth, rampant corruption amongst the political elite and shrinking press freedom. These leaders ignored or dismissed signs at the peril of the humiliation that met them in the end. Like these Arab leaders and loyal supporters, we in Namibia are choosing to ignore the signs of socio-political decay, and when we are told, we blame and hate the messenger. What remains true is that history does not repeat itself but starts all over again, and treats all the players as original. LACK OF COLLECTIVE VISION: A vision is seeing the not yet in the face of the right now, it is living in the future in spite of the bad experiences of now. The troubles we are facing today, namely greed, intolerance, corruption, tribalism, non-performance and abuse of the resources placed under our care are the results of the statements of vision we have made and continue to make about our country and nation. Our nation and country comprises very many elements of which we are not even aware, yet pronounce ourselves as if we know and care. The fact of the matter is that we do not know who and where Namibians and are – never mind care about their wellbeing. We general wellbeing of those who we do not allow to be heard. None of the leaders of our established political parties that have vision statements have been able to epitomize a clear and inspirational picture of a future Namibia in such a way that the rest of us feel moved to be associated with that desired future state. The governing party got it right during the struggle for national independence when it articulated a message that persuaded people, especially the youth, to sacrifice for a better Namibia wherein they saw freedom and a better life for themselves and all others. In all fairness the leadership of the liberation movement beat the clarion call of drums for the future, so much so that young people left their homesteads to be part of that grand dream of a free and independent Namibia wherein citizens lived as equals, in peace and happiness with their dignity restored. After independence, our political party politics have not been able to articulate a clear vision for the country apart from the intermittent platitudes uttered at party events. At the moment, political party visions are stronger than the national vision. Vision 2030 is a good political and development program – not a vision per se as it has not been able to dwarf and replace the divisive messages of political parties. Right now Vision 2030 is in all fairness dead. This is what the late Tatekulu Ya Toivo tried to imbue in the national body politic. Namibia is not a nation yet, but an assortment of political party fearpreneurs trying to outcompete one another without distinct rules of the same game. (To be continued)