14 thought leaders Friday, December 8 2017| NEW ERA Women-centric policy and boardroom diversity needed Alisa Amupolo Boardroom gender diversity is increasing and as a female C-suite leader [chief executive] I have more appreciation for that by virtue of my own presence in the boardroom, in a typically male dominated industry that is passive infrastructures in the telecommunications industry, traditionally run by electronic engineers. However, reality dedicate on the one hand that women are still under-represented in the boardroom not only across millennial black women like myself, but across race, age groups, across industries and continents of the world, making it a cross cutting issue. Only 15 percent of the world’s corporations, including America’s Fortune 1000 companies, are run by women and as of 2017 there are only 32 female CEOs on that list. On a lighter note countries like Norway, Sweden and France are pioneers well on their way to reach the equilibrium with 40.1, 33.7 and 33.5 percent representation, respectively. Whilst Africa has made progress on gender equality, only 5 percent of women are CEOs in Africa, according to McKinsey and Co. These statistics are alarming and should not serve as reasons to justify the norm but to challenge the status quo and be intentional as Namibians and Africans about being world leader in gender diversity in the corporates. We need not to wait for then we follow. The Namibian lawmakers have set themselves apart by adopting a 50/50 representation, also referred to as ‘the Zebra style’, and the impact was unparalleled, an effort worth emulating. However corporate Namibia is still playing catch up. We know for a fact companies with strong female leadership generated a return on equity of 10.1 percent. We need to go beyond simply having women in leadership position compared to just 7.4 percent for those without. If you have gender diversity on the board, you can expect greater enhanced problems solving. can make the most of opportunity to achieve gender diversity is by being intentional about it in our corporate policies. We have to seek alignment with national objectives and put in practice the tone of gender equality that has already been set by lawmakers. In my previous role as a strategy and management consultant, I have had the privilege of developing corporate policies that creates the culture and environment for the entity to thrive and yield sustainable results that are value adding and aligned to national objectives. I found that the easiest place to measure the gender equity appetite of any company is through the corporate policies. You can easily deduce that women were missing at the table and there was simply no one to echo their voice in shaping or counter those policies. When present, they are often in support functions rather than in the core business functions, where key decisions are made, let alone at the helm of the company. A conversation needs to happen when designing corporate policies that are women centric. There must be threshold levels for achieving gender diversity, and incentive to attract and retain more women in the corporate boardroom where key decisions are made. There must then be penalties for not achieving that, apart from the obvious low I have observed companies both that have and those that do not have progressive policies that embrace female employees. I have had experiences where corporate policies, at design stage, did not foresee women in the c-suite and were caught off guard when a maternity case arose, because men had predominantly run the company. We have heard companies that would not interview pregnant woman as a thumb rule, and it is retarded. Similarly, we have heard companies where people, including women, get agitated if a new female employee, no matter at what level, is fall of employment. Whereas having a family is a human right. This is not to suggest that women whilst enjoying the employment security without being productive at work or adding value to the bottom line. We have heard of companies that rub it in expectant mothers’ faces that the current labor law does not require companies to pay the gap for women above the N,000 social security threshold. Corporates should be interested in protecting their females’ employees from annual leaves for expectant women without being ask by lawmakers to do so. We should be celebrating a progressive corporate culture that is not to the detriment of our male counterpart but to collective effort towards prosperity for all that does not discriminate based on gender. None of us had the privilege to choose our gender at birth. All in all, we need to be deliberate about our corporate policies, and move away from women being understudies or deputies to men, and normalize men being deputies to women, serving under women leadership. We should embrace women’s powerful emotions, transparency and integrity as an asset to our boardroom that has tangible value. Happy Women’s Day and Human Right’s Day beloved Namibia! This year will be remembered as a watershed year in terms of the configurations of our political party life. There is hardly any opposition to the governing party, and what is left of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), the Congress of Democrats (CoD) the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) now the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) the South West Africa National Union (SWANU), the Republican Party (RP) and other smaller interest groups that humour themselves as political parties is to all intents and purposes games of not-so-like-minded people with excessive political ambitions, but with no thought-through alternatives to offer to the voters of the Land of the Brave. We are stuck with old answers! By the looks of things, the top leaders of these parties serve them as long as they are at the top and as soon as they are dislodged by age or other factors, they run back to Swapo, understandably to secure a resting place at the Heroes Acre. This is very sad indeed as the poor followers of these tombstone seekers are left with a deep apathy to participate in genuine electoral democracy. This leaves the country with only one credible lot, the ruling party Swapo. But Swapo itself will no longer be the same after this year’s developments which culminated in the epoch making elective congress that left Namibia not only as One Party or Dominant Party state but practically a One Man Show from now onwards. President Geingob needs all our support after he was given an overwhelming mandate to More questions than answers do as he pleases and as he will place for the next two years, till the time of the Pot in 2019. By all accounts the President will be a very lonely man—with a very mediocre central committee (CC) and a political bureau of yes-folks, who by their very character and non-experience in managing the affairs of a liberation movement turned political party are just not the right mix to help him. These men and women, a good number of them high school drop-outs who cannot be expected to appreciate President Geingob’s agenda of marrying continuity with change on the one hand and combating poverty to create a model nation in Afrika on the other. The few god ones in both the CC and PB will have to spend most of their time hand-holding the rest just to understand what is at stake. Compare our situation to the Chinese ruling class where all the men in the political bureau and its structures are very few, all of whom have gone through the structures of the party and have been schooled in party discipline and ideological orientation towards the Chinese people and the world in which China is to reposition itself. In essence each one of the members of the political bureau of China is ready to take over the stewardship of that country at any time! The challenges of governing Namibia going forward are more severe than they have ever been. leaders for this and that, let us work with the lessons we have learned, particularly by way of the elective congress of the only credible political party in the land. Whether we like it or not, our reality is that Swapo is the only game in town. In all honesty, Namibia is Swapo and Swapo is Namibia. It is perhaps better to name the lessons we learned by way of posing the following questions: * Was the way in which the campaign was conceived of and conducted, with so many candidates the only way to do it, and the only and/or best candidates in the party if the bone of contention was the redemption of the soul of the Swapo Party? * Have we become a nation where political associations are no longer based upon like-mindedness around issues and programs but our hostility towards someone or some people? * Knowing what was at stake, then why did we wait till the last minute to start the campaign? * Is our national politics informed by rationality about issues and national interests or by temporal friendships and irrational bonds? * Is the return of tribalism that we see NOT tribalism per se, or rather the manifestation of a lack of a national philosophy and the absence of champions of a uniting ideology whose leadership is monitored by a hierarchy of principles and values that in turn lift up the nation above the interests of individuals or pressure groups wherever they might be? * Did this elective congress of our governing party not give the nation an assortment of half-educated, below mediocre and ideologically unsound people who are likely to be susceptible to being told what to think and do instead of leaders ready to act on their conscience based upon established norms, principles and values? In other words are the barbarians at the gate? * Is it true that the politics of Namibia has become like FIFA where the bidder who promises the best rewards to the electors will have his name in the white envelope but that is pre-determined by the contents of the brown envelopes that are exchanged prior to the actual voting? Is this not compounded in our situation by the fear factor, where the one with the most realistic threats of job security and insecurity and impact on people’s livelihood is the most likely automatic winner?
Friday, December 8 2017 | NEW ERA thought leaders 15 Old Location Massacre, what a travesty of history This Sunday is International Human Rights Day. But for Namibia and by Namibians the day is known variously. To some as Women’s Day. To others as Old Location Massacre Day. Yet to others as Swanu Day. However, one would wish to remember the day and call it. All these difference references relates to one political epoch in the struggle of the Namibian people for lib- and refers to December 10, 1959, when black Namibians protesting the forceful removal by the South African Police forces stationed in the county, then referred to in colonial parlance as South West Africa, were gunned, and as result 13 of the protesters died at the bullet of the South African Police. The Old Location Cemetry were the 13 were laid to rest, is today a national shrine. Once again this Sunday the day is being commemorated as has become a tradition over the last 59 years since the massacre. But perhaps typical of the different denominations that the day seem to have assumed, and amplification of the historical amnesia of postcolonial Namibia, obviously a derivative and blind heritage of the colonial strategy of suppression of the history of the indigenes, to maintain and perpetuate colonialism and Apartheid, strangely such amnesia seem to have been continuing to manifest itself. For what reason only those who have been perpetuating this amnesia can tell. Because in the days of colonialism and Apartheid, this was meant to maintain the colonial hegemony. But in a free and independent Namibia, what hegemony? Your guess is as good as any. Listening to some hierarchical personas expounding on the celebrations this Sunday one could deduce little historical context of the day other than a vague reference to the international dimension of the day as par International Human Rights Day as the day is known internationally. With only a passing if not tacit reference to the actual context of the day in Namibia. Which is the 1959 massacre. Reminding one once again of the harsh reality of the continuing amnesia among many Namibians as far as the history of this country is concerned. With those with access to the media readily, whether consciously or unconsciously, perpetuating such amnesia. I am aware that in some sections of the Namibian society, this day has also been referred to as Ovita vyo Mawe (Battle of Stones), a reference to the sheer bravery of the protesters to dare the armed Apartheid South African Police with only stones as their weapons on December 10, 1959. Yet, to others, it has been referred and known as Ovita vya Katemune (Battle of Katemune). Katemune is the indigenous name of one of the ringleaders of the 1959 protest, Eliphas Tjingaete. It is any wonder whether to this day any of the streets, especially in modern day Hochland Park, yesteryears Old Location, has been and shall ever be named after him. It is hard to imagine given the terminal amnesia about the Namibian history. One cannot but also on this occasion of the 58 th anniversary of the Old Location Massacre, pay homage to Tjingaete and others, as well as John Tjikanguka Garvey Muundjua, one of the ring leaders of the 1959 protest, who passed on this June in buried at the Old Location Cemetry. “As we are writing this letter a proclamation has been issued by the Chief Magistrate of Windhoek preventing the Africans not only from holding meetings, but any group of Africans, this has been declared as illegal. Therefore, as a result of this proclamation the old location is being patrolled by the police every night. This provocative attitudes of the fascist govt. has again cause an enormous degree of unrest and bitterness among the residents of the Old Location, as it reminds them of the 10 th and 11 th December, 1959, when lives were lost.” Reads an excerpt from his petition to the United Nation’s Fourth Committee as Acting Vice President of Swanu. Hence, also the reference to this day as Swanu for the leadership and activism the party provided that time. It is any guess to what extent those converging on the Old Location Cemetry this Sunday shall ever have the memories of the likes of John Garvey Tjikanguka Muundjua. By the way he is a Namibian veteran just because of, among others, his role and leadership in the 1959 protest and subsequent petitions to the UN. Thus one cannot but be worried that there seems to be little or no reference at all, in Namibia herself, to the local historical context of International Human Rights. Despite the fact that there are living embodiments of the day in people like Dr Zed Ngavirue, Moses Kavitjimo Katuuo, Nora Schimming-Chase, Ottilie Abrahams, Mburumba Kerina, Ester Kavari, to emntion but a few. All these and many others are living witnesses to the Old Location Massacre but have been conspicuously absent from events marking the day year in and year out, let alone the mere opportunity of their years ago. What a travesty of history? Democracy is alive and well in Swapo Many people might think that the 6th Congress of the Swapo Party was only about election and nothing else, although it is true that some delegates were only interested in the election and its outcome. For an experienced congress that the sixth congress of the Swapo Party was more than just election be more about the discussion of our policies and activities, review of our position on the progress chart and more of an inquest to the service delivery to the people as expected. The run-up to the sixth congress of confusion to the average voter in Namibia and beyond. Our party has instruments that are living documents as well as enabling policies. The irony to the average voter is that it causes confusion when the documents are vividly made reference to during the run-up to congresses only. It does turn to make wonder whether these instruments are ignored deliberately or not made use of. It creates an impression of disunity and chaos and it somewhat spells animosity between comrades. The truth is that contests by nature are competitive and the degree of Juuso Kambueshe be confusing. We are thus dutybound to declare to the average voter that it is time to clear up the confusion and declare that there is all the love for the mighty Swapo and each other, hence no violence and/or under-the-belt comments towards one another during the run-up to congress and for that we have a lot to be thankful for. posed is whether democracy is well in Swapo. There was to a certain degree a centre of power and political terminology of power. Successive planning and continuous grooming of young leadership were also some elements that were interrogated especially by yours truly. The biggest question posted was whether any single candidate or acclamation carried any probable value or was it a precedent worth its weight in gold in an organisation founded on the principles of democracy. The latter was comprehensively answered by the central committee during the run-up to congress – as you all know 11 candidates contested out of a potential 12. This was as a result of the constitutional mandate executed by the Central Committee of Swapo. This is unpresented and we must count our blessings as an organisation and as a country more so the leadership of the party, its principles of democracy – this was done collectively. We salute you all. I should say that there is somewhat a sigh of relief from this end because in a mass-based organisation opinions, however well-crafted and substantiated into solid arguments, still run a risk of being populated with an undercurrent of onslaught towards the messenger of an unpopular idea – however accurate, constitutional and sound his idea might be, to an extent I would say thank you to the Swapo Party rank Political commentators suggested that democracy is becoming vulnerable in our Swapo Party – however like many things that need transition, it undergoes a degree of vulnerability before it recovers wholly. Delegates and observers will testify that in the Swapo Party, contribution to the strengthening of the organic unity of the party and the political consciousness of its oiled. The substantive evidence of this was displayed during congress and without a doubt all present will agree that we all have the party interest at heart. Delegates will testify that in the Swapo Partry congress freedom of expression was highly present, opinions were expressed freely without fear or favour and contributions to discussions and participation of decisions of congress were executed to perfection for the betterment of our party. The question of pursuit of inner party democracy and succession planning was answered on the morning of 27 November 2017 – the list of the Central Committee of Swapo is testament to this and the subsequent Politburo. The results of congress were undisputed and the highly credible The only question left to ask is who, and what, is Swapo Party? I know many comrades that will keenly reply to this with many colourful adjectives. I think that it is undisputed that the 6th congress demonstrated that Swapo Party is still well anchored to continue delivering services to the people. The 6th Congress demonstrated that Swapo rewards and empowers its cadres and it is a leading organisation in southern Africa geared towards the development and empowerment of the younger generation. The mighty that it is well aligned with its mission and it is well on par to continue collaborating with the masses to keep the ideology of the party relevant.