12 EDITORIAL NEWS Friday, February 16 2018| | NEW ERA 208 0318 Wasteful spending The hour has come President Hage Geingob has without doubt started the year assertively and positively. His administration wants to see a reduction in wasteful spending and effective pragmatic cost-cutting. Geingob wants all ministries they are found wanting in their duties. He made it crystal clear that all bureaucratic bottlenecks and inefficiencies be remedied forthwith. He issued an instruction that only essential foreign trips be allowed as abused this privilege as they seemed mostly interested in the hefty subsistence and daily allowances that went into their pockets and there was little or no value accrued from such trips. A lot of meaningless domestic trips are also being initiated by guise of duty. Some officials undertake these trips merely to claim overtime, and maybe an audit should be undertaken and those found wanting also be held accountable. During these times of budgetary constraints, we should look for more innovative ways to rein in unnecessary spending, such as to to use teleconferencing facilities as this will save us a fortune. Teleconferencing is one of the most underrated tools in this age of IT technological advances, yet geographical regions or towns to hold discussions with others in a different town. Another area of concern that needs immediate remedy is the issue of some their duties to the weekend so that they could claim ‘overtime’. Some officials are never in their duties to weekends or public holidays so that they are paid ‘overtime’. We need to halt this satanic double-dipping. Another issue is officials attending the annual traditional events organised by their chiefs of government or SOEs under ministries and SOEs. This is illogical because all the regions have governors that represent the government. We are not saying these events add little value to these institutions. Those delegated to represent Namibia at any of the workshops, seminars and other meetings should not travel for the sake of S&T. We improved service delivery and for the sake of S&T or merely to shop, amounts to indirect looting of our meagre public resources and it puts our national coffers under undue pressure, considering the fact there are so many competing needs that our developmental state should cater for. Government has a social it to provide public roads, quality healthcare, public schools, pay teachers and avail social grants to the needy, among others. The evil of corruption manifests itself in many ways. It should be fought tooth and nail on all fronts by all Namibians. If left unchecked this we will, as a nation, fail to provide for the most basic of requirements for our children such as schools and health services. Equally heartening is the pronouncement by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Leon Jooste, that board meetings be reduced to a allowances would be paid and that if there are more than four such meetings this should be done on a pro-bono basis. Some unscrupulous boards have made a killing, scheduling numerous meetings in a year, which is unacceptable. The new restriction We hope the various ministers will take a cue from Geingob and halt wasteful spending. We do not deserve the Kavango River The water crisis in Rundu has gone beyond the tolerance level of the people living in the surrounding areas of the town. For the past few days all the mal-administration roads led to the town council of of water affairs and environmental health. It is now crystal clear that people who eat at the same tables with the kings do not care about the peasants who take them to the tables. It should be known to the nation that Rundu Town Council has failed us, the people living in Rundu, and it is not a secret as any resident can now attest to this. Bad talk in the country has now become our trademark. Just recently Honorable Sylvia spoke of the cleanliness around the town to be deteriorating. As if this was not enough to awaken the council members sleeping in the in and around the town. Namibia hepatitis E and cholera, the council of Rundu on the other side is busy working against us by adding fuel The council has forced local residents to get water from the river and what happens to our health they do not care. Rundu Town Council is making it a habit of either disconnecting power or cutting off water frequently and this the residents of Rundu can no longer tolerate. Hage Geingob, please with all the powers invested in you, come look into our situation urgently, please. Our cries are in vain. We are thus calling upon all responsible authorities outside the council of Rundu to come to our rescue. this and wherever they are they should be praying that God destroys Rundu in the same way he destroyed Sodom and Gomorah. We do not put of Eldorado that you promised to us. It is your constitutional right to leave the air-conditioners in your for the people that put you there. We did not gain independence to come and drink water directly from the river and neither did we gain independence to come live in the darkness. We the youth of Rundu are very smart and we wouldn’t mind investing the knowledge that we get from universities in the other regions of Namibia if you, our leaders, refuse to cooperate with the masses of people that you claim * Haikera Hendrick 21-year old education student at the University of Namibia firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, February 16 2018| NEW ERA thought leaders 13 With a busy election schedule, Africa needs a reversal of the old order The winds of change may blow in several directions across Africa this year as a host of countries prepare for elections. But a change in power is not always synonymous with change in governance. In Africa, very often, a new face in power does not signal change of the system of governance. The continent is set for a busy 2018 electoral year. In the past presidential, legislative, or local elections, or a combination, have had a destabilising if not devastating effect due to pre and post-election transparency issues and accompanying protests, violence and political instability. However, when conducted well, elections have also brought hope for a better future. Ghana and Benin are good examples. The year ahead will not be any different. On the one hand, the expected end of Joseph Kabila’s tenure in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) might bring momentous change to the country. to foresee better days for South Sudan. Others might also depart before elections. Early departures? All eyes are on Pretoria where the ruling African National Congress has asked President Jacob Zuma to resign following the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as ANC president and South Africa’s next president. [Zuma resigned on as president on 14 February and Ramaphosa took over as the acting president]. And seven years after the Jasmine Revolution that ousted the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians are back on the streets. The wave that took away Ben Ali now threatens to sweep the government of Beji Caid Essebsi. Presidential seats at stake The DRC has added more instability to its already complex situation. The country has been embroiled in a political and institutional crisis since Joseph Kabila extended amend the constitution to remove the disposition preventing him from running for a third term. He has twice postponed presidential elections, despite signing the December 2016 agreement whose main clause was to have presidential and legislative elections held by December 2017. Kabila’s failure to hold elections by the December 2017 deadline has led to mounting national protests, which the regime has crushed. Increasing national and international pressure might see Kabila out in 2018 unless he amends the constitution. In Cameroon, Paul Biya, 85, in power since 1982, should be up for re-election in October. Although there is no indication that he will relinquish power, he has faced dissensions and separatist claims from so-called Anglophone Cameroon and is believed to be suffering from ill-health. The current lack of succession plans if Biya does not run, leaves room for speculation and uncertainty. In Madagascar, concern reigns in the run-up to the presidential election at the end of this year, which should see incumbent Hery Mohamed M Diatta Rajaonarimampianina face up his two predecessors Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina. The island, with a tumultuous history, has been prey to institutional instability since 2001. There are fears this will happen again. Three countries, South Sudan, Libya and Mali, plagued by instability for some years, are expected to hold presidential elections this year. Strong uncertainties prevail in South Sudan and Libya where negotiations for peaceful settlements have yielded little tangible results. In Mali the government does not control large parts of its territory and is not immune to terrorist attacks. No surprise will come from Cairo where, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, will certainly be reelected president of a country he now controls unchallenged. Longevity and power sharing dilemmas In West Africa, Togolese Faure Gnassingbé appears as a poor student to power in 2005 in a quasi-dynastic political ‘transition’, replacing his father, General Gnassingbe Eyadema, who had been in power for 38 years. Re-elected in 2015, he has, since August 2017, faced massive and sustained popular protests demanding institutional reforms and the end of his family’s 50-year rule. The Economic Community of West African States is trying, through negotiations, to restore calm. An uneasy situation is emerging given that Faure is the current chairman of the organisation until June 2018. However, if he completely loses the support of his peers, he might be on his way out. Legislative elections are scheduled to take place by July. Like Togo, Gabon experienced a similar ‘transition’ from father Omar Bongo, who died in power in 2009 after 42 years of rule, to his son Ali Bongo, who replaced him that year. Once a haven of peace in an unstable Central African region, Gabon has tumbled into a crisis since the highly contested presidential election in 2016, which was marred by widespread fraud and deadly repression. Jean Ping, leader of the opposition and former chairperson of the African Union Commission, continues to claim victory. The hardening of the Libreville regime has recently resulted in a constitutional amendment that the opposition characterises as a ‘monarchisation’ of power. Legislative elections planned this year will certainly be a turning point for the country. In Guinea Bissau, the power of José Mario Vaz is in troubled waters, with the appointment of a seventh prime minister since 2014. The opposition has decried the president for overstepping his constitutional prerogatives by monopolising power, in violation of the Conakry agreement signed in 2016, under the aegis of the regional west African body. Vaz runs the risk of sanctions, in the support of the organisation and the protection of the regional troop deployment. This would precipitate his departure and could plunge the country into chaos, in a state that has mostly known military coups and instability. Legislative elections are expected to take place this year. In Chad, the crisis that has affected resource-dependent countries has plagued the economy. This is coupled with Idris Deby’s stronghold on power and his repressive methods. Despite facing civil unrest, he is unlikely to be shaken even though the country is expected to hold legislative elections this year. What the continent needs most are strong institutions, which will only come about with a regeneration of its leadership as well as its political class. This renewal must be rooted in a paradigm shift as embodied with determination, class and panache by Ghanaian president Nana Akufo Addo. – The Conversation * Mohamed M Diatta is a Ph.D. Candidate & Lecturer in Political Science-International Relations, Sciences Po at the Université Sorbonne Paris Cité (USPC). Plans to make Nepad a development agency are pitting the old guard against the reformers Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed at the Nepad orientation committee meeting on the sidelines of the recent African Union (AU) summit. He said that although his country supports the AU reforms proposed by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Algeria is against scrapping Nepad. Algeria was one of the founding members of Nepad. According to the reform plan, Nepad is to be integrated into the AU Commission as the AU Development Agency. “Let me remind you that Nepad was created in 2001 and played an integral part in the continental architecture,” Ouyahia said in Addis Ababa. “Nepad isn’t something that was tagged onto the AU, but represented a new methodological approach.” He is right. In the heady days of the AU’s creation, Nepad and the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) represented a radical shift from the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Both Nepad and the APRM are voluntary organisations. Former South African president Thabo Mbeki and others had so little adopted a two-speed approach, hoping that large states would eventually pull others along. There are strong signs that Nepad and AU reforms are going ahead regardless of objections Jakkie Cilliers, head of African Futures and Innovation at the Institute for Security Studies, describes this new approach as follows: “Mbeki led the charge in making a deal with the West. Instead of imposing the Bretton Woods institutions upon Africa, Africa would assume ownership and self-regulate (through Nepad and the APRM). Nevertheless, it still needed aid and debt relief. This new approach was a major shift in Africa’s relations globally.” Things did not turn out as planned, mainly because once Mbeki stepped down as president Nepad lost its founder and advocate. And without its own funds, Nepad tried to raise money from business people who from the organisation’s continental network. Nepad’s operational costs, according to AU documents, are just over US million annually, excluding programmes. So, despite pleas by the likes of Ouyahia, there is little proof that these huge sums have really been worth it. The Nepad Agency, housed near Johannesburg, produces interesting reports and conferences on pan- African issues like agriculture, health, education and infrastructure. It has introduced innovative data tools, demonstrated by Nepad CEO Ibrahim Mayaki at the AU summit. But it is unclear how this differs from what the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa or the African Development Bank can do – both with much more money and expertise than Nepad. Uneasiness over Nepad’s role crept in several years ago, leading to its transition into the Nepad Agency. More recently, there has been an attempt to align it to Agenda 2063 – Africa’s blueprint for peace and prosperity. Critics must admit that Kagame’s team is the only one with new ideas about the AU. Reforming Nepad into a development agency would mean scrapping the top-heavy structure, led by a head of state. The agency would report to the AU Commission and AU summits, like other AU structures. For now, it looks as if the new development agency will remain in Johannesburg – a good location for a business-orientated venture. According to one high-level AU the aim is to channel funding from donors, members states and the private sector into development projects. Heated discussions in Addis Ababa Nepad’s future, with the outcome postponed to the next AU summit in Mauritania in June/July this year. Meanwhile, the debate around Nepad has raised deep-seated rifts concerning the overall reform of the AU. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), currently chaired by South Africa, complained to AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat that decision-making on AU reform did not follow procedures in the AU’s Constitutive Act. SADC wants more consultation and some of its concerns have already been addressed. Kagame – often accused by AU delegates of trying to impose an authoritarian governance style on the AU – is impatient to move things forward. He has surrounded himself with a team of experts and business people, together with a ‘reform implementation team’ in Mahamat’s There are strong signs that the reforms – on Nepad and other AU issues – are going ahead regardless of the objections from SADC and others. Senegalese President Macky Nepad’s orientation committee and the draft AU summit decisions make no mention of his replacement. This could mean the structure is already being streamlined. Reformists are in the lead in the battle of ideas over the AU’s future This is different from the African Peer Review Mechanism. Chad’s President Idriss Déby will replace Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta as leader of the APRM forum of heads of state. This is good for those who want to keep the APRM alive, but Dèby is probably not best placed to champion an organisation aimed at good governance in Africa. The APRM’s CEO Eddy Maloka seems to have done a better job than Nepad has of marketing the organisation, also based in South Africa. Plans are afoot to position tool – the latest buzzword in UN and AU circles. This is a long shot though, given that some APRM reports have taken up to seven years to be released, long after any Nevertheless, various options are being considered, including shortterm reviews on burning issues. The APRM will also have to harmonise its the AU’s early warning unit. - ISS Today * Liesl Louw-Vaudran, is a consultant for the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).