3 weeks ago

New Era Newspaper Friday March 2, 2018

  • Text
  • Namibia
  • Namibian
  • Windhoek
  • African
  • Ministry
  • Residential
  • Communal
  • Environmental
  • February
  • Unam


12 Friday, March 2 2018 | NEW ERA 2080318 Lessons from across the Orange as Cyril visits Former US President Barack Obama was often criticised for not meeting expectations of some Africans who thought the colour of their skin would earn them automatic favours from America’s 44 th president. But while he may not have met some African expectations, some of them fair and genuine, Obama was always spot on when it came to issues of governance in Africa, the continent of his paternal origins. In his address to the Ghanaian parliament in 2009, Obama said: “Africa doesn’t need strongmen, it needs strong institutions.” And boy was he right! As South Africa’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa visits Namibia today, we must reflect on some lessons from his country, especially with regards to strong institutions. Say what you may about South Africa, especially the scandals that rocked it during President Jacob Zuma’s reign, that country has been consistently dug out of its troubles by its strong institutions. Simply put, South Africa is a robust democracy. The fact that the country’s Constitutional Court could find a sitting president guilty of violations – to the extent that he had to personally return to the State money spent on his Nkandla home – is among the strongest indications of what a functioning democracy South Africa is. Elsewhere on the continent, courts and other critical institutions of governance are in the back pockets of political rulers. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one shining example of State institutions failing at an industrial scare. President Joseph Kabila’s term ended ages ago but he remains in power, allegedly due to lack of funds to hold elections. This is the kind of Africa we loathe to see in this time and age. Embarrassing stuff! South Africa’s Public Protector’s office, which rose to particular fame during Thuli Madonsela’s reign, is another example of an institution impregnable from political pressure, and whose investigations and findings were the catalyst of Zuma’s hard fall from grace. Also, the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the Commission for Gender Equality, the Auditor- General and the Electoral Commission are also doing an impeccable job in that country. It is thus true that when institutions are strong, the president does not matter. Differently put, when a country’s institutions are strong and have integrity, it is immaterial who the president is. If Uganda had strong State institutions in the 1970s, Idi Amin would probably have been a less brutal dictator, if at all one. Namibia’s strongest institutions are probably the courts, who, to their credit, have persevered in terms of integrity and impartiality. The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), apart from perennial teething technical glitches, is also a credible institution despite what some people – especially those who lose elections – may say. But many other local State institutions have been turfs for outside influence, manipulations and, for lack of a better word, abuse. This is not why Namibian freedom fighters went to war and perished. Weak institutions weaken democracy too, so there is a lot at stake when institutions are not strengthened. OPINION Julius Malema’s diminishing political options • Stephen Grootes The real agenda of Julius Malema, and the Economic Freedom Fighters party he leads, has long been a mystery. Throughout his eventful career he has changed tack on several issues, not least his support and then disgust for Jacob Zuma. Over the last few days he has managed to once again be the very centre of political attention, after convincing, or forcing, the ANC to back his motion to change the Constitution to expropriate land without compensation. Then, flushed with victory, he claimed he was going to remove the DA from power in Nelson Mandela Bay, and possibly other metros. He revels in the position of kingmaker. But in a realpolitik world his position is increasingly precarious, and the good options are fewer than it would seem to an outside observer. For a group of people who claim to be revolutionaries, the EFF are surprisingly prickly when criticised in public. If you do it, your Twitter timeline is going to be filled with pushback for days afterwards. This may be the result of the fawning media attention they have received because of the role they played during the latter stage of the Zuma era. Anyone pushing against Zuma was media gold, and their own mistakes or negative issues were often left alone. But things are changing, Zuma is no longer in power, and a Cyril Ramaphosa-led ANC, and the entire country, poses much tougher challenges for opposition parties. Walking out of Parliament in a huff probably won’t work again any time soon, and that means Malema has to try to take charge of the political agenda. To do this, he has to tilt to the one enemy he has left, the political right, the party he can claim to be “white” and protecting the rich. It was probably that understanding which led to his recent attacks on the DA, and his claim that he must punish them for not backing the motion to expropriate land. It is often a mistake to take a politician at their word; their stated intention is not necessarily their real one. Malema has previously said he would “kill for Zuma” – then fought against him. He also promised never to leave the ANC and form his own party. This means we can take his claim that he is only doing this to punish the DA with a hefty pinch of sodium chloride. He knew the DA’s position on land expropriation when he voted in their favour in Tshwane and Joburg in the first place. And he knows that there is nothing he can do to change the DA’s view on this; this is an issue that touches their core constituency right on its studio. Rather, it is entirely possible that Malema is doing this for his usual reason; because it makes him the centre of attention. But his choice of target is revealing in itself. Malema says that the EFF will propose a motion to remove the DA’s Athol Trollip as mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. He has gone even further, suggesting that he will back the ANC if they put up a “credible candidate”. This inevitably leads to speculation that he is preparing to go back to the ANC. However, Malema is not really punishing the DA at all. The party of Mmusi Maimane has enough, just enough, seats through its coalition in Nelson Mandela Bay to remain in power. Which means that an EFF-sponsored confidence motion, even with the presumed backing of the ANC, will still fail. And if Malema wanted to really punish the DA, he would not have to take up an advanced degree in rocket science first. All he would have to do is to propose the same motions in Tshwane and Joburg. But he hasn’t done that. And he hasn’t done that for the same reason that he instructed his councillors to vote in favour of Herman Mashaba and Solly Msimanga in the first place. Because he had campaigned hard against the ANC, and he cannot now be accused of betraying the people who voted for him. In so many ways, his problem remains exactly the same as it has always been. After campaigning so hard against the ANC, he can’t just go back. Imagine, for a moment, he were to hand Tshwane and Joburg back to the ANC. In Tshwane, that would mean the people who actually attack each other over the spoils of corruption would be in power, while in Joburg a group of people who can’t run a billing system would be in office. Now, what would happen to the EFF in next year’s elections? They would have lied to voters, and risk being badly punished. That means that Malema would actually be in a weak negotiating position to discuss any possible return to the ANC – weak because he couldn’t bring much to the table. At the same time, he can’t really go back to the ANC before those elections. Even if it suited Ramaphosa personally to have Malema back in the ANC (and that is by no means a foregone conclusion), he would probably have his work cut out convincing the rest of the ANC to take the EFF leader back. In such a case Malema would be dependent on the man who brought him back in, Ramaphosa, who also happens to be a man accused many times by the EFF of being responsible for the Marikana massacre. His chances of achieving high office through the Ramaphosa-led ANC look slim from this vantage point. While Malema may be able to forestall these problems for a while, and simply keep charting the path he has, a Ramaphosaled ANC could turn out to be an 800-pound political gorilla which will be hard to oppose. Malema may soon need to change tactics, now that the ANC has stolen one of his biggest policy planks. And there are limits to how much anger he can express towards the DA’s core constituency of white people before he starts to cross some important lines. At the same time, he is growing more and more vulnerable to the charge of hypocrisy. A man who claims to represent the poor has still not found a way to make the overalls match the wristwatch. During the parliamentary election that saw Ramaphosa emerge as President, Malema refused to be part of the proceedings, claiming there should be early elections. He said the reason for this was that they didn’t want to be involved in “some career-driven elite pact”. And yet he claims to be prepared to force a change of power in Nelson Mandela Bay without an election there, and simply because the DA did something that he always knew they would do. The longer this kind of thing keeps happening, and he is forced to make more and more decisions based on short-term tactics, the more likely he is to find that his voters start to see through him. Solving that problem would be quite difficult to do. Malema would not have got this far without being incredibly savvy. He is a gifted politician. But, as with Zuma, decisions made for shortterm reasons can eventually pile up, and leave you with few cards left to play. Unless he does some drastic moves, he risks being stuck in a tight political corner. – Daily Maverick

thought leaders NNFU and affiliates must find each other Page 15 Namibian surveillance state: A response to Frederico Links A certain Frederico Links wrote an article, titled, ‘The rise of the Namibian Surveillance State’ which appeared twice in The Namibian newspaper – of Friday 16 February 2018 and Friday 23 February 2018. In his article, Frederico argues that, “The formalising of repressive tendencies and security creep should become major concerns on the Namibian political and democratic landscape this year as a number of proposed policy initiatives threaten to undermine a range of constitutionally enshrined human rights.” He further reported that the Namibia Central Intelligence Service (NCIS) buying CellXion’s IMSI-catcher machine, and the proposed SIM card registration regime – as major areas of concern. In my considered view, Frederico missed the point why every country has an institution of government such as NCIS and the acquisition of CellXion’s IMSI-catcher. To spy on citizen/s is the least on the priority list of execution of any progressive government. Only a predatory or failed government can spy on its citizens. Intelligence must be understood as a vital instrument of the state and a profession which satisfies a patriotic desire. Intelligence is about protecting the country and citizens from external and internal threats; it is about economic security, environmental security, social security, protecting visitors, properties and natural resources, etc. Frederico ought to focus on a broader picture of intelligence than limiting himself on spying. Although intelligence is secret by nature, a better understanding, application and relevance of intelligence in democracy and national development must be shared. In security studies, we were meant to understand that intelligence is the secret information collected about an enemy, opponent, anybody or a place. This information is discovered, discriminated to assess its reliability and accuracy and thereafter disseminated to the authority for possible action. This is a costly exercise, which requires more money and patriotic support because information is power. Without adequate relevant information forget about Vision 2030 or Harambee Prosperity Plan. If applied correctly, intelligence can provide valuable information on the best way to organize and run our democracy or development based on the best practices of other successful nations. To win the war against corruption we need intelligence. Money meant for development but which have been diverted into Charles Siyauya personal pockets can and has been recovered and recycled back into national development process because of the use of intelligence. To successfully defend the territory and national interests of Namibia requires a lot of intelligence. We can use intelligence to acquire new technology in industrial, military, investments and other areas of development. Therefore spying on individual citizens is not the primary focus of an intelligence officer/agent. The intelligence officer or “assets” are required to uphold professional ethical set standards. Namibian missions abroad must make use of a diplomatic bag/pouch and transmit useful information which can add value to Namibia’s natural resources, solve our macroeconomic challenges, medical advancement, energy supply, food security, policy options, develop new products to use or sell and other innovative ways of doing things. This should be the primary focus of intelligence than spying on innocent citizens. As a democratic country, Namibia is credited for a swift, smooth and successful presidential transition from the first president, second president, to the third president and this too requires a lot of intelligence. Escalating gender-based violence, cross-border crimes, terrorism and others crimes require intelligence to lift the dark cloud of suspicion and fears of what will happen next. The authority requires information in full and on time in order to take precise decisions in the best interest of the country and its people and not individuals’ interest as suggested by Frederico. It is true, as citizens we have the right to privacy, freedom of association, freedom of expression but one might argue that we do not have absolute rights or freedoms. Our rights are limited which is equally a constitutional provision. Therefore, CellXion’s IMSIcatcher, code named as “The manin-the-middle attack (MITM)” as popularly called at the military school has more functions than spying. It will be correct to state that Frederico’s reporting has compromised our national security and he must be cautioned, immediately, just like Minister Penda ya Ndakolo’s reckless speech in the National Assembly on the N million Orupoko farm purchase, which equally compromised the security operations of the country. The minister too, must be reprimanded. His special advisor must be transferred to a non-security related ministry. Not all military or intelligence acquisitions must be made known to the public. Doing so compromises national security. As civilians, our views are civilian in nature but the fact of the matter is what is happening in Nigeria of the unfortunate missing girls, piracy in the sea, drones all over the globe and cybercrimes, can equally happen in Namibia if intelligence is not fully supported by all of us.. * Charles Siyauya holds a Master of Arts Degree in Security and Strategic Studies from the Military School: Faculty of Sciences, University of Namibia. Views expressed here are his own. Will trade or aid help Namibia’s socio-economic well-being? (Part II) The current trend of our resources being extracted, exploited and shipped out in raw format to EU countries and elsewhere is unacceptable. Imagine how many job opportunities would be created if we were to entirely process our beef here locally. Think of canning this beef and labelling, just to mention two – but the list is endless. Think of fish, which can be cleaned and packaged if not processed into cans that can later be exported to the international markets, including in the EU countries. Think of how the local workforce will be responsible for doing packaging, labelling, etc. Think of how the sun can be transformed into the solar power to light up many parts of the country. Imagine how wires and ammunition could be transformed from copper to benefit local and international markets. Once value is added to these commodities, they ordinarily should be ready to be consumed in the many sectors such as households, schools, hospitals, etc. A great number of our people will benefit from direct employment and their socio-economic wellbeing will be realised. The excess may be exported to countries including those in the EU region. And this is why beneficiating our resources and turning them into trade instruments will have a positive impact on our economy. It is, therefore, reasonable to argue that trade, as opposed to aid, is a blessing to the socio-economic well-being of our nation. For trade to take place between Namibia and the international community, including the EU, agreements are a sine qua non. Namibia is part of the international community by virtue of Article 144 of Act No. 1 of 1990 (Constitution of the Republic of Namibia). When trade agreements between Namibia and other states are negotiated and entered into, it is of paramount importance that those representative(s) acting on our behalf bear in mind that Namibia comes first and foremost. When agreements are entered into, those tasked with the responsibility to negotiate on our behalf must be cognisant of the fact that most of our people still live in abject poverty. The negotiator(s) must be mindful of the fact that any agreement(s) that does not help assuage the poverty situation in Namibia is a curse. The Namibian negotiator must be motivated by both the sense of patriotism and sovereignty first and foremost. This is the attitude that must be displayed at these negotiating tables. Namibia should not allow herself to be coerced or bullied into agreements that do not translate into direct prosperity for her own people. These agreements should be made in good faith as per the pacta sunt servanda principle, as espoused in many international contracts and treaties. As can be seen, it is typical of developed nations to bulldoze weaker nations such as Namibia into signing, let alone performing, agreements under duress. This is unacceptable and any agreement that is entered into under duress, misrepresentation or fraud is void. Agreements, be they bilateral or multilateral in nature, must be exemplified in a context that is cognisant of self-determination and sovereignty. It has become common knowledge that agreements between developing and developed countries are not negotiated in good faith due to the dominant behaviour of the latter. Although many appear to be done in the name of reciprocity, transparency is very important. The opposite is true as, in fact, some agreements may bear the hallmarks of neo-colonialism antics and thus hiding behind the concept of multilateralism. This issue of listing Namibia, as a tax haven, is damaging Namibia’s good standing and reputation in doing business with the rest of the world. Who is helping who here in the real context? Is it the EU by way of providing aid to Namibia surely with conditions attached? Or is Namibia by way of enabling trade entering into fair, reasonable and plausible trade agreements and hence creating trade with the rest of the international community? In this context and given the abundance of her resources, Namibia has a lot to offer, which other states may just envy. Endowed with precious resources that some countries may not have, Namibia needs to do her best to develop her local industry, as a matter of urgency. And this should be possible when it is done systematically. Aid will remain aid, as it will have conditions and strings attached to it. Our people must understand that there is just no free lunch in Jambo Shipanga this world and, hence, whatever profession of developmental aid being advanced in any form, it will remain superficiality, and will not address the core issues of the socio-economic well-being of our people in the real sense. If a nation like Namibia should replace its resources and wait for aid in whatever format, it will do that at its own peril. * Jambo Shipanga, Communal Commentator, Windhoek

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167