14 thought leaders Friday, March 2 2018| NEW ERA In response to Mandela Kapere on German assistance Mandela Kapere’s article in last Friday’s edition of New Era (23 February) should not remain unanswered, as it contains a deliberate misconstruction of facts which carries the risk to mislead his readers about Germany and its people. So, to begin with, it is necessary to set the record straight. During the meeting with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia and Heads of Missions representing the European Union and some of its member states in Namibia, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany Christian Schlaga did answer the Namibian President’s question how Germany contributes to fight structural social inequality in Namibia with, in essence, the following remarks: “Within the framework of the development cooperation with Namibia, Germany committed herself to a financial contribution being the highest per capita in all of Africa. Thus, since Namibia’s independence, Germany financed numerous projects which contributed considerably to the economic and social development of Namibia and, thereby, contributed to the reduction of the structural social inequalities in this country.” The German Ambassador never – neither during this meeting nor before - linked the subject of German development cooperation with the complex matter of what lessons Germany should draw from Germany's colonial past during the years 1904-1907. This remains a completely different matter which is being dealt with within the framework of the bilateral negotiations between the governments of Namibia and Germany. This matter was, therefore, not even touched upon during the meeting with His Excellency the President of Namibia. Today we add and confirm that yes, German development support has always been and will always be planned and implemented in agreement with our Namibian partners in the spirit of friendship and mutual respect and with the clear intention to contribute to building a more equitable and just society. This is, indeed, our vision for the future of the relations between Germany and Namibia, Germans and Namibians. If Kapere, however, really regards Germany’s financial commitment to the people of Namibia as insulting and a proof of Germany’s disrespect towards the Namibian people then he should have the courage to stand up as a leading member of SWAPO to ask for a decision by the government of Namibia to stop this development cooperation with Germany. But before he might do so he should talk to the thousands of people in Namibia, who are at the receiving end of Germany’s development contributions, to find out what they – the beneficiaries – think of the cooperation with Germany and Germans: • go and talk to the young boys and girls at the Auas Primary School in Khomasdal, who only recently moved into new classrooms financed by Germany; • go and talk to the civil engineering students at the new Department of Civil Engineering at the UNAM campus in Ongwediwa financed largely Christian Schlaga by Germany; • go and talk to the young girls living in the newly constructed buildings and using the new equipment of the “Girls Centre” in Katutura to empower themselves through sport and vocational training; • go and talk to the girls and boys living in the Johanniter Student Hostel in Otavi financed and continuously supported by Germany and Germans: where day in day out, 100 young Namibians live, get three meals a day, engage in social activities and are being prepared and helped to excel in in their school career; • go and talk to the METstaff (rangers and park wardens) finally living and working in decent and up-to-standard facilities of the park stations in the Khaudum National Park and the Nkasa Rupara National Park – to mention just a few - constructed with Germany’s support. • go and talk to the traditional leaders and members of numerous conservancies, who receive substantial support from Germany to develop their institutions and to create jobs and income in regions where hardly any investment takes place; • go and talk to managers and workers of companies involved in “labour intensive road construction” financed with German grants creating jobs and income in remote rural areas; • go and talk to the many Namibian students receiving various scholarships to further their studies to prepare for a successful and productive work life; • go and talk to the young Namibians studying at vocational training institutions profiting from the substantial support Germany provides for the improvement of vocational training in Namibia; • go and talk to the members of the Namibian Defense Forces, who participate in vocational training projects in the fields of mechanical engineering and health services supported by Germany. Those are just a few examples of how the German-Namibian development cooperation does help to improve the education, the employability, the living and income conditions and thus the life of thousands of Namibians. We are, indeed, convinced that this is the essence of what empowerment means; that this is the essence of what is needed to reduce the still existing social inequality in the medium and long run. So, once he has talked to all those Namibians eye-to-eye and he then still maintains that Germany’s development cooperation is an insult to Namibia and its people then he can call for an end of this cooperation. Otherwise, it would be in the interest of the people, the country as well as the good Namibian-German relations for him and all like-minded persons to refrain from further commenting on the German- Namibian development cooperation in such a derogatory and preposterous manner. And to close, all those who would like to know more about the essence and the spirit of the ongoing negotiations on “reconciliation” between the governments of Namibia and Germany might want to start by reading the interview given by the head of the Namibian delegation, Dr Zed Ngavirue, to New Era and published on February 9, 2018. This response is from the German Embassy in Windhoek Guaranteeing returns, as we reach your target markets. #TalkToUs Book NOW! 2018 Independence Supplement Supplement Material Deadline Publication Date Independence 14 March '18 20 March ' 18 Desiree Williams Sales & Marketing Executive Contact me: Tel: +264 61 208 0844 Email: email@example.com Contact us: Tel: +264 61 208 0800 | Website: www.nepc.com.na
Friday, March 2 2018| NEW ERA thought leaders 15 NNFU and affiliates must find each other As if the persistent droughts the country has experienced over the last few years were not enough burden on farmers, especially those in communal areas, another menace is gearing to fall hard on the farmers like the biblical Sword of Damocles. And ironically this is being engineered internally by none other than those who are supposed to be good friends and partners of the very farmers, the Namibia National Farmers Union (NNFU), the umbrella farmers union that is supposed to be the guardian angel of the farmers and their brother/ sister’s keeper and champion of their interests. And Meatco, one of the vital chains in the red meat processing industry in the country, must protect the very farmers, including communal ones, who have been and are its vital suppliers and thus in a way a vital source of its existence. In this regard one would have assumed that a symbiotic relation exists between the communal farmers, the NNFU and Meatco, for the latter two to be jealously guarding and protecting the interests of farmers, which inversely and reversely are also their interests. But what has been emerging through the grapevine lately, gives a different perception that the NNFU and Meatco are the actual nemesis of the farmers, and thus the meat industry. Since the end of last year communal farmers across the country, especially in the regions of Otjozondjupa and Omaheke, which are the country’s read meat processing mainstays, have been feeling a reprieve and relief from years of suppressed market prices. It is for the first time in many years that communal farmers have come nearer to a high price of close to N per kilogramme for their big livestock. But as if sooner or later this haven may disappear in thin air, with the so-called market forces at their usual mercilessness, and thus short-lived, the NNFU and Meatco, the grapevine has it, have been locked in discussions to cut this lifeline of the farmers of late. The two would-be partners are said to be discussing lobbying the government to slap a ban on the export of weaners to neighbouring South Africa. The farmers disbelief of these rumours is understandable, especially when both the NNFU and Meatco are said to be ringleaders of this initiative. As much as these remain but only rumours, at this stage at least, with nothing confirmed by either the NNFU or Meatco, for the desperate farmers, still reeling from devastating droughts of recent, such cannot be dismissed at face value. Not when their trusted partners are now suspected to be partners in crime against them. The concern of the farmers over these rumours is not only understandable but justified. In view of the fact that as close as they may be and must have been to both the NNFU and Meatco, the rumoured discussions cannot do much for the already eroded confidence, especially in the NNFU, by some communal farmers. It is hard to believe that indeed the NNFU and Meatco may be conniving against their important, if not most important, stakeholders in the meat industry. Because that would be cutting the nose to spite the face. But the fact that the farmers at this stage remain in the dark about the rumoured discussions on a matter of such great interest to them, and the country at large – can they really be blamed for feeling a measure of exasperation, if not uncertainty, regarding the future of the market, with those implicated being their very partners of long? Since the NNFU’s congress last year with a new leadership, Omaheke and Otjozondjuoa have been feeling left out because they do not have representatives from their regions on the new leadership. Thus NNFU’s relationship with these regions has at best been on tenterhooks. Earlier this month there was an agricultural and farming stakeholders meeting at Okakarara, which the Otjozondjupa Communal Farmers Union (OCFU) boycotted. Just because of the presence of the NNFU. Albeit farmers from the two regions (or NNFU’s affiliates), several bread and butter issues were tabled. But the NNFU has as yet to create a platform for discussion and possible amicable resolution. Also this month, farmers from Omaheke and Otjozondjupa had a meeting at Sandveld where, among others, their being in the NNFU, in particular their unrepresentativeness by the NNFU, came under the microscope. Also this week a stakeholders’ meeting, similar to the one in Okakarara, was scheduled for the Omaheke Region but has been postponed indefinitely. Thus the NNFU is best advised to create the necessary platform where these famers can share their reservations and problems with it. Vice versa, the farmers must continue to see the NNFU as their mother body and use it to help them face whatever challenges they may be facing. Unity is of the essence. Understandably the NNFU has already forwarded a communique to its affiliates in this regard. One can only hope that these farmers and their union find each other. Provided all stakeholders give this matter their urgent, undivided and devoted attention and necessary urgent push, one cannot imagine how the farmers can meet the trying times ahead with another drought by all indications looming. A separatist farmers’ union cannot be the answer. The //Kharas Region’s economy is based on tourism, mining, agriculture (stock farming) and fishing, most especially Lüderitz. As has been widely reported, the lifespan of Elizabeth Bay mine has been stated to end in 2019. There are recent reports in an English daily that the proposed new port for Lüderitz is a potential threat. All these indicate a potential downturn or lack of expansion in the economic status of the town and region as a whole. With the Elizabeth Bay mine, there is an effort to have it sold to investors who might revive this mine and make it the economic powerhouse it once was. We only hope that the construction of the planned port will be allowed. Lüderitz: A new logistics haven Lüderitz, despite its strategic location and vast resources, is vastly underutilized, which goes against the facets of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which calls for the transforming of Namibia into a logistics hub on the continent. The current port is already saturated in terms of capacity. The railway line into the town is being rehabilitated in anticipation of increased traffic. Neckartal dam is being built in the near vicinity to increase the region’s crop production capacity, of which some of its produce can be exported. //Kharas Region has a twinning agreement with the Northern Cape of South Africa, granting us a ready client for the use of increased cargo capacity. All these factors bring to bear the need for a new and capable port to be constructed in Lüderitz. I have not even begun the discussion into the direct benefits of the port during its construction phase on the local economy, as well as going past that. Unemployment will be greatly reduced while providing potential future benefits for local regional entrepreneurs to participate in the benefits to be gleaned. Other spin-offs will be allowing for more fishing companies to rather set up their processing plants in the region, instead of flocking to Walvis Bay. This will allow for more participation of locals in applications for fishing rights as the benefits can be seen at home, as opposed to Jan Scholtz the present situation where they are predominantly in another region. There is a drive to reduce the rural urban migration in the country, but this will best be made reality by having focus on an alternative other than the present Windhoek or Walvis Bay I do not wish to detract from these towns but the region holds vast potential, which can truly be harnessed by increased logistics capacity, which in turn can be spearheaded by the construction of the said port. I therefore call on all stakeholders to approach the matter with cooler heads, assess all the pros and cons, and find a viable solution that maintains the environmental integrity of the location as much as possible, while thrusting the development of Lüderitz and //Kharas Region at a welcomed pace. * Jan Scholtz is the constituency councillor of !Nami#nus.