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New Era Newspaper Friday March 23, 2018

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12 thought leaders

12 thought leaders Friday, March 23 2018 | NEW ERA National integrity calls for introspection Namibia @28: By far a better country New Era carried an article on these pages by Ms Paulina N. Moses dealing with elements of national integrity pertaining from article, albeit restricted to the civil service, was instructive in more ways than one. Paulina Moses decries the challenge of uncontrolled ill-spending in the government by civil servants and she argues that this trend has by far outdone politicians. Moses holds that civil servants must modify their ways and change their behavior with regard to public spending. She concludes with a quotation from journalist Manasseh Azune that that dedicated people who are not prepared to conform do not often last in politics or public incentive to do the wrong things than to be good.” I cannot agree more with Moses and I contend that we seem to be dealing with a concern larger than we, perhaps, care to to do with the absence of integrity in our public, semi-state as well as private institutions, and this concern encapsulates both integrity with regard to the application of state resources as well as the disposition of the civil servants in their provision of service to the public. Latter attitude also pervades many private sector institutions. founding Prime Minister of Namibia, President Hage Geingob, called a national consultation on integrity and the quest for professional discipline in managing the business of state. What I found revealing was that then Prime Minister Geingob had invited a woman from Uganda by the name Meriam Matembe, who at the time was Minister of Ethics for Uganda. Minister Matembe shared a sobering experience with the conference. She said that corruption in Africa was real and it would take generations to eradicate, more so because there was overwhelming reluctance and limited commitment on the part of national leadership in Africa to contain practices that were not in tandem with adherence to integrity. Focusing Minister Matembe said: “In Uganda when it comes to corruption, every Ugandan wants as much as possible because no one wants to be left behind in this quest for survival.” I found Matembe’s statement instructive, not for the fact that she revealed what was happening in Uganda, but for the fact that she was prepared to lay the blame at the doorstep of African leadership. Formal political institutions, in this case political parties and their governments, are perceived to be supreme culprits in the charge of mismanaging state resources. Regarding legal institutions, we hear more often that seldom will case number X proceed in court because gone missing. Semi-state institutions, we hear of missing millions with no culprits, or the suspects are brought forward and in the end released because of limited evidence after the case has dragged on for years. And civil society, we read of audits being abandoned because the submitted reports do not add up to logic. And so the conundrum rages on and before we know cial year with its new ramifications. Stories abound on development aid from some European country that did not reach - until the said country report decorates the reception of the embassy of the said country and it is business as usual. Years back my sister and I listened to the radio carried a report about missing millions at some semi-state institution. My sister said to me that she had made up her mind that she would not steal ten or twenty thousands of dollars from the government. But if she came across one million and above she would take it all. When I asked why, she said, because the mood in the country is such that the person to come after the one who had not taken the money, would take all the money. “What is the point in wasting money when you know that it would disappear anyway?” she served as a rude awakening for me. My sister is bent on stealing money if she came across such and I could not sustain an argument with her because her argument was deeply rooted in logic: chances are if she did not steal the one million, then the next person would take it all. Evidently this mentality pervades our society and serves as breeding ground for the absence of integrity, as people in low and high places seem bent on taking it difficulty in all these matters is the challenge of waning integrity or better still, the diminished sense of ownership, the feeling that state resources are ours and the propensity that we must protect it, because the future of this nation, of our children, hinges on this country continuing question is: where does from the government because legislators-cumpoliticians are perceived to be the supreme thieves leading the corruption drive, from the implementers of law and order because criminals remain at large and we must also grab because after all that is what everybody is doing, or from civil servants because they manipulate the system in order to get away with state funds in the form of travel and subsistence allowances? government in charge of state resources or is it a matter of the winner takes all, as my sister wants the nation to believe? Namibia faces a challenge larger than we care to admit and our assertions that corruption is not yet endemic in Namibia do not hold true. It is against this backdrop that I agree with Moses in her frustration with the civil service and I contend that the mismanagement of the civil service is only a smokescreen, for they are able to get away with what they do because they lack supervision. because someone who should control their ways the same way. And the racket continues all the way. Paulina decries the problem of a multitude of workshops intended to maximize on subsistence and travelling allowances, when these workshops do not seem to add value to the skills Again, that can only point cient supervision. When a training workshop is scheduled or advertised, a serious head of department ought to establish to satisfaction the extent to which the said workshop will be of value to the intended beneficiaries in her department. Also, the appropriate approach to these endless training trips is that each participant must be exposed to skills auditing prior to way that these workshops could make sense, because those attending could erwise, all attend and afterwards there is no mechanism to gauge the extent to which there was value addition in skillfulness, only for the colleagues to yet a string of workshops for the same reasons. We need to re-inspect the premise upon which we have based our planning shortcuts to progress. Toivo Ndjebela I grew up in a village not too far from the border of Namibia and Angola. As a child born in the 80s, I was exposed to horror, having seen armed war being waged in my full view. Ours was literally a war zone. In my village alone, I know men who paid the ultimate price for freedom. I’ve witnessed people, my parents included, being physically assaulted for non-existent transgressions. If footprints of Swapo soldiers were found within the vicinity of your house, you could get shot in the head. My of bullets as he drove home from the local shops at night. He shouldn’t have moved after sunset (in his own village), his killers told the bereaved family. At Epoko Combined School, my school, heavily armed soldiers would literally come and grenades. At this time of the year, when mahangu (millet) cultivation is at its peak, Casspirs would drive in your - brought down everything that stood in their way, our produce! It was deeply sad when a family spent their entire season working on food production, only to be wiped off earth’s face in such unprovoked fashion. War, especially when unsolicited, is bad. With war came oppression of basic rights such as that of movement. With it came racial segregation, whose indelible marks remain as clear as daylight on black lives today. heid remains alive and well in contemporary Namibia. We’d be extremely lucky to see this resolved in our lifetime. all its glaring challenges, is by far a better place. Anyone suggesting otherwise is a ben- stomach attempts to make the national cake accessible to all and sundry. A lion’s share of today’s challenges have their were our own making and we must shoulder blame where such is compelling. in terms of access to basic pub- - from apartheid because of their skin colour, remain proportionally better off economically, and concerted efforts must be made not to impoverish them but ensure the rest of us are brought on par with them. As we celebrate our 28th and, as matter of genuine conviction, believe Namibia has a good story to tell. But while we rejoice in our suc- the following: Patronage has become normalised without any iota of guilt, cronyism has hit unprecedented levels, greed has reached industrial scale (“our time to eat”) and we have neglected our duty of care (that sense of “I am my brother’s keeper). Also, leadership has lost a greater portion of its meaning in our country. Leadership should be about solutions to society’s challenges, not - everyone is scrambling for space in the political space, would ‘kill’ even for a position at a sectional level of a political party structure, speaks volumes of how greed has shot through the roof. Let’s go back to the basics. not demand respect and being worshipped. It should actually be the other way round. Leadership of humility. Peoplecentric leadership. If we get leadership right, Namibia’s march to greater heights would be much easier. Happy Inde-

Friday, March 23 2018 | NEW ERA thought leaders 13 Germany’s recalcitrant genocide approach Germany is ready to offer an apology at the highest level, Dr Zed Ngavirue Namibia’s special envoy on the negotiations and reparations for the 1904-1908 genocide committed by the Imperial Germany government against the Ovaherero and Nama, has been quoted in the local media lately. At the same time, the government of the Federal Republic of Namibia, has not accepted the genocide committed against these people as genocide. There have been widespread reactions to this position of the German government as if this is a new position. One is only reminded of the same German position, 18 years ago at the World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The German government was represented by its Foreign Minister, then Joseph Fischer, who indicated his country and government’s readiness to come to terms with the “heritage of colonialism”. But visiting Windhoek in 2003, he was more categorical. “We are not hostages to history” and “therefore, there will be no apology with relevance to compensation”. Exactly what has just been, strangely and ironically relayed by Dr Ngavirue, as opposed to his German counterpart, Ruprecht Polenz. But this position, as old as it is, has special essence and meaning. Particularly for the fact that having been engaged in negotiations, and making those interested and affected by the genocide believe the negotiations, close to three years now or more, are nearing conclusion, nothing fundamental has been agreed on. The two fundamentals here are genocide and reparations, if only for the affected communities. A position diametrically opposed to that of the German government. For the German government, the fundamentals are “atrocities” and “reconciliation fund”. According to Dr Ngavirue, Germany is presumably ready to offer an apology at the highest level. One cannot but wonder what this “highest level” may entail and constitute and if ever it may mean anything? Given that to date, Germany has been refusing to directly engage the direct victims, the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama. This is despite various efforts by the affected communities to engage Germany directly. Going back as far as 1995 (Helmut Kohl) and 1998 (Herman Herzog), and subsequently, all efforts have been rebuffed ignominiously by German authorities. Never ever has Berlin even pretended to engage the victims on a single occasion. Only now to declare readiness to offer an apology, apology to whom? The people who were nearly annihilated are today in Namibia, living proof of the victims. Not only this, but the issues of genocide and reparations have gained the stature and momentum they have gained today because of no one else but the victims themselves, singularly, with the help and support of international solidarity. Our Namibian government is a distant, unmoved, disinterested and unobtrusive observer all the time, and reluctant prime mover lately. The German government is an irritated diplomat that anytime could declare another genocide on these tribal irritant savages. Most of the direct victims of genocide may not be living today but their descendants are. And they are as much victims to whom any apology must and should be offered. To this day they are still bearing the brunt of genocide, are the direct victims and no measure of spin doctoring or rationalisation can wish this fact away. What the German government is once again doing today, is trying to wish the existence of the victims of its genocidal acts away – looking at them with the same disdain and racial hatred that drove its Imperial predecessor to declare logic why such an apology needs to be directed to either a second or third party if the aggrieved party is there in living body and soul? Likewise, it is beyond comprehension what apology the German government is ready to offer, whoever it is contemplating and is ready to offer to, while denying the undeniable, that it nearly annihilated the Namibian the Ovaherero, Ovambanderu and Nama. It goes without saying that the fundamental thing here is the genocide that Imperial Germany committed against the said people. So fundamental that anyone worth calling herself or himself a direct victim of the said 1904-1908 genocidal acts of Imperial Germany cannot and should not dare compromise on. Genocide is the genesis, premise, basis and the fundament of any engagement with the German government as far as the victims of genocide are concerned. And it is high time the governments purporting to have been engaged on the issue, get this clear. Especially now as the ancestors may have destined and divined, it is becoming crystal clear by the second, that the ongoing negotiations on genocide and reparations have not been based on the fundamentals. Anything short of genocide as a premise for engagement cannot speak to the aspirations of the affected communities but to a private and exclusive bilateral private agenda of the two governments. That has got nothing, even an iota, to do with the affected communities consistent and principled position regarding the genocide visited upon them during Imperial Germany’s reign of the territory she then abrogated the colonial name of German South West Africa, heightening during the period 1904-1908. The family’s importance in the development of the Namibian child The family is a fundamental social unit. It plays a role in the determination of the character, values and structure of society, which is fully acceptable by all men and women of insight and vision. It is the primary source of nurture as well as conduct, values and cultural indoctrination. It strengthens individuals and acts as a vital resource for development. It is upon recognition of this pivotal tions General Assembly declared 1994 as the international year of the family. The purpose if this article is to family in the Namibian context and how it is necessary for ensuring the continued progress and development of our nation. Family in the African Context The term family, in the African context as of the 18th century, meant either aristocratic lineage or a household including servants and dependents who lived in it. The primary Western concept of family as a nuclear unit comprising mother, father and children only is a relatively recent one. In fact, many African countries do not distinguish the “nuclear” grouping from the community around it. Yet, traditional anthropologists claim to see such units in all societies. it assumes many forms, a family precise and enduring to provide for procreation and the raising of children. Thus, the term family in the African context denotes both individuals and relationships. It constitutes all the people related through marriage, blood and broadened to include the living, unborn and very importantly the dead. It may even include those who are economically dependent but not geographically, on the nuclear unit. Hence, the phrase extended family. Family values and child/youth development The development of a person, the shaping of the said person’s life, the values that are adhered to and the respect, all stem from how much was derived from the familial socialisation process. Whether negative or positive, the fact remains that the contact with a particular set of standards and expectations moulds a person’s life. Children and youth are always seeking new ways of assimilating values their families have imposed on them, in relation to the demands of the environment, especially their peer group. A disturbing factor in this process is the rapidly changing state of the socio-economic environment. For many of the young, this uncontrollable unpredictability creates an identity crisis, which might lead to problems in education, employment and social integration. For these reasons, it is of essence that family ensures the appropriate interventions are used to impart values and understanding, factoring into account the psychological and emotional upheavals youth and children go through. Comprehension of these facets of the growing process, which all adults underwent, will equip for the appropriate dissemination of information to the Namibian child. Otherwise, advice and counsel can receive a knee-jerk reaction, resulting in rebellion and even expulsion from home. This leads to social misconduct in the form of substance abuse and teenage pregnancies, as these vices become appealing as a way of showing rebellion to parents and society. Therefore, parents and caregivers should endeavour to keep an open, warm and friendly atmosphere so that both parties have a platform to motivate each other towards selfactualisation. The family has a lot to go against in moulding today’s child. Harsh economic environment, the proliferation of modern media channels and other factors expose young people to environments that deviate and alienate them from the family. This puts the children and youth in environments not all families are equipped to deal with, driving them into crime and substance abuse which jeopardises them further as there is an increased risk of alcoholism and HIV/AIDS, among others. This further depreciates the value that could have potentially been added to the national economy. Family and Career Education The education and economic functions were interwoven in the traditional African setting. Education was tailored to meet the daily requirements of the community. Young people were taught various skills, usually along gender roles. Girls were taught to be homemakers and look after young. Boys were primed to build and repair houses and become responsible as heads of the home. Thus, the education of the young was comprehensive, compulsory and free, with practical responsibilities created to educate them. The responsibility of this training lay with the entire community – the family. Today, the contrast is true. Enterprise and skills are no longer passed down from generation to generation. Rather education has become a stereotype of formal information disseminated in schools that is only accessible to a fortunate few. Worse still, this means of education is geared towards the production of “white collar” jobs, which are to saturation in the marketplace as well as economic conditions causing the sector to contract year by year. Therefore, it is important that families renew their stand and place focus and interest in the education and career of their offspring. Families should ensure that the educational needs of students are met. The community must identify and generate mentors who are willing to advise and guide the young in the means to success. The composition and functions of the family have changed dramatically over the past few decades. The challenges facing the Namibian child are numerous. The family’s direction has become more material, negating the raising and training of the youth to maids, media and social peers. The decay of the old traditional means of parenting and familial transfer of values calls for the creation and adoption of dynamic means to ensure that our society brings and develops worthy and capable youth who will become able future leaders leading our nation to greater heights. -

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167