12 thought leaders Friday, November 24 2017 | NEW ERA A Letter from Turkey to the Swapo Congress Delegates I greet you, esteemed members of the governing Swapo Party who will serve as electors during the historic 6th elective congress of the erstwhile liberation movement. ous road through commitment, dedication and steadfast respect of the values of Solidarity, Freedom forth our nation’s enshrined values of Unity, Liberty and Justice. I write to you from the Biblical land of Turkey from where St Paul, or Saul, developed his vocation as a I came here to do what I am not permitted to do in the land of my purposes of better understanding our world based upon the truth. Like Paul, I write to you not because I am any better than you, the leaders of my motherland, but out of a deep for the better for all our people. to have consumed more knowledge than the average citizen in the Land of the Brave, and as a result I have a you at this critical point in the time of your responsibility as leaders. I high moral esteem and look to you to steward the lives of the people in our land from the state of hopelessness the consternation, angst and despondency as it is the case now going through, on the watch of the current of leaders who should know better. Never before have citizens felt so like now. of us very badly. I have faith that you will understand and condone my encroaching onto your space this weekend, as you prepare to exercise a sacred responsibility to think not only about your immedi- stretch your imagination into the you and what did you do when you could? Esteemed delegate, your family, comrades, friends and the nation know what you are going though, and how testing it is to be truthful to yourself and your lonely conscience right now. compromised and only a few strong ones have the wherewithal not to exchange for someone else’s career and material interests. life, for you would not be where is about honourable thinking and dreaming that today is not good enough, and that tomorrow must be better because we are here to make it better. Remember that Esteemed delegate, you are about to seal the fate of the party rank and only dear but in whose able hands you place the future of all the people of this country. Namibia promised you nothing, yet demands no loyalty from you, but good service and commitment to the common good of all her colour, language, ethnicity, religion is bigger than your and my party, though it is through your party that your heart and not your stomach, understandable though it is. One day we shall be asked what land. Shall we answer that we fought Defend the laws that will inform the narratives your children and theirs will read about as your testa- cohesion, permanence and faith in something bigger and more durable than our needs and our fears and our greed for power and wealth. Let us not become the next and bless us through your courage Team Swapo elders and youth elites should be shown the door by the Sixth party and nation’s valuable time and money through an embarrassingly hopeless crusade against President They claim to protect the Swapo constitution and democracy against dictatorship, while in reality they are pursuing personal agendas, and revenge sentiments, rooted in deepseated tribal fears. The team by lacking a solid ideological or policy stance has zero political rationale for having been created, and therefore runs a selfdefeatist and out of focus campaign. Having no constructive message, it has told exaggerated untruths, and raised unnecessary social media tribal sentiments. It continued target- government, and unbelievably even the Swapo Party as a crisis-ridden Imagine the immature and irresponsible absurdity, such as that the President is planning to take the Founding Father to the Interna- Lubango dungeons? Due to this ma- political premise and serious message, Team Swapo lacks coherency. divisive concept of two centres destroy the unity of the party, Team Swapo recently denied its quest for two centres of power in a two-page advert. is propagating for the introduction of socialism, whereas others like the revival of the current mixed econ- Because of such confusing messages, Team Swapo is daily witnessing defections to Team Harambee. Their support in the once erroneously considered “impregnable strongholds” have virtually been obliterated, for example, Oshana, Omusati, Ohangwena and Oshikoto. 100 percent delegate endorsements to Team Harambee. This is the outcome of an emotionally driven political campaign against the Swapo sitting leader by reasons and wants. For some such who as claimed, initially declined and was all along respectful of and grateful to him, and even assuring the President accordingly, it begs the question why he suddenly changed. - nonsensicalities and rather advocated support for him to serve two terms. As a notable Pan-Africanist, on record about the dangers of tribalism and the need for the Swapo Party and African unity, his challenge is He had a change of heart once Nandi-Ndaitwah and not him. Some Swapo vice-president position long ago and felt personally betrayed by being overlooked. Others say, being a man of strong moral convictions he couldn’t take what he wrongly perceived as the deliberate side-lining of the Ondonga, as the next in line for the Swapo and country presidency. sible reasons, there are many acceptable ways of addressing problems and differences of opinion than to spite the President with whom one has no ideological or policy differ- nistic value systems are principally harmful to society’s greater good. styled as the Iron Lady, her political capital from an all-time high surplus - strengths and challenged her political ment this has ever since been for her. Having been admirably loyally bravely through thick and thin, when it was not politically correct to do so, have been the heir-apparent to the presidency, some posit. But, alas, im- Moses Pakote destination. Yet, for old-time’s sake she was forgiven and returned to the inner political circle, only to repeat the same political illogical feat again. Desmond, Vaino and to a certain felt aggrieved by the stoppage and cancellation of tenders, not coming their way. According to some, what President left them out for a different A-Team of policy advisors, as they advise on government affairs. claimed they sought the multi-billion Angolan fuel tender, as a consolation, but the President in the national interest of all Namibians apparently that to their chagrin, the President started emphasising an alien mantra of transparency, accountability, zero-corruption and no one must feel left out. This friendship fall-out culminated in the infamous alliances - immediate logic, it is claimed, is to marshal all available and like-minded political interest forces to prevent the President’s permanent ascendance to the party presidency; to recoup lost investments; and to avenge the scorned friendship, while the AR partners also avenge the 2012 humiliating defeat. The last group of radical revolu- Kazenambo Kazenambo, and our distinguished academic revolutionary egory of those feeling they have personally invested much in the cause of They feel they have immensely lost out while the Johnny-come-latelies have entrenched themselves with the party leadership. There is a sense of betrayal, great loss, and bitterness among this group. These comrades fail to recognise the contribution of their own unresolved anger extremes and the attitude of al- no-holds-barred opinion pieces are examples in point towards their political comeuppance. All these groups, characterised by the common threat of a real or perceived disservice by combined energies and resources into Team Swapo to oppose him. This commentary is written entirely in my personal capacity as a private citizen. BOOK ON THE GO Our app has been reimagined from the ground up so you can get a little more from it. You can now make and pay for your bookings while on the go. 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Friday, November 24 2017| NEW ERA thought leaders 13 Ordinary Zimbabweans cannot hail SADC As much as the die may already have been cast against f o r m e r Z i m b a b w e a n president Robert Mugabe, who on Tuesday was eventually forced to resign, role of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Not only in defusing the since the intervention of the army last week, but ever since the country’s calamities over the years. South African President Jacob Zuma, SADC’s chair, and Angolan President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, Chairperson of the Organ Troika on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, were presumably still mid-air to Zimbabwe when Mugabe resigned. After a week or two of dilly-dallying and indecision by the regional body following the latest spark in the Zimbabwean political fluidity, some African countries have been having their misgivings about the International Criminal Court (ICC) for seemingly targeting African leaders. As a result, some of these countries have withdrawn from the ICC, notably Burundi. It is also a matter of time before South Africa withdraws. Likewise, Namibia’s misgivings about the ICC are well documented. Even as recent as the United Nations General Assembly in September, Namibia voted against R2P, a global commitment endorsed by all UN member states at the 2005 World Summit to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Namibia later explained its vote against as only procedural. Namibia’s rationale as per the head of state, Dr Hage Geingob, is the need for the continent to have and rely on its own institutions. Fast-track this rationale, especially the near-calamitous explosive situation in Zimbabwe, SADC’s Organ Troika simply failed to instill any especially among the Zimbabwean oppressed masses. When they not only very much needed it but expected it, when expecting deliverance from SADC. But the Southern African leaders conveniently and cautiously opted to steer clear. Cautious not to cut their noses to spite their faces. With the country going through many of its political and economic cliffhangers, Southern Africa, especially members of the political and economic elite club of SADC, have been ominously quiet, their usual oblivion self. Even when matters reached a breaking point lately, not has seen many a breaking point but which was averted, albeit at cost to the suffering, and even loss of lives of the masses. But the SADC elites have never seemed nearer to awakening from their political slumber. The best they could do with the latest episode was to sound a strong caution to the army. The very army that many Zimbabweans consider their saviour. Not strangely perhaps, given their tinted political spectacles, blinding them to the realities of mass sufferings in Zimbabwe all these years, and oblivious to the deterioration of human and civil rights in Zimbabwe, SADC’s elite political leaders could not see in the latest developments in Zimbabwe no more than a military takeover. The signals have always been there all these years that Zimbabwe must not, and could not have been heading on the right path, even by African, if not Southern African self-avowed democratic standards. Without SADC leaders daring to say or utter anything about the unbearable political and economic conditions, which have been prevalent for some time now in their neighbouring country. Only for them to be lately unnerved by the intervention of the Zimbabwean army. One cannot really imagine to what catastrophic and calamitous point Zimbabwe must have deteriorated, to warrant a consequent moral and political action by SADC’s political leaders, and African leaders, through the African Union. Let alone spur them into genuine and honest brokerage? Because even in terms of such a brokerage, they arrived late as they seem following Mugabe’s eventual resignation after an initial defiance. The question that SADC must now ask itself is can the Zimbabwean masses when writing their post-Mugabe memoirs, really hail it? But it is not late for SADC to redeem itself in the eyes of Zimbabweans. W h i l e m a n y Zimbabweans see the resignation of Mugabe as the dawn of an era, and rightly so, this is only the beginning. His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa’s own history is as much tainted. And as much that of ZANU-PF, if not for acquiescing to tyranny, for prodding and propping it. It is all for the Zimbabweans themselves now whereto from here. But surely this time around there is much that SADC positively and proactively can do to help steer the country towards better times, democratically and economically. This is if African governance institutions like the SADC Organ Troika are to have any veneer of credibility, if only in the eyes of the region and continent’s inhabitants. I read with great concern the articles in several local newspapers about a Russian billionaire who bought land of over 28,000 hectares in this country. He apparently is trying to buy more land to have over 46,000 hectares as his own private property. It is said that the Russian is offering N$24 million to the land reform ministry for him to buy additional land from the sellers. This is tantamount to bribery. The land of the country is a precious heritage of the people and the government cannot be bribed to sell that precious heritage recklessly to foreign nationals. he can bribe our government with N$24 million to sell the people’s heritage to him? Many people died for the liberation of their country and to get their land back. He got 28,000 ha of the land that we liberated through the blood of our people and he still wants to bribe our government to sell him more land. Are we so easily bribable to the extent On selling our land to Russians of selling our precious heritage for money? That and the heritage which is land and which was sold in that way will remain the ownership of foreigners, leaving us landless in our motherland. Chief Maharero who was under pressure from Germans to give them land gave them a basket of sand. By that he wanted to let them know that the land of his country was not to be given to foreigners. It is now heartbreaking that we sell huge tracks of land to foreigners while our own people are landless in their motherland. Where is patriotism these days? This concern I am raising here is not specifically aimed at this Russian billionaire alone but is aimed at all the foreigners who come here and are allowed to buy farms in this country. The foreign Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange nationals have the right to come to Namibia and we are open to welcome them and live in peace and harmony with them. Particularly, the Russians and the Chinese who helped us very much during liberation struggle. Be that as it may, there are certain things that we simply cannot dish out to them indiscriminately. Land surely is one of such things that should not be sold recklessly to foreign nationals. The people of this and are demanding the restoration of their rights over their land which was taken by force from their ancestors by colonial regimes. Colonial occupation of this country was about land. Paul Robrbach, the colonial German commissioner for resettlement in the socalled German South West Africa had this to say: “The decision to colonize South West Africa means nothing else than that the native tribes must withdraw from the land on which they pastured their cattle and so let the white man pasture his cattle on this selfsame land.” The land was taken by force from the people of the country. Therefore, it was, indeed, a fact that the land was central in the uprising of the Ovaherero and Nama people against the Germans. The land which was taken in this way is the bone of contention today. The genocide committed by Germany resulted in brutally uprooting the victims of that genocide from their land. The land is a very sensitive issue. The protracted liberation war, which was waged by SWAPO, was not only for land back from colonizers. Many people of this country were driven into substandard areas called “native reserves” by the colonial authorities, in which they are living up to now. Some of the so-called native reserves are too small and people are too many who are still there. Take an example of Ovitoto “native reserve”. Ovitoto has 61,194 ha. The entire reserve is situated in hilly and mountainous areas with numerous deep and narrow valleys. The only level portions are found around Otjongombe in the north-eastern corner of the reserve. To make things worse the reserve is traversed by numerous and dangerous rivers. Most areas are nonarable – only small isolated patches of the arable soil occur, notably in the north. We had a first land conference and the holding of the second land conference is now being envisaged. That shows that the land issue is of serious concern to our nation – it is why people of the country are meeting in these important land conferences. Our foreign friends can surely enjoy the use of the land through usufruct. I am afraid and concerned that the manner and the way we are handling the land issue is very dangerous and our future generations will not forgive us because we may leave them landless forever in their motherland. Namibia is not for sale. WE WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU Participate in our surveys and stand a chance to WIN a weekend away for two at any NWR Resort worth N$ 5000. Visit www.nepc.com.na to participate.