14 thought leaders Friday, November 3 2017| NEW ERA Failure to manage differences could breed instability Fifty-four years ago, on 28 August 1963, when racial tension in America was at its worst, the moral voice of a black preacher, the late Rev. Dr Martin Luther King, spoke these words: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the contents of their character.”In the year 2000, this statement was selected as the best statement a leader has made on the vision for the new world. Diversity is a reference to the differences that do and will exist wherever species of creation coexist. Be it in plants, animals or humans, there are differences that must be understood, appreciated and managed to obviate and mitigate miscommunication and misperception in the Diversity management has always been a challenge to leaders. Diversity can be hazardous when considered only for short-term goals and not tackled with care and sensitivity for medium and long-term considerations. What is diversity in the context of Namibia today? To start with, the country we live in is unlike what our traditional rulers, our colonial imagined at the time when they thought they were is to accept that we all come from different backgrounds and experiences, and as humans we continue to make assumptions and indeed judgements about our daily life on the basis of those backgrounds. We all harbour prejudice – good, bad and often innocently. In the context of our political correctness, we all fall vulnerable to tell lies to be safe, and in so doing, we are not authentic to ourselves. It is important to be aware of our prejudice as long as we do not execute them at the expense of others. When we lie that we do not see race or colour is very dangerous. How would you describe me to the police after I have robbed you if you cannot recognise my colour? The second part is for us to recognise that the world wherein we live is not our own making, no matter how powerful we might think we are. This is why we live in a constitutional democracy, contract where no one is above the law, no one has the traditional right to leadership, and no one is free from scrutiny. We are equal and must be Republic of Namibia MINISTRY OF LAND REFORM Omaheke Communalj Land Board PUBLIC NOTICE APPLICATION FOR RIGHT OF LEASEHOLD IN OMAHEKE REGION Date: 03 July 2017 judged not by the colour of our skins, but by the contents of our character—by that which we bring to make our coexistence more peaceful, more meaningful and more enjoyable. The third is for us all to learn more and more about how to live meaningfully in our own societies and beyond. To this end, any country “an application for a right of leasehold in respect of communal land must be in the prescribed manner to the board in whose area the land is situated”. And, Before the granting of any right of leasehold the board must display for a period of at least seven (7) days”. NO Region Applicant Land Use Applied Omaheke DNHT 2 Omaheke Tjiri Lodge cc Omaheke Omerizirira 4 Omaheke Eheke Omaheke Ungura Size (Ha) ha Communal Area Period Traditional Authority Objections must be addressed to the following Address: The Chairperson Ms. Lisse Mcleod Omaheke Communal Land Board ATTENTION TO The Secretary: OMA-CLB PO Box 667 Tel: 062 562947 GOBABIS Fax: 062 564729 needs a leadership that can assist to mortgage a better future for all who live in it. This is important because the paths that delivered us where we are today did not equip us to deal with diversity well. On the one hand, our apartheid colonial path taught us to be scared of one another because of our cultural differences. Our racist past prepared us to be indifferent to one another because it was dangerous to mix for fear that one of us would lose out one way or the other. The fourth and perhaps most important thing about diversity is the acceptance that we live in the here and now with the realities as they present themselves on an ongoing and dynamic basis. The reality of our world is that we live in a Namibia, 27 years after the attainment of independence and we are not what we were before. What is our reality? Our reality is that living in small country, which enjoys more peace and stability than any other on the Afrikan continent today, has rendered us unable to question ourselves and work with the best and discard the worst. This has led us to accept the reality of a dominant party state with all the signs of a one party state; we live in the Land of the Brave where everyone is afraid of something, at least as a healthy sign of loyalty to ‘something’; we have dilemmas and paradoxes that we have left unchallenged and are now threatening our peace and stability; we are not purposeful with our resource expenditure; we live in a country where greed and avarice is overtaking the values of the liberation struggle and what our parents taught us about living in a community of relatives, close and distant. Most leaders, never mind the common man and woman, have not transcended cultural stereotyping from which proceed prejudicial assumptions, fear, mistrust and manners of selfprotection that in the end inhibit interactions that have great challenges managing our diversity even though we wish to take pride in it. Very often people think of diversity only in terms of differences along race, gender, ethnicity, language, religion and culture. Diversity is more than that. The starting point is for us to become informed citizens who understand who we are, where we came from, and how we got here. Second, the discernment will assist us to appreciate what we have both as risks as well as opportunities to get where we wish to be based upon our own context as an evolving society with new dynamics all the time and in a rapidly changing world. Thirdly, a positive consciousness about beginning at a micro-level of our identities, be they tribe, race, language group, and in our republican life how to manage our political party perspectives in a manner that we do not become enemies, but parts of the same towards a common greatness. This year will go down in history as one of the most turbulent years in our republican life. Our differences are emerging to be much more the language of our debate about future of our children to Us versus Them, and sheer hostility. It is most perilous to see Swapo imploding from within mainly because of a lack of succession politics of succession and generational change. When the Namibian child witnesses Swapo leaders calling one another names, insulting and belittling other comrades as if they have leprosy, and when a Namibian child experiences at the hands of the leaders the unfettered trampling upon other citizens’ rights and dignity, we must brace ourselves for a different Namibia come 2018 and beyond. Unless the trend of intolerance is arrested time starting in 2019 comrades being imprisoned and caused to disappear because of political differences, and Namibia will never be the same again. The signs are there, the practice of othering and dismembering other citizens has begun. It is now a matter of time before we see what other nations never prepared for but went through: Uganda, Zaire, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and now South Africa where leaders kill to settle scores. Let us hope there are enough men and women of good conscience to halt this descent, and time is not on our side.
Friday, November 3 2017| NEW ERA thought leaders 15 Unpacking the comprehensive sexuality education debate Following misleading reports about sex education in school, as opposed to sexuality education, a section of the Namibian ecumenical society has expressed its reservations against what they perceive as sex education in school, especially at primary level. It is indeed pleasing to see the church community expressing itself on the matter, because the church is and should be part of the moral compass of society. The morality being referred to here is not intrinsic and parochial morality, but as part of the regime of morals in society at any given time, which can and may be based on many beliefs other than just religious beliefs. And, not only for the sake of religion but for the sake of the greater good of society, and in this instance of the future of the Namibian child, especially the girl child. It is an undeniable fact that currently many Namibian girls do not pregnancies. The political debate in Namibia is less about substantive policy questions that are central to our progress. Foreign policy, in light of its erroneously perceived distance from domestic politics is an even bigger orphan in the paucity of conversation. It enters the fracas through proverbial negative the President is to undertake external missions. At this deceptive level, Namibians are fed a diet of the travelling allowances the President would allegedly hoard, the size of the travelling party, including alleged amounts for hotel accommodation. I don’t know of any country that discusses foreign affairs with such somnolent cynicism, and from aberrant vantage points. That is hardly a sane place from which to pursue an enlightened conversation about the President and foreign policy, including connecting the dots between that policy and national development. emanates from chronic skills shortages on international affairs. Namibia does not have foreign policy analysis and international relations. One-liners are occasionally sourced from academic snipers in public administration, law and generalist political science. But that is hardly journalists with foreign affairs expertise don’t that knowledge on foreign affairs resides on the functional desks of practitioners in government. Arguably, a more direct pedagogical approach about the directive aspects of foreign policy and its implementation is to be expected from government. Still, it would be one-dimensional and lacking in foreign policy analyses. What should be done to enlarge a constituency of informed critique? The current state of play points to material with which to engage the role of the President in international affairs. The Presidency has introduced by way of press releases, and diverse media platforms unprecedented transparency about the President’s business travel and external interactions. Moreover, President Hage Geingob sought to cohere with intensity our foreign policy around the doctrine of a ‘New Africa’ and the praxis of small state diplomacy as the multiplex through which Namibia interacts with the rest of the world. Even with unprecedented transparency and a doctrine framed on 21 March 2015, the issues are yet to emerge with eloquence as a coherent core in public debates. Oddly, the media - which ought to serve as the informational channel through piercing analyses of statements and speeches - is bunkered in the sensational. By doing so, it has woefully missed the opportunity to make foreign affairs the serious enterprise it ought to be for our small state. To be a small state and to tailor diplomacy accordingly implies that we abandon the inferno of insular political conversations about presidential travel. Namibia is a small state, with limited resources More often than not such pregnancies are happening within our homes, which must and should be the observatory posts of high morals, including Christian morals, and thus guardian angels of the innocent girl child. Ultimately, it is left up to schools and the teachers to deal with the consequences of such pregnancies. More often than not, while homes and society at large are supposed to be the starting point of inculcating the youngsters with appropriate societal morals and values, whatever the nature of such morals and values, whether religious, cultural and what-have-you, the role has been assigned to the schools and teachers. Be that as it may, in this secular era, teachers cannot, must not and should not be expected to approach such a matter purely from a religious point of view, if they at all should approach it from this perspective, but in a holistic way as Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CES) is proposing and imploring conditions of underdevelopment. In a rapid transforming world dominated by bigger states, we have limited authority to alter the world around us, let alone our own region. In order to achieve our twin goals of poverty eradication and shared prosperity, our diplomacies should seek to expertly maximise gains in the external environment. Since we engage the world from a small-state diplomacy perspective, where our vulnerability is constant, our survival and progress lie in top-level engagements in external missions. It is why the President - whose commitment is shared prosperity - ought to be present and engage in the global arenas that could deliver on that mandate. After all, the President’s voice and presence abroad represents the gravity with which Namibia engages with the domestic agenda. Presidential presence and diplomatic competencies can transcend our smallness, turning deficits into opportunities. Presence at events, remarks at leading academic institutions and think tanks advances our arguments and our soft power. Soft power in itself is key in the canon of small-state diplomacy. In fact, invitations from leading think tanks, universities and industry - courtesies not always extended to all leaders - point to the esteem a President and a country enjoys in international affairs. If the President misses UN summits where poverty, innovation, science and technology are under discussion, we will struggle to convince multilateral organisations, bilateral partners and industry about our commitment to these issues. Our presence at summits, notably through the President, is policy learning, openness and issue-urgency. It is for our voice to be heard, focusing attention to our country. We should be irritated with lost opportunities stemming from our absence from the World Economic Forum in Davos, or the Geneva CEO summit. These are premier forums with key industry leaders and investors as annual pilgrims. It is naïve to expect opportunities from participation to be visible the following morning. It is just not how the real world works! They may take time. But the consistency with which a small country engages as present and open is unquestionably them to do. It is especially instructive to note that CES is not there to deal with or teach children sex, but to make them aware of matters of sexuality, to forewarn and forearm them against sexual exposure as posed by modern means of communications like the internet. Thus, CES can and should only be seen - contrary to the general belief of it teaching children about sex and encouraging and disposing them towards sex - as only there to alert them to the deceitfulness and temptations of various media, especially explicit sexual material that they are daily exposed to behind closed doors, away from the watchful gaze of their parents and/or guardians, who can and should guide them, and also educate them on the harmfulness of such material. “Effective sexuality education can provide young people with ageappropriate, culturally relevant and includes structured opportunities for young people to explore their attitudes and values, and to practice the decisionmaking and other life skills they will need to be able to make informed choices about their sexual lives,” reads an excerpt from a UN resource pack on the subject prepared for teachers. But how more can the objective of CES be in this regard. Not as a last and only resort but as part of a holistic approach to early sexual activeness a winning formula for the future. There is also the elemental point worth raising: Namibians voted overwhelmingly for the President to direct the affairs of the state. They don’t intuit that the President as their voice in foreign affairs would travel for amusement. Certainly, not one who has introduced unprecedented austerity measures. Similarly, they don’t assume that their President would travel without diligent consideration of the with President Geingob would recognise that among youngsters, especially school children, but a necessary intervention at school level. This by no means precludes parents and society at large at respective levels continuing with the necessary interventions, especially with the moral and cultural education of children, which many a times they seemed to neglect. One cannot but also highly recommend to the UN to as much as possible distribute the same resource pack to the society at large, especially to the church community to familiarise themselves with its content, so that an informed debate on the matter may ensue. “The children have got a lot exposure through different media and it’s better that we educate and teach them about sexuality (emphasis on sexuality and not sex), instead of running away from reality and allow children wrongly.” One cannot but agree with the minister of education. ethics, discipline, an obsession with results and public spirit. It is those qualities that he took to the Presidency. It is why we should disarticulate presidential participation in forums of global governance from the trivia of allowances and hotel rooms! media should emerge. It should appeal to enabling analyses of presidential actions in external missions through the landmarks of ambition, urgency and possibilities.