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New Era Newspaper Wednesday January 31, 2018

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  • Windhoek
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8 COLUMN Wednesday, January 31 2018 | NEW ERA Katutura, a community in decline STRIDES with Uncle Bob Kandetu Don Helda Camara, a Brazilian revolutionary clergy, used to say in the face of criticism by authoritarian regimes in his part of the world: “When I feed the hungry they call me Saint, when I ask why the poor have no food, they call me Communist”. The opening paragraph in the introduction to my recently published book ‘Timeless Bonds’ is a quotation from Conrad Lynn, a civil rights attorney of note, who spent his adult life campaigning for racial equality and justice in the United States of America. Namibia faces challenges characterised by change with continuity and in this dynamic process; we keep losing reliable advocates for the plight and anguish of the educationally and economically deprived. What happened to the liberating church, the labour movement, the youth and women’s organisations of the past? This takes me back to the introduction pages of my book ‘Timeless Bonds’, where I say, “Often we assume facts but not in evidence that our audiences are conversant with what we discuss in public. My son was born on 27 th April 1989. This was exactly nine days after the arrival of the Swapo advance team (headed by Hage Geingob) that returned from Angola to kick-start the election campaign for the party. Today he is 27 years old and a medical practitioner. This generation cannot be relied upon to know it all, given the freeto-choose environment in which they grew up in, unlike pre-independence generations who felt the obligation to necessarily participate in the struggle for justice in the interest of the common good. But the converse is also true that, this is the generation that we shall have to prepare to palm the future of this nation in relation to nations of the world. This reality demands that we must be concerted, strategic and diligent in the art of sharing information with one another, nationally and internationally. What do all these citations have to do with the decline of Katutura? These challenges constitute the larger puzzle in our society and it is not a matter of and the egg, because the egg is in the chicken and the chicken is in the egg. Katutura is a mess with regard to national development because the past continues to haunt the present and this bedevils the future. During the Apartheid era the best services in Windhoek were reserved for the city’s metropolis and this trend has continued. Go to Maerua Mall and then visit Woermann Brock or Black Chain complex in Katutura, see the pavements and what happens there. They resemble the old colonial Katutura. Walk through town on a Monday morning and observe the tidiness on the streets, on pavements and in parking lots, they all resemble a city with overnight cleaners. Then walk through Katutura on the for Africa lying all over the place as if someone was paid to litter overnight. And observe the street cleaners: In front of the French Bank Centre in town they clean with passion and they check, recheck and check again. In front of the Black Chain complex there are no cleaning services. Papers, banana drops et al, lie in the driveways and pavements are so dirty that one has to inspect their shoes underneath before entering into a car. Observe the street cleaners in Katutura and Soweto, the latter is where I reside. The broom runs over the street as if on a lightning mission to some place. In Katutura and the outlying growth points such as Okahandja Park, Sonderwater, Goreangab Dam, Silver Town and that one is tempted to inspect these for Walk in Katutura on a Tuesday children aged 16 to 19 sitting at street corners, sipping at some bottle contents adults in hundreds walking aimlessly on a forced march to nowhere. This is Katutura of today, 29 years after independence. Welcome to Namibia in Epako, Orwetoveni, Nomtsoub, Ozohambo za Kuaima, Block E, Kuisebmund; Tsaiblaagte. Our areas of population density and growth point settlements yearn for better, and as the economic situation around the country continues to defy wisdom, people stream to cities, towns and village settlements in large numbers that these places cannot handle. In this way Albert Einstein is right: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”. Equally, Goran Hiden is right: “Turning the despair and pessimism that affect large sectors of the African people into hope and optimism, will require from the planners of African development to re-inspect the premises upon which they have based their planning to date. No one escapes this challenge; there are no shortcuts to progress.” The choice is ours and nothing will improve until we decide. Time of reckoning: The battle of Namutoni The Namibian history of anticolonial resistance is replete with the heroic exploits of our forefathers against intruding European settlers and colonialists. Arguably, many Namibians might not know what transpired on the 28 th the former Owamboland in the then German South West Africa, although they may have heard about the name of King Nehale Lya Mpingana of the Ondonga sub-tribe of the Aawambo ethnic group in northern Namibia. The 28 th was the day when King Nehale Lya Mpingana attacked Imperial Germany’s Schutztruppe at Fort Namutoni with his 500 warriors and drove them out of the fort. He captured horses a large amount of weapons, abandoned by the intruders Aandonga warriors. It is said by historians that he was the most feared of all the Aandonga kings by both the missionaries and European settlers at the time. In order to honour this gal- manner, a small group of Oshindonga speaking Namibians gathered at a site where King Nehale lya Mpingana’s warriors are believed to have been buried to commemorate the historic battle that took place at Fort Namutoni. The group discussed the possibility of erecting a war memorial there. This gathering was in fact the second of such meeting since the idea of erecting a proper monument in his honour at the site, was revived two years ago. In fact, the idea itself was already mooted about 20 years ago. However, unlike this year, last year a much larger group gathered at the site at the invitation of the organising committee, which was set up with the singular task of spearheading the erection of a shrine at the site. But, that idea never gathered the necessary momentum so as to be implemented as was agreed then. One can partially attribute this year’s poor attendance to the ongoing squabbles within the Ondonga Traditional Authority at Onamungundo. However, the Ondonga Traditional Authority can only give its blessing to such an idea, because it is the people themselves who can make it happen once they are united and give their unwavering moral and material support to the organising committee. The organising committee should also work in partnership with the National Heritage Council in its quest to realise that goal. The National Heritage Council has been established for that particular purpose of identifying, promoting and protecting our national heritage sites. The poor attendance at this year’s commemoration could also be attributed to some perceived fears, sparked by some sections of the Aawambo ethnic group, who falsely believe that erecting such a shrine at the site might stoke tribal hatred as the Aandonga sub-tribe apparently regard themselves as superior to other sub-tribes and that they therefore allegedly look down upon other sub-tribes. Such fears, however, seem to be unfounded, baseless and are a typical example of selective morality as similar monuments have already been erected in the other areas of the former Owamboland. Moreover, some other people fear that the erection of such a site at Namutoni, is a veiled attempt by the Aandonga to claim ownership of the Etosha National Park, which is also totally misleading and should be condemned by all peace-loving Namibians, who believe in the spirit of ‘One Namibia, One Nation’ and the fact that Namibia is a unitary state. The true motive behind the commemoration of the Battle of Namutoni is to pay due homage to those gallant warriors who defence of what was rightfully theirs then, and in so doing stopped the intruders in their tracks from taking control of the entire former Owamboland, and rob the people of their land and cattle just as they had already done by then in the south of the country. In fact, King Lya Mpingana is said to have sent reinforcement to the Ovaher- Imperial German troops in their respective area during the same period. That was a typical example of national solidarity ing a common enemy. This shows that the Battle of Namutoni was part of the broader national resistance against colonialism. Therefore, the erection of a heritage site there should be seen in that light—a national undertaking deserving of national support particularly from those in posi- well as businesses in the area. A war memorial inspires future generations by deepening their appreciation of what past generations accomplished in securing freedom and independence. It also stands as an important symbol of national unity, a timeless reminder of the moral strength and incred- people are at once united and bonded together in a common and just cause. The efforts being made now to erect a war memorial at Namutuni should be understood in that context. There is nothing sinister about it nor are there ulterior motives as some detractors and others who are hell bent on opposing the idea would like the nation to believe. The Head of State has declared 2018 as the year of reckoning. Perhaps, one of the things we, as a nation, should take into consideration in this respect, is the erection of national heritage sites across the nation that will add value to our economy; and the envisaged war memorial at Namutuni could play that important role—once it becomes part of the tourist attraction spots of the wider Etosha National Park, which already enjoys worldwide recognition and fame as a tourist destination of choice. Surrounding communities will undoubtedly the spin-offs, emanating from areas, and so will businesses in those areas and tour operators. pledge my unwavering support to the members of the organising committee under the able leadership of Papa Shikongeni and they should be commended for their efforts so far. Although it is a fact that the committee’s efforts have been moving at a snail ’space, due to a plethora of challenges mentioned earlier, its members should not give up, but should instead continue to spearhead this noble cause forward with increased vigour conclusion. The committee should also continue to mobilise people for their support - from the grassroots level to the top echelons of our society. We should start walking the talk when it comes to undertakings of national importance such as this. One is also obliged to advise members of the organising committee not to take sides in the ongoing squabbles at the Onamungundo Palace, but to act impartially in all their dealings with all members of the Ondonga traditional area. I am sure that the committee will enjoy the support of the ministries of Environment and Tourism, and that of Education, Arts and Culture as well as the parastatals and agencies falling under them, if it is not already doing so. Tonateni Shidhudhu is a journalist by profession and a lay historian. Views expressed in this opinion piece are entirely his own and do not in anyway

NEW ERA Rough diamond sales for De Beers’ Page 10 American companies see a booming China that may not want them Page 10 INSIDE USINESS This news is your business Kavekotora argues against TransNamib privatisation WINDHOEK Amid calls for the commercialisation of non-performing parastatals, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) secretary general and former acting CEO of TransNamib, Mike Kavekotora, has cautioned against the privatisation of troubled stateowned enterprises (SOEs). Speaking to Nampa recently, Kavekotora, who has been vocal about the privatisation of underperforming SOEs, argues against TransNamib’s privatisation, calling it a strategic institution for the state. “Do not privatise it. Do the right thing for TransNamib; allow a competent CEO to run TransNamib, allow a competent board of directors – people who are elected on the basis of their competency to make strategic and technical decisions for TransNamib,” said Kavekotora. He pointed to a lack of leadership and understanding, as well as political interference, as the itself in its current ailing state. “We are failing because we use politicians to make economic decisions and we suffer at the end of the day,” Kavekotora charged. He called for the rehabilitation of the national railway system and more investment in TransNamib’s locomotives, wagons and tankers to provide logistical services to Namibia’s landlocked neighbours. To make Namibia’s rail system more consumer-friendly, Kavekotora said, the issues of speed and infrastructure have to be addressed. “If you rehabilitate the railway system and put it up to standard, then you can transport people safely and faster.” Kavekotora served as TransNamib general manager for marketing and sales in the past and later ascended to the position of acting CEO in 2009 for eight months. He said political interference in TransNamib’s operations influenced his dismissal. “Politicians realised that if they Photo: Nampa Against… One of six TransNamib locomotives and four of the 90 sulphuric acid tankers that TransNamib acquired last year. TransNamib former acting CEO Mike Kavekotora has cautioned against the privatisation of troubled state-owned enterprises. don’t do anything now, Mike Kavekotora will be the substantive CEO of TransNamib. They had to bring back the person who was suspended in order to prevent Mike Kavekotora from becoming the de facto CEO of TransNamib.” Kavekotora adds that one can see that TransNamib is a “political animal” ruled by politics. The parastatal, however, maintains that Kavekotora was deemed to have resigned from TransNamib with effect from the date on which he accepted nomination as candidate of the RDP. Kavekotora’s comments follow Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani last week chastising the “eroded” corporate governance and mismanagement of SOEs such as Air Namibia, TransNamib and the Roads Contractor Company, calling for their privatisation. “We must privatise nonperforming SOEs in our country. There is no point in hanging on to these institutions that are bleeding state coffers,” Venaani said. Meanwhile, former Walvis Bay Corridor Group CEO, Johnny Smith, has been appointed as TransNamib CEO and will start in February. - Nampa Old Mutual opens new Katutura branch Windhoek Old Mutual officially opened a new branch in Katutura Central Constituency at the Black Chain shopping centre on Friday. The occasion signalled an important milestone in the long history of the company’s business operations, which began in 1920. The presence of an Old Mutual branch in the centre of Katutura is geared by the company’s Responsible services and product offerings within reach of existing and potential new customers in the vicinity. The new branch adds to the 24 existing branches across all regions in the country as a means to make it easy for customers to engage the company. The new branch accommodates 25 skilled staff members, including the branch manager, Waltrud Saayman, an outstanding employee of Old Mutual the past 13 years. The branch offers the full range of Old Mutual products and services and is geared to provide a Client Service Centre to handle enquiries and complaints of customers, and sales advisors to serve customers with savings, life cover, retirement products, short-term insurance and unit trust products. During the officially opening Kosmas Egumbo, Old Mutual Group CEO, said: “The presence of an Old Mutual branch in the centre of Katutura stems from our deep commitment and sense of business services and product offerings closer to our existing and potential new customers. “With our positive track record and many years’ experience in the remain our customers’ most trusted financial partner, and help them remain focussed on their lifetime goals, even through tough economic times.” At the same occasion Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua, said: “As we all may be aware, insurance is a form of risk management in which the person insured transfers the cost of the potential loss to another entity, the insurance company like Old Mutual, in exchange for monetary compensation when such a loss occurs. I am pleased to note that Old Mutual is not only a leader in one of the founding partners of the nationwide financial literacy initiative driven by the ministry.” The mayor also commended Old Mutual for continuing to be a willing partner of the City of Windhoek over the last three years by supporting the city council through support to the City Police operations on combating crime in Windhoek. DON’T LOSE YOUR POST BOX Payments can be made directly at any Posce. Remember to renew your Post Box by 31 January 2018 to avoid the risk of disownment. Keep the relationship strong and alive to receive your post on a regular and ongoing basis, without break up. Will be disowned by 31 January 2018 Terms and Conditions apply as per renewal notice

New Era

New Era Newspaper Vol 22 No 167