Windhoek — With the launch of the Nationhood and National Pride Campaign last year, New Era's Lorraine Kazondovi spoke to the Minister of Information and Communication Technology (MICT), Joel Kaapanda. The aim of the interview was to enable the minister to share his views on the goals of the campaign and the challenges of nation building and unity.
What exactly is the National Pride Campaign?
The Nationhood and National Pride Campaign is aiming at instilling a spirit of patriotism in all citizens, particularly the youth. The campaign is geared towards motivating citizens to be proud of their country and to love their country and to prepare to serve their country. The campaign furthermore advocates unity and stability. In other words, every citizen in their own right should strive to promote unity and stability in our country.
Namibians should respect each other's cultures and understand that our strength as a nation is drawn from our multi-culturalism. Namibians must act as good ambassadors for their country by displaying good behaviour and conduct in order to enhance Namibia's standing among the community of nations.
What prompted the government to initiate this campaign?
The campaign was prompted by the emerging tendencies of tribalism and disunity in our country. Furthermore, incidents of corruption, the lack of a work ethic and a dedication to serve have become commonplace in our country. Namibians seem to be losing interest in committing themselves to duty and service to their country. People tend to withdraw from the belief of 'One Namibia, One Nation' and are resorting to tribalism. And these regressive tendencies are dangerous for the stability of our country.
Isn't there a sense of nationhood among Namibians?
Well, the level of awareness of nationhood among Namibians seems to be weakening and therefore needs to be rekindled and energized.
Why was this campaign launched only last year and not immediately after independence?
That is a good question. However, I cannot tell you why it could not be launched earlier. But what is important is that his Excellency, the President of Namibia, has launched the campaign and now it is in full swing. To answer your question specifically, it is better late than never.
Is there any time frame to implement the campaign?
The campaign runs for five years. The duration of the campaign signifies its importance. In other words, we do not expect to change the mindsets and attitudes of Namibians in a short time span. Therefore, we are very determined to wage this noble campaign for a protracted of time until we achieve its noble objective.
Has your ministry been able to measure the impact of the campaign since it was launched last year? How receptive are young people and other target groups?
The campaign has been received with enthusiasm and excitement. All those we have addressed wholeheartedly welcome the campaign and that underscores its relevance in addressing the current situation in our country. The campaign addresses a variety of issues, which currently pose challenges and threats to our healthy existence as a nation. Issues such as alcoholism, drug abuse, violence against women and children, environmental degradation and vandalism of state properties [are addressed]. The importance of this campaign creates platforms for Namibians to engage in dialogue on issues affecting their daily lives. The campaign aims to deepen our democratic culture of transparency and freedom of expression. During our meetings, our audiences freely express their views on issues under discussion. This reflects not only the tendencies of democracy and freedom of expression, but is indicative of a nation desiring to find solutions to issues affecting their lives.
How will the campaign complement the current development programmes laid out in Vision 2030?
The campaign complements the programmes laid out under Vision 2030 by encouraging unity and the commitment to serve with dedication to duty. These values are the motivating factors that will propel our nation to hard work and productivity in order to lead Namibian to the dream of Vision 2030.
How will the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology sensitize all citizens to fully and genuinely participate in this campaign, particularly the youth and citizens living in the remote rural areas?
This is very difficult for this ministry alone. We expect every Namibian to own this campaign, to take it further and sensitize every other Namibian wherever they are.
How does government plan to incorporate white citizens and non-Swapo members to earnestly participate in the campaign and genuinely make them feel as proud, appreciated Namibians?
This campaign aims to rally all Namibians irrespective of political affiliation. Every citizen of this country should have a sense of belonging and that Namibia is his or her motherland. The campaign promotes the understanding that Namibia is our common heritage, therefore you should promote 'One Namibia, One Nation'.