IT IS a 'watershed congress' that the Swapo Party is having, in that, the outcome in terms of the process as a historical experience, the elected person and the two defeated colleagues; the spirit that would ensue in the party, as well as the kaleidoscope or panorama of the national mood thereafter will constitute a hard test of maturity and resilience of the Namibian people's proclaimed spirit of national unity and purpose after their respective candidates of choice are or are not the winners.
At this point, the performance of the Namibian leadership in its entirety will manifest as either a success or failure. Failure if the people will tend to rely on the personal leadership rather than on the system of governance that Swapo has established in the last 22 years on the basis of 'One Namibia, One Nation'. The system will have failed if people will pin or lose their hopes on the one person that will emerge victorious to create a better life for them, the system notwithstanding.
The decision of the party to conduct presidential elections in the fashion followed since 2004 is full of dangers. The one danger is that the social psychology dictates that once you form contesting groups you have automatically created an out- and in-group feeling; it becomes a case of them and us. Now the words spoken against one another, if negative in the campaigning, will remain forever.
Hatred may be planted and nurtured. I had friends who are no longer friends today since the 2004 elections, because I did not seem to side with them! Maybe in the future there could be another way of following a winning leader through party life up to the top, where everybody will welcome her or his ascension to power. For now, let us hope that irrespective of who among the three experienced Swapo cadres will win the race, Namibia will proceed to grow within the undisturbed sphere of national security and sovereignty; maintaining our long-standing, non-aligned stance. 'One Namibia, One Nation' will shine brighter and brighter and national reconciliation will also reflect appropriate reparations on a national scale, particularly in land redistribution and use. We must also encourage pioneering thinking on labour compensation rather than being blindly misled by external or so-called market benchmarking, but rather be moved by the conscience that all, yes all Namibians have to live honourably, starting from the bottom, with the poorest and the jobless.
Could we perhaps also become courageous enough as to put up a salary ceiling for the high earning brackets, while we push the bottom up first, because in a food and clothing shop prices are the same for both the rich and for the poorest. Obviously, these suggestions need a man or a woman who is able sit and talk to, and associate with, the poorest of all in the bundus/furthest outskirts of urban life or squatter places. This issue of life must be in the heart and spirit of the winner! As a retired leader of the public service I am hurt by my learning first hand how the people are suffering and suffer disservice at the hands of the public servants who are not doing their job but abuse their authority.
I join queues and experience frustrating treatment of the ordinary people by public servants. The people then want to vent their frustration on Swapo as the government. Things need to change. Thorough checking of what is really being done to the masses of our people on the ground must be pursued vigorously. Service delivery is a huge plus for politics, but a deadly blow to it if neglected as is the case in many places today.
The winning candidate will hopefully be candid and courageous enough to alter wrong decisions of the past on social policies that have led the country into some huge troubles like the negative behaviour of much of the new generation because of lack of proper upbringing at home and at school. Morals are absent and self-centeredness has set in to culminate in general indecency, suicides, murder and mayhem, because of the untraditional measures we have imported for the upbringing of our children. Namibia must not be cowed into pleasing outsiders or following their moral bankruptcy unnecessarily, under the pretext of so-called democracy, alias demon-cracy.
Also, within the current framework, could we advance one theory that, once the die is cast all the three running colleagues constitute a presidential council. The winner, the president, becomes the chairperson of the committee and they lead the nation, each contributing their ideas to be incorporated in the advancement of the general good of the nation during the ensuing presidential term of office, either as senior ministers or leaders in critical areas, if national interests come before personal ones, that is.
Finally, as members of the public we also carry the responsibility not to utter words that are not constructive and that destroy others just because of electioneering. Sincerity and honesty must be permanent virtues. If we have nothing good to say, we keep quiet!