30 November 2012

Namibia: Indifference to GBV Is a Factor of a Male Hegemonic Economic System!


Article Views (non — ON the face of it, it may sound like a hollow political statement but when one allows it to sink home after reflecting seriously and soberly on it, it could turn out to be one of a few meaningful political statements by a politician of whatever hue or political or ideological persuasion in recent memory.

It should be seen, rather than for its seeming intrinsic political overtones or undertones as some would, more for its genuineness and concern.

Reference is hereby made to the concern of the Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Honourable Angelika Muharukua, as voiced on Monday morning via the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC)'s Otjiherero Language Service's current affairs programme, Keetute.

Her concern is Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in general, with particular reference to the phenomenon of baby dumping.

Her deduction is that the various manifestations of GBV, which has been on the increase, and unabatedly so, are a factor of the low standard of living among the masses of the downtrodden Namibian populace.

She sees the immediate answer, if only to temporarily alleviate the situation, in the upliftment of the people.

But how? Through self-help economic projects.

But her utmost concern is that unlike many high-profile political matters that easily find expression, and access onto the national political agenda through various media and channels, such as nationwide mass demonstrations, there seems to be little national urgency on the combating of GBV, at least to the same or comparable degree with seemingly other burning and/or high profile political national issues.

One cannot but agree with the Deputy Minister! Especially concerning what one would describe as selective morality, indifference or pure lack of consciousness and strong will, political or otherwise, on GBV and in wiping it off the face of our society and communities. One cannot but particularly be perturbed by the seeming muteness, most of the time, of the broader society, a section of the political elite, if not the entire Namibian elite, on these burning social issues.

Rarely do such matters receive the necessary attention deserving their gravity, let alone by their mere mention as a matter of conviction and not political expediency or necessity by most of our political elite and leading elite in general. A case in point is the recent campaigns by candidates in the Swapo Party vice-presidential race.

With GBV a serious a matter of concern as it is, and has been, it hardly received any mention by either of the candidates. If there was any mention of it, at best it was in passing or general terms related to general societal safety and security. Yet, this in a week where the grim picture of GBV was painted to the society by the Inspector General of the Namibian Police, Sebastian Ndeitunga, who revealed the shocking statistics of 31 men across the country having been arrested since January for killing at least 32 women who are supposed to be their loved ones.

This translates into at least three women being slaughtered every month by those supposed to be their partners.

Yet, one only hears politicians, irrespective of their political persuasion, and the broader society, voicing their concern reluctantly and in a gimmick about some of these issues after only the fact, and after the brutalities have been committed and precious lives lost.

Even soon thereafter, one hears little from these politicians, or any other societal leader, religious, youth, gender, traditional, you name them, until another tragedy triggers their short memories, and jerk their constipated consciousnesses into but just more short-lived statements.

And this seems to be the worry of Honourable Muharukua, and understandably so.

That ordinarily, despite such social issues, or social tragedies, recurring time and again, they do not seem to trigger widespread national condemnation and action commensurate with the heinousness and gravity of the brutalities directed at fellow members of the society, to the consternation and trauma of the entire society.

On the contrary, more often than not, one sees some other issues invoking and inducing a disproportionate reaction among leaders across the board.

As serious and disturbing as GBV has been, with among its latest manifestation being the killings of female love partners by their male counterparts, society is as yet to see a mass-based civil action by the whole society against such despicable acts.

One wonders whether this a reality pointer to the fact that Namibia is still entrenched in archaic hegemonic power relations, with men in a hegemonic position, and GBV is still seen through the dominant male spectacles?

But however one would like to see or interpret the hitherto seemingly indifferent response to the social evil of GBV, one cannot but conclude that Namibia, like many other societies, is but only pretending a meaningful and realistic change and transformation, and that in essence the country still remains deeply entrenched in the hegemony of the male psyche and persona.

This is the only way in which one can explain the indifference to, and lack of sustained conscious action, to root out evils such as GBV, which, as Honourable Muharukua well explains, is a factor of the economic system pertaining. But which economic system is this?

A class-based system geared towards a hegemonic class of males with a pretence at having on aboard some females, and some cosmetic changes, only to appease and not to bring real change or germinate a genuine movement towards a real social and economic revolution.

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