New Era (Windhoek)

2 May 2014

Namibia: Where Did We Go Wrong?

editorial

The apathy towards Workers' Day beseeches us to have a self examining session on where we might have gone wrong on the plight of workers. A portion of the fruits of independence is the rights of workers, indeed the dawn of independence broke the chain of slave-like working conditions in the country.

Not to mention that it was the workers who waged one of the biggest anti-colonial movements in efforts to break the apartheid grip on Namibian people.

Having workers still comparing current working conditions to those experienced in the colonial times is disheartening.

Even more so when the workers feel disfranchised by the very institutions that are supposedly in existence for the very purpose of protecting them.

It was cringing to hear workers not knowing there exists a day for them, a day on which they can get together, discuss issues of common interest and take a united stand.

Indeed Workers' Day should compel us, the entire nation, to look at where we went wrong with workers, and find ways to inspire them to own Workers' Day once again. Surely workers have issues to discuss, hence the day cannot be said to have lost its value or meaning.

Trade union leaders, political leaders and workers themselves have to find innovative and better ways that captivate workers to look forward to the day, finding a new meaning, as it were, to the day May 1.

It has been 24 years of freedom, peace and stability. It is now time for retrospection at an individual level, on whether we are making any headway on the economic freedom front.

Economic independence would not be meaningful if our workers feel disfranchised.

Are we making any progress at all? Where it is that we are lacking, and most importantly, are we willing to pull up our socks to bring into the fold the workers?

As a country the progress is on record with national, as well as international institutions, testifying to our achievements.

But have we forgotten the plight of workers?

All such good and favourable accolades and indicators that Namibia has achieved cannot be intrinsic in themselves but must eventually have a trickle-down effect on workers who do the actual job.

Workers are the building blocks of the economy and they need to have a reason to celebrate, pride enough to meet on their day for discussions on issues that concern them, and give suggestions on how to build up the country much better.

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