Racial economic disparities – a Namibian reality

UNITED States President elect, Joe Biden last week’s victory against his predecessor, Donald Trump is owed the global vote against the widening income and wealth racial inequality gap that has been a feature of the US economy for decades.

As Namibia’s regional and local government elections campaign come to a close, there are critical parallels with the United States elections outcome – indicating that the cry for an equal society is not unique to Namibia.

Whoever wins the Namibian regional and local government elections has to borrow a leaf from Biden’s campaign material and acknowledge, first and foremost, that our deeply unequal economy needs quick fixing.

Widening income and wealth inequality has been a feature of the Namibian economy for decades since independence but whenever the subject of inequality is raised by the Swapo party, it is misconstrued as racism by the opposition parties.

The then Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), a formerly white dominated party, which has now been revamped into Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has taken one of its elections candidates to task for alleged racist rants when he tried to address the issue of racial economic inequality in our society.

At one of the campaign rallies, Swapo President Hage Geingob also had to be careful when he raised the need to redress the economic imbalances after he attracted the ire of the opposition, accusing him of being racist.

Even Defence and Veterans Affairs Minister Peter Vilho caused a racial storm after he made reference to the unbearable “racial unequal” Namibian society when he stated that some of our white countrymen were greedy.

Vilho further augmented his views at a recent political rally in Berseba when he warned that Namibia would be playing in the hands of apartheid architect Hendrik Verwoerd if 70 percent if the economy remains in the hands of a few previously disadvantaged persons. He reckoned that keeping an unequal society was the desire and legacy of Verwoerd to maintain a policy of white supremacy and separate racial developments which will be an insult to Namibia’s fallen heroes.

Although Vilho’s views are the stark realities of our country, they were seen by some opposition parties and white business entities as being racist and sowing division and intimidating white Namibians.

The significance of the political race for this month’s regional and local government elections has been reduced to maintaining the white monopoly capital than the core issues of redressing the economic disparities of our society which are the root causes of social and economic discontent.

The outcry against economic racial inequality is not only unique to Namibia but is a global outcry as evidenced in the outcome of the recent United States Presidential race.

Narrowing the racial gaps in “jobs, wages and wealth” should be the uppermost priority of our politics and vying for political office ought to offer a plan to tackle economic inequalities that have damaged the Namibian communities for decades.

Namibian politicians must smell the coffee and recognise the racial economic disparities before it is too late.