The Political Realities in Namibia

By Lt Gen (rtd) Denga Ndaitwah

THIS article is about the political realities in Namibia with reference to what is happening here. There are always many doubts and fear factors in life caused by uncertainties as empirical results are not readily available for everything. The same doubts and fear factors can occur in our politics. This made some people hesitant to initiate ideas. Instead, they react to what others are doing. That caused many people to fail as they will sit idle without realising that lack of initiative and action are the biggest contributors to failure in life.

There are many interesting things in life yet to be discovered. The most hidden secret is how to discover them and make maximal use of them. Failure to discover them may be caused by lack of determination to venture into unknown territories, as human beings are in most cases willing to try things that were already successfully tried by others. But it is by taking calculated risks that one discovers new avenues worth pursuing. If you win, you have achieved your ultimate goal. If you lose, that is a lesson learnt, on which to take correctional measures.

Take my word, politics in this country is based on hatred and reaction instead of substance. On a number of occasions, opposition parties react to what the Swapo Party-led government is doing. In turn, the Swapo Party again reacts to what the opposition parties had reacted on. It becomes endless vicious circles of reactions. By law of nature, reaction is not a problem. But reaction and counter-reaction become a problem once they become norms.

While it is rife for opposition parties to react to events, Swapo on the other hand must recognise the fact that to be targeted is a clear manifestation that it possesses a value worth targeting. This can be illustrated further in that only a tree with high hanging sweet fruits will not be spared from stone throwing, as everyone is throwing a stone to have a share of the fruit from that three. The Swapo Party government in this case is at the receiving end of such stone-throwing.

Although Swapo is on the receiving end that must not make people blind, thinking that whatever the Swapo-led government is doing is a failure that must be attacked. There are obvious developments brought about by the Swapo Party after independence.

As part of political strategy to mislead the masses of our people who lack political judgement, there are people in this country who pretend not to see any development after independence. But those who are misleading people must also remember that you cannot describe different colours to people who were born blind, as they have never seen any colour.

From the above, it is important that we stretch our memories into the past and refresh our minds. That will help us paint a clearer picture by making a clear comparison where we were before independence and after. Try to apply your positive mind in your individual capacities, critically zoom in and look around your area where you live and beyond. That will help you to make an unbiased judgement on the development achieved within the time span of 29 years.

Of course, development is an endless exercise as there are always challenges that must be turned into opportunities. It must be noted that challenges can bring more gifts and innovations, as long as one knows how to use them. To turn challenges into opportunities, we must be mindful that opportunities do not present themselves. They must be explored through systematic analytical thinking and approach. Turning challenges into opportunities must be the ultimate goal of victory after a fight. A seasoned soldier will always enjoy victory after a big battle, as small skirmishes will not give any interesting story to tell.

Successful people are those who think outside the box and think ahead, not those who wait to react to events. Thinking outside the box is a proactive strategy for effective people, on which to build their future strategies. You cannot have a better tomorrow if you are thinking inside the box about what happened yesterday and try to manipulate others’ action.

If you think what you have achieved yesterday after reacting to others is a resounding success, it is because you haven’t tried anything on your own. You cannot think outside the box while you are in most cases just reacting to events as they are unfolding.

People who are forward-thinking are those who are able to translate their dreams into action. Be among people who can apply their brains exceptionally, as opposed to those who apply others’ brains. As part of political strategy, it is vital to create one’s own political environment and agenda to work on. Do not build your castles based on others’ dreams. If you want to clearly observe the valley, climb to the highest mountain by yourself. That will give you a better view and understanding of what is happening in the valley and beyond.

It is believed that some agendas can be national and action-oriented while some are detractive agendas. To have various agendas by different people for different situations is not a problem. It is rather an effective mechanism that serves as a wake-up-call. Namibia is a country with a small population, but full of detractive agendas being pursued by various people, designed to divert others from constructive agendas.

Take one last political reality in this country, the President is embarking on a programme to visit the regions. That visit has drawn political criticism and became a political agenda by certain quarters asking why he is visiting now? Those who are questioning did not even provide an alternative as to what is the best time for the President to visit. The linchpin here is that the regional visits have helped some people draw their political agenda to ponder on by way of reacting.

Before I rest my case, this is what I have to say. The political realities in this country are so boring and reactive. Meaning, should it happen that those in government did not make any move, other political structures will have no agenda as they will have nothing to react to.

I spoke about political realities, detractive agendas, proactive strategy and reactive tendencies. It seems we have idle political minds in this country that are not on high alert to identify problems and try to see how strategically they can solve them.

I want to leave this to readers as food for thought:

“It is not what you don’t have that limits you, it is what you do have but don’t know how to use… And the worst thing in life is not what you have done wrong, it is what you were supposed to have done, but never did.”

* Lt Gen (Rtd) Denga Ndaitwah is the former chief of the Defence Force, a holder of Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies, HOD and senior lecturer at IUM. These are the author’s independent reflections and views.