If these questions are unclear or even unfair, then we ask the hypothetical one: will you the politician and the rich person willingly, deliberately and with a sense of comfort take your closest relative to these public institutions (a state hospital for instance) to receive state-paid-for service?
A survey based on these questions will be illuminating, yet whatever statistics it throws up will be academic. But there is little to no doubt that the numbers of politicians, the wealthy and the relatively rich using public amenities, will range from very low to zero. And this will have nothing to do with altruistic reasons such as that they don’t want free or cheap services, or that they want to avoid clogging-up state facilities. The truth is that leaders, and perhaps most Namibians, do not have confidence in the services offered by the state.
A government is meant to provide basic services to all and properly functioning state facilities should offer any citizen comfortability. The least any citizen can expect of a government is reliable safety, shelter, education and health care, even for people who don’t or cannot have a job. Can that be said of Namibia?
The attack on Swapo lawmaker Ben Amathila last week and the violations, every hour, of people’s safety by thugs all over the country suggest a state that is failing to deal with even the most rudimentary of crimes across the 800 000 square kilometres that make up Namibia’s land mass.
The City of Windhoek’s annual ritual of crushing the ‘illegal’ houses of people in squatter camps on the periphery of the capital is a microcosm of the lack of shelter across the country, especially in towns, to where Namibians flock in the hope of finding jobs.
We should not be surprised if one day soon Namibia is faced with a Kakurukaze Mungunda scenario of the 1959 Old Location removals, where she joined protestors by hurling the first stones at the apartheid police before all hell broke loose. Well, in the Old Location case the black residents were eventually forced to settle in Katutura, but where will our own government remove its people to?
This week’s clashes in Windhoek where a woman threw a stone and broke the windscreen of a bulldozer should serve as a warning that Namibia is sliding into the abyss. Even in the capital students are taught in tents – and one wonders whether there are enough basic teaching tools. Poor health care has been so evident there is no need for journalists even to go undercover to expose the malaise.
Politicians like to say the media simply love to bash them or kick at them like one does a soccer ball. The truth is that the nation is reeling from inadequate provision of services that are expected of government in any well-functioning state.
For all the accusations by Minister of Information Joel Kaapanda that this newspaper is being seditious in suggesting (through it’s opinion writers and reporting) that Namibia is a failed state, the evidence is overwhelming.
Granted, the use of the term ‘failed state’ might be extreme as yet, but in practice the minister is splitting hairs and is perhaps happy to engaging us in the luxury of mental somersaults and semantics.
The truth – Namibia is a dysfunctional state. And don’t take our word for it. Go to the kambashus and speak to the people below your comfortable living standards. You will soon find out.
Beautiful Country, Wonderful People
FORGET the selfish football administrators and lend support to the boys in red, Namibia’s own representatives in the most popular sport in the world.
The Brave Warriors have been doing relatively well against formidable opponents and it is important that we cheer them on. After all there are not always many national events or symbols reminding us of what a beautiful country we live in and what wonderful people we are.
So, if you have the means, go to stadium and watch our soccer players in action. And please build on this by extending the same support to many other athletes because that will help build confidence and a sense of belonging in our often-troubled land.