Another shandy in the bar and the competitive anger from the game had dissolved – until the next game. The songs and communal bath were the way of team and community development. Happy days.
But within this social framework these songs and the social interaction underpinned a process of developing understanding that I could expand upon for ever! But the real point is “that” song represented a reality that ultimately whatever happened, whatever theatre, promises or similar, life would go on and your existence was dependent upon your own actions within the societal, economic and political constraints of your own society. That same education system funnelled you in the same direction and strangely enough also put out warnings against trying to abruptly change other societies, even within your own geography. A way of thinking that had developed since the Reformation!
This line of thought led me back to the general idea of governance, the management of power and our currently rather confused and increasingly angry world. Certainly solving Syria or Afghanistan’s problems though discussion or democratic process seem remote. After all, even in countries where an election process is endemic, the loser invariably shouts “it’s unfair” even when it isn’t. It seems an impossibility to have good governance where the “winner takes all” has to be applied where the vote showed an almost even split! And even when the margins are high, as with Chavez in Venezuela, his successful attack on poverty is likely to result in a serious challenge from the middle-class (lighter-skinned) opposition combined with, maybe, electoral crimes, to ensure the present rulers still win!
A tendency towards those in power entrenching their hold through non-democratic means is certainly on the rise. And Fidel’s model of autocracy seems to have stood the test of time despite now showing signs of imminent failure. Who knows! Perhaps we have to resort to the ancient methods and puff out white smoke upon successful elections or do we sacrifice an incentive-driven world for one of intimidation? These problems surround us Namibians.
Here we are proud of our electoral democracy despite its warts and the coming of 22000 (at N$42 million) electonic voting machines (EVMs) but, whether we like it or not, we are subject to incredible pressures from our global world and internal and self-created pressures from Namibians who have made it economically. Both “teams” having the resources to raise intimidating force – both hard and soft.
A couple of examples. How our apparently very competent NamPower chairman has been squeezed by the political wing over economic priority; once rational discussion is now replaced with intimidation and raw use of power! Or public servant performance and level-related salary matters.
Let’s look at this. The Performance Management System (PMS), much referred to as a success in many reports since the turn of the century and having consumed, in my estimate at least N$45 million and at the pilot stage (for some years!) is now replaced with British firms’ idea. Firstly the PMS failure to introduce a performance system reflects on a host of employees resonsible for that system; as the drivers behind the first motivational scheme that flopped in 1995, they have now flopped again. Surely the message is clear? Equally the WASCOM report, again 1995, gave clear guidance which was ignored and thus the bloody great wheel has gone round again and brought in the Brits again!
Ultimately do we manage by learning and progressive change or do we constantly flatter the dead wood? Our electoral system shows similar parallels. One day we must manage by progress, not by covering up failure. Global evidence is obvious.
Yes, at present, “round and round goes the bloody great wheel, in and out goes the .... “ We are running out of resources to shaft the people! Maybe we need communal intellectual baths where all get together?