Political Perspective

Political Perspective

AS regrettably few leaders in Namibia have the courage of their convictions (that’s presuming they have any convictions in the first place!) it was refreshing to see Health Minister Richard Kamwi on NBC TV news this week speak his mind to workers at the Luederitz Hospital on a host of gripes and grievances which he termed trivial.

Politicians are usually so busy buying goodwill among the electorate that they fail to ‘tell it like it is’ when it is necessary to do so and without fear or favour. I CAN’T vouch for Kamwi’s credentials or say whether he does in fact lead by example, but I cannot help but admire the way in which he dealt decisively with the aftermath of an investigation into alleged grievances on the part of hospital workers in that town.He can even be forgiven for terming some of the ringleaders of the dissatisfaction ‘rotten tomatoes’, as it seems clear they got some staff to sign a petition under false pretences.Politicians habitually pussyfoot around the former exile community because of their contribution to the struggle, but Kamwi told workers categorically that Kwanza Sul connections didn’t give them licence not to work, or not to take orders from supervisory staff.Neither did he mince words when he said warning letters, and even a final warning in one case, would or had already been served on some of their number.So, good for the Health Minister for upfront honesty and a message that has hopefully travelled further afield.It may not enhance his popularity with hospital workers throughout the country, but his stance will certainly engender respect, and hopefully a new sense of work ethic and scrupulously clean hospital premises! Leaders should not only speak with forthright approach, but base it on their own strong sense of integrity and will to work.We have had those leaders who didn’t mince their words on any given subject, but weren’t exemplary characters themselves! So let’s hope that President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s strong stance on corruption is helping breed a new kind of leader in Namibia: people of decisive leadership skills but with the ethics and morality to match.Kamwi’s stance is particularly refreshing when compared with the holier-than-thou utterances of a Henk Mudge, President of the Republican Party, for example.Mudge wrote a mealy-mouthed letter clarifying the association of Joseph Kauandenge with the RP this week (see letters pages).In so doing, he confirmed the presence, in the RP, of what is termed an Intercessory Committee, whose main responsibility it is to pray for the RP leadership and President of the RP for wisdom and guidance (and presumably in the hope that he hasn’t entirely lost his marbles) but also for the Namibian President and Government! Ye gods.No wonder the RP can’t make political inroads.Its president is so busy drinking from this ‘fountain of wisdom’ that he’s lost touch with day-to-day politics.It’s not only in politics that questionable decisions are taken.I wonder at First National Bank’s decision to close all branches on Saturday (and for a couple of hours on Wednesday) because of the late CEO Lazarus Ipangelwa’s burial.It’s not as if all staff will go to the funeral in any case, and a more fitting tribute to his legacy might have been to do business as usual.And former PR of Telecom, Ferdinand Tjombe, may not realise it, but his use of Telecom infrastructure, prior to his departure from this company in terms of what is now called ‘voluntary separation’ (!), to advertise to all and sundry his ‘premier’ new business venture was in singularly bad taste and a misuse of both his position and facilities at the parastatal in question as well as over-zealous PR! So while I welcome what appears to be a ‘new wind’ blowing through the ranks of political and other leadership in this country to be both upright and forthright, there’s still an awful lot of hot air and lack of judgement and messy management.Government handling of the recent standoff with teachers is an example in point.But perhaps on this level, Prime Minister Nahas Angula’s announcement of new streamlining of the workings of Cabinet and standing committees will avert this kind of confusion in future.Here’s hoping …I CAN’T vouch for Kamwi’s credentials or say whether he does in fact lead by example, but I cannot help but admire the way in which he dealt decisively with the aftermath of an investigation into alleged grievances on the part of hospital workers in that town.He can even be forgiven for terming some of the ringleaders of the dissatisfaction ‘rotten tomatoes’, as it seems clear they got some staff to sign a petition under false pretences.Politicians habitually pussyfoot around the former exile community because of their contribution to the struggle, but Kamwi told workers categorically that Kwanza Sul connections didn’t give them licence not to work, or not to take orders from supervisory staff.Neither did he mince words when he said warning letters, and even a final warning in one case, would or had already been served on some of their number.So, good for the Health Minister for upfront honesty and a message that has hopefully travelled further afield.It may not enhance his popularity with hospital workers throughout the country, but his stance will certainly engender respect, and hopefully a new sense of work ethic and scrupulously clean hospital premises! Leaders should not only speak with forthright approach, but base it on their own strong sense of integrity and will to work.We have had those leaders who didn’t mince their words on any given subject, but weren’t exemplary characters themselves! So let’s hope that President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s strong stance on corruption is helping breed a new kind of leader in Namibia: people of decisive leadership skills but with the ethics and morality to match.Kamwi’s stance is particularly refreshing when compared with the holier-than-thou utterances of a Henk Mudge, President of the Republican Party, for example.Mudge wrote a mealy-mouthed letter clarifying the association of Joseph Kauandenge with the RP this week (see letters pages).In so doing, he confirmed the presence, in the RP, of what is termed an Intercessory Committee, whose main responsibility it is to pray for the RP leadership and President of the RP for wisdom and guidance (and presumably in the hope that he hasn’t entirely lost his marbles) but also for the Namibian President and Government! Ye gods.No wonder the RP can’t make political inroads.Its president is so busy drinking from this ‘fountain of wisdom’ that he’s lost touch with day-to-day politics.It’s not only in politics that questionable decisions are taken.I wonder at First National Bank’s decision to close all branches on Saturday (and for a couple of hours on Wednesday) because of the late CEO Lazarus Ipangelwa’s burial.It’s not as if all staff will go to the funeral in any case, and a more fitting tribute to his legacy might have been to do business as usual.And former PR of Telecom, Ferdinand Tjombe, may not realise it, but his use of Telecom infrastructure, prior to his departure from this company in terms of what is now called ‘voluntary separation’ (!), to advertise to all and sundry his ‘premier’ new business venture was in singularly bad taste and a misuse of both his position and facilities at the parastatal in question as well as over-zealous PR! So while I welcome what appears to be a ‘new wind’ blowing through the ranks of political and other leadership in this country to be both upright and forthright, there’s still an awful lot of hot air and lack of judgement and messy management.Government handling of the recent standoff with teachers is an example in point.But perhaps on this level, Prime Minister Nahas Angula’s announcement of new streamlining of the workings of Cabinet and standing committees will avert this kind of confusion in future.Here’s hoping …

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