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Let us also not forget that many Namibians lost their lives having decided to rise up and oppose the Odendaal Plan which sought to divide us in Homelands, by rejecting it with the contempt it deserves. Let us not betray their sacrifice: for, we say that their blood waters our freedom.

Recently, we have read some disturbing statements written by youth leaders which can only be described as tribal and divisive. These comments were apparently brought about as a consequence to statements that were made by the Governor of the Hardap Region, Hon. Katrina Hanse-Himarwa who had been accused of making negative statements about the four O regions in the north of our country after having said “Don’t touch us, an injury to one is an injury to all.” She informed me that these statements were made during a SWAPO Party Regional Committee meeting in the presence of the SWAPO Party Regional Coordinator. The statement was not made in reference to any particular group of people.

However, this prompted some leaders of the SWAPO Party Youth League to foment the uprising of the majority Oshiwambo against the minority who they claim are ramping up attacks on the Oshiwambo people and I quote, “Fortunately, the group that is being attacked, Aawambo, has not yet mobilized to defend themselves collectively given the collective attack”. Was this a collective attack or a figment of the imagination of the author? I equate this to what Reverend Wright did in the USA which prompted President Obama to state the following.

And I quote, “As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.” It is important at this juncture for me to talk about the “fallacy of composition” which is committed when a conclusion is drawn about a whole based on the features of its constituents, without providing any plausible justification for what is being inferred. As Namibians we should guard against fallacious reasoning.

Case in point, when referring to an individual who hails from Omusati and has done something bad, don’t jump to conclusions and talk of an Omusati Clique. If someone from the Okwanyama tribe offends you, don’t refer to “Kwanyama Clique”. The same goes for referring to people as Kwangaras etc, etc. If by Kwangara you mean Hage Geingob then refer to Hage Geingob. If you want to refer to Hage Geingob don’t say “these Damaras”. What I have deduced from these statements is that they are being made by frustrated and divisive newcomers who masquerade as comrades and loyal party cadres. We won the struggle for our independence because all of us as Namibians hailing from all ethnic and tribal groups stood up against colonial oppression. That is the majority that won the struggle and that will be the majority that will win the elections. How then do we suddenly fall apart into majority and minority splinter groups?

Fellow members of the House,

The statements that are being made by some of our citizens through print and social media are irresponsible and we should guard against tribal incitement. This is unacceptable, and unpardonable. We fought against racism, apartheid and Bantustan tribalism. Starting from the removal from the Old Location to Katutura. We also came close to having the former Owamboland being declared as a Bantustan and only the fact that Chief Elifas perished in a motor vehicle accident on his way to sign the agreement with the South African Administration prevented this from happening. When the oppressors did not reason, we reached a stage beyond reason and resorted to armed struggle and many Namibians, Cubans and Africans sacrificed their lives for our cause, and therefore their blood truly waters our freedom. Can we really today allow the resurgence of tribalism through the backdoor?

The truth of the matter is that the people making these statements reek of desperation and form part of a small group of divisive individuals who failed to achieve victory through political structures and have resorted to making careless statements in the hope of inciting tribal divisions and unrest. We fought and won against the evil of colonialism. The evil of divide and conquer. How then do we replace that with the new evil of tribalism?

There are also those citizens who are saying that it is now our time to eat because others have eaten before. I have one message for you. If I were to be elected President as the SWAPO Party candidate, you won’t eat with me. The country will eat but no tribe whether majority or minority will eat alone. If some think that is the way things have been done before then they should remain with their thoughts. And if that is how things are done then it is wrong and two wrongs don’t make a right and we will correct these wrongs.

Let me reiterate what I have said before. Nation building is similar to building a house. Firstly, you clear an area on which you build a foundation. You then lay the bricks and use mortar to ensure that the bricks are kept in place. Finally you plaster the wall and it is important to let it dry before you paint the house. The same is true for building the Namibian house. We cleared the area with United Nations supervised elections. After which we drafted the constitution as our foundation.

The bricks of our house are the different ethnic groups (Mwafe, Ngandjela, Musubiya, Mbalantu, Mayei, Mubukushu, Gciriku, Kwanyama, Shambyu, Mbunja, Kwangali, Ndonga, Kwambi, Nkolonkhadi, Damara, Nama, Tswana, Herero, Topnaar, San, German, Afrikaans, English, Portuguese, etc.) and the mortar is the various laws passed in parliament to hold us together. Sometimes there are bricks that get out of place which are the naughty people and you use the leveler, which are our laws, to even them out through use of disciplinary actions. Sometimes you may run out of money to complete the building of the house but you stay united as family and keep the faith until you finish the house. Thereafter you paint the “Namibian House” with national colours – Red, Blue, Green, Yellow and White – so that you can no longer see the individual bricks which are the various tribes.

Thus you have a Namibia which consists of different ethnic groups. Thus you have molded one Namibia, one nation. It is still a work in progress. Nation building is a process and not a once-off event. Fela Durotoye said the following about Nation Building, “A nation is not defined by its borders or the boundaries of its land mass Rather, a nation is defined by aerse people who have been unified by a cause and a value system and who are committed to a vision for the type of society they wish to live in and give to the future generations to come.” I know all of you when you travel out of Namibia you cannot wait to rush back home. Let us disagree in this house but not destroy each other. We are all brothers and sisters despite our political and cultural differences. Namibia is all we have as a country. Let’s keep the Namibian House peaceful and safe for the current and future generations. God bless Namibia.

Source : New Era