Chasing the Dots … the Double Zebra and More 5050 [opinion]

MORE action plans, regurgitation of performance agreements, the constant recycling of gender balance and no doubt a return to ‘shape up or ship out.’ Meanwhile, back on the plot, kids are dying of hunger and cold, alcohol abuse is having its effect and the people continue to survive.

Now our politically ‘elected’ are seeking a way to feather their nests forever. Indeed, maybe a couple of parliamentary sessions could give them, if they so elect, a permanently paid-for future life with all the extras thrown in. Even the Kenyans have not had the nerve to do this yet!

But in the same breath, these politicians, as they did in 20034, are demanding that their officials deliver according to their ‘to be delivered’ action plans. This was what the MTEF system was all about when fully supported those 10 years ago, but it was successively undermined as they realised the officials were held back by the politicos! Hence the escape strategy from outcomes, to outputs, to waffle!

Are these factors plus our constant chatter about having a 5050 gender representation or having youth come to the fore, another 5050 thinking? The net effect is as much talk as all the old men in power retreat behind their current practice.

In my opinion, change is not going to happen until the Swapo congress in its manifesto openly supports the 5050 gender balance. But as an exact equal, the youth, or at least younger members, should be supported with an additional 5050 balance where at least half of the political representatives are under 50 years of age. A double zebra of age and gender!

This ‘double zebra’ should also have relevance in the administrative side of government in that it is an undeniable reality that as our government has aged, more and more ‘antiques’ have dug themselves into their organisational positions. Having surrounded themselves with ‘friends’ who are kept happy with SampT, trips and courses, they can remain submerged from view apart from occasional brief appearances bursting forth on NDP4 and Vision 2030- safe subjects before ducking below the parapet again.

And here is exactly the problem. Our current President has used his time to keep the peace and, despite occasional revealing outbursts, has kept to his own mandate to allow all matters of state to develop without any input from him.

The mushrooming of new government agencies, off-line income earners, well-connected financial fronts men and a class of lawbreakers, who seem to be above the law, will be his legacy. It now means his successor will have the opportunity to clamp down on the ‘bad guys’ who have already banked their ill-gotton gains! But this does supply a starting point for change for the better from one point of view.

The interesting thing is whether our new President will return to his own point of personal departure by restating the Public Service Principles of 1997! And taking them forward.

To do this convincingly he has to aance the younger generation and the new party list must be a ‘double zebra’ job bringing in more women and fewer antiques! Those passed over in this process should as part of Namibia’s reconciliation process quietly fade out of public view beyond occasional protest or support in the media. They have served their time and can act as “wise men” to be listened to if they make sense!

My real hope is that the original Nujoma Geingob combination, which is where we came in as a nation in 1990, will ultimately find that peaceful road to economic and social success that we all believed in, then and now, to provide a future of which our small kids of today may be proud.

Yes, performance agreements on successful outcomes, parliamentary oversight that works and acts, and political guts to kick out the incompetent. Lots of open and good governance. Maybe the wheel has turned around to give us a fresh start? Our younger women and youth show they have ideas, potential and drive. Set them free, please.

Source : The Namibian