Namibia Has a Good Story to Tell

The European Union’s office in Windhoek this week lauded Namibia as a model of democracy and human rights, and home to sound macroeconomics.

On the democratic front, Namibia also accrued praise from US Secretary of State John Kerry after last year’s election. Kerry applauded what he termed the “extraordinary” participatory process, saying the country has cemented its commitment to a democratic future.

It is a befitting recognition of the efforts that our country – its leaders and citizens – has made since independence in observing the importance of a functioning democracy and pluralism.

Our country is often vilified, sadly by Namibians themselves, for its supposed failures of monumental proportions.

True, there have been frustrating spells of high unemployment and poverty rates, hunger and disease. The dire extent of those problems the country faces means no single person or institution could turn them round in 25 years – after centuries of colonialism and exploitation.

The likes of the US and EU too are aware of the challenges we are facing as a nation, but unlike most local armchair critics, they also recognise the good work done so far.

It is hard, if not unfair, to ignore some of the in-your-face achievements of not only government but the private sector, civil society, the church and other spheres of socio-economic engagements.

Why must we leave it to Europe and America to recognise our hard work, while we negate ourselves as a nation?

Of course, the biggest mistake we can’t afford to make is failure to own up to the mistakes we have made in some areas and not highlighting the challenges facing us.

Once in a while we must sit to reflect on the journey walked thus far. We must assess the path and mark the points of concern with the aim of rectification andor improvement.

Clearly, with all the praises we are receiving from overseas, there is something we are doing brilliantly. We are not one of Africa’s leading democracies by default. Equally, being rated Africa’s haven for press freedom for the past four or five consecutive years is testimony of our commitment as a country.

This is no credit for those in positions of authority only. It is a credit that every Namibian must have a slice of. If there was no consideration for peace, hard work and stability, anarchy would be the order of the day. But Namibians refuse to be party to any such distractive tendencies.

Perhaps the one failure – which we must all share in shame – is that the successes achieved thus far have not trickled down to every corner of our country. Many services – from both the public and private sector – remain concentrated on certain areas and not reach others.

We need to replicate all Windhoek-centric ‘good stories’ in other areas of our country so that those in Vaalgras, Okalongo or Okanguati may also feel the successes enjoyed by others elsewhere in the country.

Times are hard for all nations. From wars to struggling economies, from foreign aggression to global terrorism, countries are finding it hard to fulfil the expectations of their citizens.

Therefore, it means a lot when someone, an outsider for that matter, recognises your good work. It is our crowning moment as a country and we must give ourselves a pat on the back – this, without loosening our grip on the challenges facing us.

Source : New Era