Politics of Development or Greediness and Avarice?

Tjiparuro “KAPIKA Royal House chief removed,” the New Era daily ran as one of our front-page leads about two weeks ago, presumably being among the few local news media houses to announce to the country, and the world at large, the unseating of the traditional leader, Hikumuine Kapika, who with his people inhabit part of the Epupa constituency in the Kunene Region.

Certainly the mention of either the name Kapika or Epupa should ring a bell to many, among them environmentalists, many of them self-avowed and self-styled, parochial in their interests, which often in the past, and even to this day have been touted as serving more the interests of Chief Kapika and his people, if not the Kunene Region at large. In this regard the two names conjure up more pertinently no more than that hydro-power project, Baynes. If you would have thought that the project may have died a natural death, thanks to the opportunistic opposition, if you like, of some would-be environmentalists, and their equally powerful and moneyed international partners, you have got it all wrong. Because behind the innocent-looking headline of this article things seems to have been stirring, albeit quietly so. Because since the purported removal of Chief Kapika, the truth seems to have been no further from the truth per se. And it seems it would be days, if not months, let alone years of painstaking and vigourous and dedicated journalistic investigation, before one would eventually arrive, if ever, at the truthfulness of Chief Kapika’s purported dethronement.

Because the players behind the whole debacle, the essence thereof which is the Baynes hydro-power project, are already scattering and scurrying in their denials and counter-denials, claims and counter-claims, truths and half-truths, and even blatant lies, with respect to the project, and the resultant undertones andor overtones thereof, the reported unseating of Chief Kapika which has lately but only become one manifestation that the project has much been brewing underground. Unknown to the usually sleeping and lulling Namibian public, it seems that the dust surrounding Baynes hydro-power has never ever settled down. Instead various groups with vested interests, some of them more dubious than others, have been hard at work behind closed doors, and in the remoteness of Epupa, to have their ways, one way or the other, regarding the Baynes hydro-power project.

Thus, the purported removal of Chief Kapika is but a slight glimpse into the stirrings that have been unfolding silently regarding this project.

Different interest groups seem to, somehow, be quietly grinding their axes in tilting the balance of the project one way or another. Call them what you may, as they have been mentioned in the media, from political parties to public relations consultants, businesses, they are there in the deepness and thickness of the project. And whether by sheer ignorance, lack of astuteness and even vigilance against abuse, the media seems to have been caught sleeping.

And the article about the apparent dethronement of Chief Kapika can exactly be seen in the light of the various forces’ desperation at using the media for and towards own ends, with the media seemingly acquiescing, notwithstanding its own lack of vigilance, omnipotence, ignorance if not total lack of interest and indifference in the matter. Whatever happened to journalistic ethics? One of which is truth? But truth is seeming to be hard to get by in this matter.

But what is obvious in this matter and the purported dethronement of Chief Kapika, is that both the media, and by extension the public, is being fed with half-truths if not total lies by unscrupulous elements whose paramount interest is the capital that they can get out of this project, whichever way it tilts. Because, whether at the end of the day the project goes ahead or not, someone is bound to benefit financially somehow. Without any regard to the inhabitants of the Epupa constituency, and the Kunene Region at large, and their interests whichever way the balance may eventually tilt, in terms of building, or in terms of abandoning it, if only for now.

This is immaterial to alien interests that seem to have arrogated the project to own parochial interests and greed. Because the actual real beneficiaries of it eventually, whichever way it eventually tilts after the ensuing ping-pong, have been caught in the seeming helpful and caring embrace of the now various competing entities, and reduced to pacific onlookers at best, and at worst as pawns in the hands of such alien interests, the best they can hope for being only crumbs that may be falling from the tables of the avaricious developers, philanthropists, and what have you. Welcome to the politics of development! Or rather the politics of greediness and avarice, decadence and exploitation of would-be development!

Source : New Era