Chasing the Dots – Democrazy to Autocrazy? [opinion]

Whatever anyone wishes to say, we have to give our gang of three plus their supporting bands all credit for driving through significant constitutional and electoral changes in such a short time.

Indeed, despite following as best I could from the media, I still am not quite sure of all the changes introduced, let alone the net effect, various as yet unseen (?) impacts, or legalistic clashes which our lawyer-bound society will be rubbing their hands over the coming legal battles!

All this said, I have to congratulate our leaders for realising that our initial “democratic” system was not working and that change was needed. And whatever the academics, legal experts or twitterers say, such a change can never be subject to years of debate and individual interactions between interest groups and those making the changes, as that debate would never end and change would never happen.

The risk of abbreviating the process, with lots of highly publicised meetings, which at least give a bit of a consultative glaze to the process but certainly do not satisfy a true consultative process, has to be taken, was and no doubt convinced some that they were being “involved”, and maybe they were? But I suggest a serious word of warning in that, in order to get away with this, there has been and remains an inherent trust by most Namibians in the present leadership, a leadership that due to the constraints of nature, is changing, to be replaced by a new breed of politicians who have yet to show their metal!

And it is this fact that our next parliament, in its new shape, will include many untried faces, who despite being brought up mostly within the ‘Swapo family,’ will have developed their own visions, ambitions and moral values and as we already know from general society, generation gaps exist and are both unpredictable and often thought by the elders as wrong! Who knows as we move into a new world?

As time passes on, we are going, for a few years, to constantly be reminded of the past successes of our politicians who have moved on, but I think it will not be too long before our new breed of younger and often better educated political animals begin to realise that the once all comforting blanket of achieving independence and being able to grow once supportive relationships, will find that our world has changed in ways, well, at least for most of us, we do not fully understand.

New challenges such as the rising tide of religious intolerance will place our leadership under new and not well understood pressure and often divert attention and resources away from what was promised and is desired? This is the sad fact of leadership, whether it be in a relatively low level environment running a small operation, or as the national leader. Always things come along that have to be dealt with that divert attention away from matters of political and social importance.

Our up-and-coming younger representatives will have the natural impatience of youthfulness on their side, in addition to the inexperience of that same youth plus the current apparent need to get rich quickly. There will no doubt be multiple changes to our Constitution in the years to come, but at least we have made a move to escape from a democratic system that was clogged up with debris! Or have we?

What do I see in this change away from ‘democrazy’ and more towards ‘autocrazy?’ Well, the first risk to overcome is to make sure that the main political drivers are in business for at least the next five years to enable them to consolidate and tidy up the changes made to return to the basic principles of good governance (as 31 Oct 1997!) and position well-qualified staff in positions of responsibility as the “old” guys and gals fade into retirement! It is inevitable that, for the moment, Cabinet with the “trustees” will retain a parliamentary majority. So be it!

Yes, this is a dangerous route as there is always overhanging any governance and legal system the joint threats of ‘pre-emptive justice’ and retroactive legislation. As things stand at the moment, our legal system fails due to inactivity and delaying tactics available within a democratic system. Perhaps a little autocratic juice could make it work better?

I thus repeat what I have said before many times: Personally, I find our actions eroding democratic principles and representation wrong, but having said this, I am stuck with the conclusion that what we have done, may well be less wrong than continuing unchanged. Time will tell and in this unpredictable and often sad world of ours, it is important that dialogue between the people and their leaders is maintained, even if hearing problems exist!

The move away from ‘democrazy’ to ‘autocrazy’ has to be tried!

Source : The Namibian