Chasing the Dots – The Ministry of Nothing Works

It is about time our public woke up and opened their eyes! And yes, they may see many things that have got better but we are now about to undergo a major transformation of our democracy that will effectively and probably constitutionally turn us into an autocratic state ruled by an elected president and his appointed regional governors.

Our parliamentary system will be subordinated to this top-line of authority, which if broader world history is taken into account, especially on our own continent, but far from exclusively, can either be a great initial success, or degenerate into apoplectic chaos due to power greed and personal vendettas, or become a police state where the people have no power.

There are many versions in-between but we still have a chance to choose a ruling route that may work. But the first thing to accept is that our current parliamentary system does not represent the people’s interests as it has degraded itself to only represent and benefit, in many cases, the ruling elite. This is hugely amplified by the simple fact that parliament is numerically dominated by office-bearing politicians and this is reflected by the embarrassing inability for intelligent debate in the representative houses!

Our democratic system is simply not working as a representative of the people as they do not represent the people – only a party list, a list that determines whether they are behaving in a party manner and deserve to continue their privileged position or not! Thus the inability to disagree, as you will lose position, effectively makes a joke of our supposed democracy. I would laugh if it was not so serious!

Thus those who are down the social ladder, while in theory have those in parliament and regional councils who represent them, in reality they are ignored except on election days when easily bribed with food and cool drinks! The N$28 000 spent by the GRN budget on each and every Namibian, from a baby to a pensioner, shows no sign of coming to them when we can fly to the world cup in a plane that spends nearly that amount in every flying hour carting the “superiors” around.

But then it is the silence of the masses that is to blame for their own sad predicament and this is where Sacky Shanghala with his changes to our Constitution has a major point nobody shows any interest in joining in the process of change visibly conducted at multiple locations in the country and hardly attended by anyone! They only come out and complain once the proposals are placed before parliament.

But here is the real problem reflected in many areas of GRN activity, the process. Sure asking for input to solve problems through change as a precursor is a necessary action but people have become skeptical as so many times have they put forward proposals only to be rewarded with a deafening silence. It has to be realised that initial consultation is a primary process, then proposals for change are written up and then presented for discussion, criticism and possible change. This is where the real action is but …

But it is at this stage where the real dissent occurs and whether we like it or not, local interest groups, external interests and many others may introduce both valid and invalid content, may use undemocratic practice (bribery?), and even worse, just drag matters out until everyone is exhausted! This is where GRN leadership has to step in and take matters forward, often under parliamentary aice, to introduce changes that do not make everybody happy, indeed will positively upset some. Tough.

Thus, while I can see why some members of civil society are dissatisfied with our Law Reform process, especially Shanghala, progress will only be made by using a political bulldozer. After all, if further changes or even a reversal is needed, the process is available even if the earlier changes have solidified some routes!

Thus on an equal line of thinking, I suggest our Rt Hon. PM’s suggestion to pull many of the “outsourced businesses” under one heading, including the multiple ministerial funds, subcontractors, property controls and tenders, all be brought under one heading as they fall into disrepute under a Ministry of Nothing Works together with a home for all senior managers on full time, fully paid suspension where they can be used productively at minimum cost! I can think of a suitable leader – who passed his basic business Polytech qualification in the mid 90’s!

The reality is that in order to move forward we must actively expose our failures and correct them. Or do we wait for the plane to crash, the tourists to disappear and our democracy to disappear in smoke as in most of our neighbouring countries?

Source : The Namibian