About the love of power…

ALLOW me, this time, to have the opportunity in your esteemed newspaper to offer Asser Ntinda of Namibia Today a political massage, free of charge.  
This was prompted by further attacks on my latest article in his “Zoom In” of Friday 8 December, 2006.  
He used his editorial and political discretion not to publish my article but responded to it.  Thanks to Smithie and his team, of Windhoek Observer, for being there for the weak and vulnerable by giving me a voice in public.  They are a voice of the voiceless in Namibia.   The intention in this retaliatory article is not to win the debate but to prevent the misinformation to be re-inseminated into the public without being challenged with factual evidence.  
Mr Ntinda convincingly argued that: “Discussion, Mr. Mvula, is an exchange of information, argument is an exchange of ignorance…You have stooped so low.  This is one of the reasons why I have decided not to enter into public spats with you (any more)!” Differently, I know that argument creates a live debate, produces new information that turns into knowledge and knowledge becomes wisdom.  How can an argument become an exchange of ignorance?  May be, it can turn into nonsense sometimes! Ignorance is an absence of required, relevant and verifiable information.  I have never been “high” to be referred to as having “stooped so low”.  Mr. Ntinda cannot run away from my previous questions without giving me feedback from Uncle Nujoma.  I am aware that in my language - Oshindonga, the name “Ntinda” is literally associated with terms like stigma, denial, stubbornness or “unbootable”.  
Therefore there is no doubt about him labeling each new information as “unrelated issues, pathological lies, sensational rumours, misconceptions or bad mouthing”.  Regrettably, the SWAPO mouthpiece’s editor believes that if he fails to respond or find answers to my questions then nobody else will and the article has to be censored.  That is, selfishly and dishonestly, a self-betrayal mistake.

I can agree with my good editor that we are not talking about anything new even if he calls it an “old sensational rumour”.  It is all about our past attitude and acts, that involve perpetuating inhumane and degrading treatment towards the weak and vulnerable members of our society, which are likely to repeat themselves in an independent Namibia. I honestly do not glorify, entertain or hoist high what the South African Administration has done to our people, as when Ntinda says:
“Pretoria has also mounted a heavy Propaganda campaign – well oiled and well financed”, because the previous, foreign regime was illegitimate, self-imposed, apartheid, stubborn and an incredible one.  
It will appear like the fable of a man who was traveling in a thick forest with his two sons. A hungry lion pounced on them, mauled one boy to death and ate him up.  The man decided to kill his remaining son apparently because that bloody wild animal had killed the other son.  So, who was supposed to be emotionally and biologically affected by such sudden and gruesome deaths, the lion or the father?  The concern is, if the self-imposed administrators were discriminately mounting a heavy propaganda campaign onto our people, why then do the former authentic representatives of the Namibia people to the UN, SWAPO, have to inherit and imitate such vicious and heinous acts against its own people who have given it the mandate to run the affairs of this country through free and fair elections of 1989 as Ntinda alluded?

I know that little knowledge is very dangerous.  But what constitutes little knowledge is the application of tacit knowledge only.  It needs to be transformed into explicit knowledge.  This is what I am trying to preach and teach my people to refrain and avoid Mr. Ntinda’s mistake of dependency on the form of eavesdropped and gossiped news or information that can never be supported or verified.  I am personally trying my best to put the queries or issues bothering me to the relevant authority, including Ntinda himself, but they are often rejected and thrown back into my face.
(Letter shortened)

Steven Mvula
Human Rights Activist

“Ovaherero and Ovahimba copy animal sexuality”?

PLEASE allow me space in your esteemed newspaper to express my bottomless concern on the book entitled, “Challenging the Namibian Perception of Sexuality - a case study of Ovahimba and Ovaherero cultural sexual models in Kunene North in an HIV/AIDS context”, written by Phillippe Talavera (2002).
The book is generally aimed at providing an information base for HIV/AIDS activist campaigns in Namibia, particularly in Kunene Region. The book, without reading it critically, promises to be a good one to use especially by outsiders.
Nevertheless, the book contains grossly false and misleading conclusions influenced by western concepts, which in itself counter-acts his claims that “the purpose of the present book clearly became to present as realistic a picture as possible of the cultural-sexual behaviours among members of the Otjiherero speaking cultural group in Northern Kunene.”
It will not need a rocket scientist to understand its tone and the message between the lines. As a proud member of the communities in question, it is my duty to tell those who read the book including the author that some information the book contains are nothing but insensitive de-humanising statements that must be rectified with immediate effect.
The rationale for writing this article is simply to address certain worrying writing patterns and statements, potential consequences coupled with corrections and recommendations to set the record straight.
On page 41, the book reads; “abstinence is not seen as natural phenomena: cattle do not abstain from sex and neither do goats or horses. The cultural reality of the Ovahimba and Ovaherero child is that they are exposed to the natural procreation among animals. This…quickly becomes ….reference to their sexuality.” The argument boils from his statement that “Otjiherero has no equivalent for Abstinence, Faithfulness and Adolescence.”
Two impressions can be deduced from this extract; these people do not abstain from sex, first because the term abstinence does not exist in their lexicon. Secondly, because they replicate or copy animals’ nasty sexual behaviour owing to the child recreation of homesteads into small houses called Ouruuo where they are sometimes seen playing being animals. This is far from the truth.
One wonders what exactly made him think the Ovaherero and Ovahimba sexuality is a re-enactment of primitive animal sexuality and not every other human being in the world exposed to animal procreation? Does he claim that every farmer replicates animal sexual behaviour? What is more stunning is, if these two Otjiherero cultural groups do not abstain because “abstinence is not seen as natural phenomena”, why is it that they are not more promiscuous as some (holier than thou) westerners who take delight in rife pornography business and exhibitionism? This is atypical of Namibians and the saying; “If you should hide anything from a black man, put it in a book”, has long been something of the past.
It’s a biological fact that there is no circumstance when human sexuality can be equated to animal sexuality. People see it and forget about it right away! Of course kids can be observed imitating animals mounting during “ouruuo” but that is not reflected in their adulthood sexual behaviour. The tendency of some people to regard cultural habits of indigenous minority groups as more animal than their own is not new and it is not only irrational, but displays lack of understanding of the complexities and dynamics of African cultural groups.
I denounce the claim that Otjiherero does not have vocabularies for certain concepts he talked about. Perhaps it will help to give the equivalence of terminologies he claimed we do not have. Abstinence for instance is “Okuritjevera koruvakiro”, and people know what it means. A young person (between the age of 14-20 or so) in the adolescent stage in Kunene is referred to as Etere thus deriving the concept, Outere –Adolescence. While Faithfulness remains “Outakame” even if people (like anywhere) are so stubborn and often less faithful to their partners.

The fact that Otjiherero lacks stand-alone terms for some concepts does not necessarily mean the absence of such practice or that the people do not know its meaning.
It’s also not difficult to grasp that the author tried hard to equate Ovaherero and Ovahimba by comparing western concepts and western sexuality lexis to these societies. I do not claim that our language has been developed enough to have all lexicons equivalent to those found in other languages.
The mis-presentation of terms and facts leaves one with no option but to bet that the manuscript of this book was not given to the renowned Otjiherero experts and historians and even contributors who speak these languages for proof reading, concepts corrections and scrutinisation before printing. Thus it contains irrelevant information sandwiched between “empirical findings”, citations, western theories and conclusions to make it convincing and perhaps make instant bucks.
I’m calling upon the Namibian government, human rights organizations, cultural activists and particularly members of the Otjiherero speaking cultural groups to get out of the cocoon of silence as well as Namibia at large to stand against outsiders who directly or indirectly claim to know the dynamics of our culture and make defamatory and hypersensitive statements through sugar-coated research to their own ends or building one’s own CV. This is often done through insidious documentation of indigenous people’s heritage on film, photographs, video tape, audio tape, paintings drawings and in books.
I also think organisations such as the Namibia Institute for Educational Development (NIED), Ministry of Health and Social Services, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Namibian Filming Commission, Namibian Heritage Organisation, all book publishing houses and other relevant authorities should set up stern mechanisms in place to regulate publications of books (and production of films) especially on the indigenous minority groups in the country by cross-checking facts and thoroughly scrutinizing any educational publications or literature in Namibia before any final production of such materials. This is to aggressively guard our pride and ensure that the world is not fed erroneous information.

From Rhingo Mutambo

Councillor interfering with police Work

I FEEL injustice was done, by the media, in reports on allegations of sexual assault of a horse by a man in Omuntele Constituency. As one of the community members and a person who is acquainted with the whole incident, I have the following to bring to your attention for further scrutiny.
On Thursday, 7 December 2006, Mr. Andreas Amadhila (39), the son of Mr. Petrus Amadhila, from Omuntele village in Oshikoto Region, has expressed his disappointment and fear due to pressure put on him to withdraw the case of bestiality he laid against Frans Ambunda, 19, at Omuntele Police substation. The councillor of Omuntele Constituency, Sackey Nangula; the principal of Iimanya Combined School and wife of Ambunda’s uncle (the late Kalili), Maria Kalili; and one police officer at Omuntele police substation, a certain Mbwanda, exerted the pressure.
Mr. Amadhila laid the said charge on Sunday (3 December 2006), after their female horse, red and white in colour, was suspected of having being sexually molested by the accused (Mr. Ambunda).

On Monday, 4 December 2006, the Omuntele councillor approached the complainant (Mr. Amadhila), and tried to convince him that Ambunda was " a good person and a neighbor of the Amadhila family”, and there was a need to negotiate with the parents of the accused on condition that the charges laid against him were “withdrawn".
The councillor therefore went to Omuntele police Substation and ordered that the accused not be transferred to the Okatope police cells. This information was revealed by the senior Police officer Constable Jerry Kashihakumwa at Omuntele when he told Amadhila that, "the police van was available for transporting the accused but councillor Nangula decided that he will talk to the complainant…I cannot do anything".
On Tuesday, 5 December 2006, Councillor Nangula and Mrs. Kalili approached Mr. Amadhila so that Amadhila could go with them to the police substation and talk about the possible withdrawal of the case. Later on Wednesday, 6 December 2006, the councillor's vehicle was used to transport the accused to Okatope police cells after the complainant vehemently refused to remove the case.

It is likely that aggrieved persons are usually troubled, pressurized and forced to withdraw charges they lay against people with political connections. Councillor Nangula is likely to interfere with the police's work in Omuntele Constituency.

That is not the only case he is accused of involving himself in this year, there have been other allegations of rape cases involving minor girls by an employee in the house of the elder Helena Sylvanus.  Councillor Nangula reportedly intervened and the children are now left with such trauma.
(Please, follow up on this!) It is tantamount to a leader acting in a dishonest manner.

Points of correction to a report in The Namibian of Thursday December 7, 2006:
-    The villager arrested is from Omuntele village, in Omuntele Constituency, Oshikoto Region (not Oshana Region).
-    It is Omuntele Constituency Councillor (not Omuntele Village councillor).
-    The suspected villager was arrested and charged on Sunday by the Omuntele Police Sub-station.  He was not transported to the cells at Okatope Police apparently because of t he said councillor’s hesitancy and pressure on the complainant to withdraw the case until Wednesday 6, 2006.
-    Andreas Amadhila is a son of Petrus Amadhila who is the owner of the horse.

Concerned Community Member
Omuntele Constituency

A BIG Thank You

How time flies. The year 2006 has gone by so quickly and we are already knocking on the door of brand new 2007.

We at Informanté would like to extend a BIG Thank You to all our esteemed readers, advertisers and all those who stood by us throughout 2006. As we took our first steps into transforming the Informanté into Namibia’s first fully-fledged tabloid newspaper, we cannot but acknowledge the overwhelming support from the public, which looked forward to a copy of our publication every Thursday, and also to the advertisers who rendered their financial support.

Informanté indeed took giant strides during 2006, which saw the paper entrenching itself firmly in Namibia’s small but growing market. Informanté has proved that Namibians were indeed “hungry” for a publication of this nature, judging by the overwhelming response that we received.

Our offices have been inundated with telephone calls and visits by members of the public who drop by to pick up a copy of the Informanté and extend a word or two of encouragement.

One of the most common comments that came our way was: “keep up the good work guys, we need to create an accountable society”. We must say we are truly humbled.

While not running the risk of self-praise, one cannot but take cognizance of the fact that the strong emergence of Informanté has made people think twice, thrice before acting.

With all due respect to the papers that have been around before us, our turn in 2006 has transformed Informanté into a real force to reckon with.

We have given our readers the news that they want to know, while adhering to journalistic ethics.

The scandals we have unearthed have not been mere hearsay but have been backed by facts.

For this, we thank all those members of the public who came forward with news tips. We greatly appreciate your assistance.

Namibia needs more whistleblowers to come forth as the nation embarks on an envigorated campaign to root out corruption. Corruption is cancer that must be removed from society forthwith.

Namibia, although not classified as a poor nation, has limited resources and is still grappling with the problem of poverty. We need to compel those entrusted with the responsibility of taking care of public funds to do just that.

For those who are bent on abusing the civil and human rights of others, we will also be coming for you.

Once again Informanté would like to appeal to our readers who are traveling this festive season to exercise caution on the roads. We need your support next year.

May you have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous 2007. We will be taking a short Christmas break and our first publication in the New Year will be on January 11.

Rage of denial

Recent threats and verbal attacks on Informanté reporters for exposing corruption and moral bankruptcy by a minute quarter of the public will not deter or deviate the paper from investigative logic. The most recent threat came from David Imbili – the BEE magnate and son-in-law of founding President Sam Nujoma following our expose on his wife- bashing and adulterous affair in the High Court.

Like many other public figures, Mr. Imbili tried to take the lowest defence mechanism by playing the race card, claiming that he has been picked because he is a successful black businessman. Racist characters are prone to see every aspect from a racist perspective. But nevertheless, let me set the record straight. Namibia’s demographic composition is made up of more than 95 percent blacks.

After Imbili meted out his threats of taking the violent route to discourage a reporter of this paper from exposing his unbecoming behaviour he later claimed that this reporter was being used by “whites.”First of all, Mr Imbili must take note of our transparency. We have reported on one of our staffers, Stanley Katzao on charges of irregularities last week. This week, one of our Board members, Veronica De Klerk is in the news for alleged mistreatment of her employees. We have broken the story on the Ongopolo Mine Manager, Andre Neethling and are unravelling racist tendencies in Namibian rugby this week.

The , your rogue veteran white lawyer Basil Bloch and questionable land deals by City of Windhoek senior council official Bjorn von Finckenstein were all broken by us.We would not stoop to the lowest ebb by entertaining racist antics such as those expressed by Mr. Imbili. The more civilized society is there to see and any anti-social action speaks volumes about an individual.We also would not want to inadvertently disadvantage Mr. Imbili, who claims to be a UK Law graduate, by educating him about certain do’s and don’ts in society but if he does not understand that violence against women and children, including wife bashing is a chronic problem in a our society then we are left with no other option. Our understanding of court coverage tells us that issues brought before the courts  are public domain, but when this become a matrix for a UK Law graduate, a lot of questions are raised on his comprehension and any ethical aspect of  his daily dealings.

The traumatized wife, Usutua, perceived the media coverage of her abuse at the hands of Imbili as a political ploy as she moaned to Informanté that her ordeal was a private matter and had nothing to do with the public.In the first instance, any abusive relationship, regardless of anyone’s public standing is a huge challenge for the media execute as one of our moral duties is clamping down on violence against women and vulnerable minors.If she acquiesces the abuse, then we will take it upon ourselves to expose and report about the perpetrator.There are a lot of women of high public standing who have been in denial and condoning abusive relationships because they are not keen to report their ordeals to the police or the Women and Child Abuse Centre. They would rather suffer in silence and remain in complete denial.

NAPWU has ignored nurses

I WOULD like to commend you on the issue of Nurses VS The Ministry of Health.I have been following the spat between Nanu and the Ministry of Health. What I can say is that Dr. Shangula and his officials should not dismiss the complaints of Nurses as a non issue. The nurses are the people working with patients on a daily basis and if they decide to go on strike, it is the patients who are going to suffer.

I know that high ranking officials do not make use of State Hospitals and they do not care about what the ordinary citizens are going through at State Health facilities. The Ministry should look into the issue of halved overtime and discuss with the nurses union, Nanu. We all know that Napwu is a weak union when it comes to Government employees but very vocal and effective when dealing with parastatals and municipalities. Nurses are underpaid and under extreme stress. All these problems seem to mean nothing to the top Management of the Ministry of Health. Why did they halve the payment of work done on Sundays and public holidays for nurses but did nothing to fixed overtime for doctors and dentists who seldom work on Sundays and on public holidays. The PS of Ministry of Health should look into what they are paying nurses compared for example to teachers. A nurse can have whatever degree in nursing and it won’t count when it comes to payment. An example is a nurse with a Masters degree but earning the same salary as someone with only a diploma. I am urging all the nurses to join Nanu and ask the Labour Commissioner to organize elections to see who between Nanu and Napwa will represent the nurses. This issue of elections between Nanu and Napwu is urgent as it seems Napwu is more occupied with its political agenda than with labour matters. The Ministry of Health and its PS are hiding behind the issue of Nanu not being recognized by the government, thereby casting aside the genuine complaint by the nurses. It is a known fact that Napwu will do nothing as up to now it has ignored the whole issue even though it affects their so called members.Nurses should stand up and push for Nanu to be recognized as a bargaining unit for nurses and for nurses to have their own union just like the teachers who have Nantu, staffed and led by former teachers who understand their profession and its problems. Ex – NurseFestus David Box 60Tsumeb (Oshikoto Region)

Government’s UN behaviour worrisome

THE National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) deplores the leading role Namibia played in the deference last week of the adoption of a UN instrument on indigenous minority rights.

On November 28, 2006 a group of 30 African States, led by Namibia, succeeded in dealing a lethal blow to the overdue passage by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is the result of 24 years of negotiations within the UN system. On June 29, 2006 the newly formed 47-nation and the Geneva-based Human Rights Council urged UN Member States to adopt the Declaration.  The non-legally binding instrument asserts inter alia that “indigenous peoples have the right to the full enjoyment, as a collective or as individuals, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms” as set out in the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. 

The overwhelming majority of Latin American nations, led by Peru, as well as European Union (EU) Member States, spearheaded by Finland, strongly urged the UNGA to adopt the Declaration without further delay. The Declaration also enjoys strong support from indigenous peoples themselves and civil society organizations worldwide.  On November 9, 2006 the said African nations listed a total of seven objections affecting the substantive provisions of the Declaration. The nations include the continent’s most ruthless human rights abusers, such as Angola, Eritrea, Mauritania, the Sudan, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. They contended that the Declaration “may be misunderstood as ‘embracing and promoting’ the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination within nation states”. Speaking on behalf of Namibia and 29 other African States, a Namibian representative at the UN argued that some of the provisions of the Declaration “ran counter to the national constitutions of a number of African countries”.  As a Namibian human rights group, we totally reject this claim at least in so far as the country is concerned.

The country’s Constitution, which has been praised worldwide, contains a bill of rights entirely consistent with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 as well as the purposes and principles of the UN as contained in the UN Charter. Moreover, this bill, read together with the provisions of Articles 95(d), 96(d) and 144 of the Constitution, clearly shows that the Namibian Constitution is wholly consistent with the norms of international human rights, humanitarian and customary law. Namibia’s attitude vis-à-vis the Declaration is compatible with the Government’s de facto policy of ethno-cultural leveling and its superficial approach towards both the Constitution and international human rights treaties and declarations adopted by the UN. Namibian representatives in the various international forums have shown reluctance or indifference towards progressive human rights treaties and declarations aimed at addressing pressing human rights situations worldwide. The country’s track record of voting at the UN and other international human rights forums reveals a pattern of negative behavior towards adoption of, and compliance with, international human rights instruments.  For example, since becoming a UN Member State in 1990, Namibia has constantly either refrained from voting or has voted against UNGA resolutions on grave human rights situations in such countries as Burma (i.e. Myanmar) and North Korea. Hence, if this pattern of conduct were anything go by, then one should not be should be surprised if Namibia either abstains or votes against a possible UNGA resolution on the serious human rights situation in Darfur.

The said African countries also objected to the fact that the Draft Declaration does not define the term “indigenous peoples”, arguing inter alia that the absence of a definition in the text of the declaration “creates legal problems for the implementation of the Declaration” and “tensions amongst ethnic groups and instability within sovereign States”. However, through its travaux préparatoires (i.e. the preparatory work) which are the official records of negotiations and which often clarify the intentions of treaty negotiators, the UN defines “indigenous peoples” as:  “[People]s and nations having a historical continuity with pre-invasion and pre-colonial societies that developed on their territories and who consider themselves distinct from other sectors of societies now prevailing in those territories, or parts of them. They form at present non-dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve, develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems”.  Hence, although the Declaration does not per se define the term “indigenous peoples”, there is general consensus about who such peoples are ought to be. Moreover, Namibia, having been dependent for centuries on unwritten customary law, African peoples should have been the least and last to complain about the absence of a written definition about whom “indigenous peoples” are and or who they ought to be.  It is also inconceivable that Namibia, which has benefited enormously from international solidarity against the delaying tactics by apartheid South Africa, is among those frustrating the adoption of the Declaration. Furthermore, the territorial integrity of the states should not be maintained via the claw back legal clauses. Rather, territorial integrity, national security and peace and stability are best achieved and maintained through a holistic realization of the principles of democracy, the rule of law and strict observance of the principles of equality and non-discrimination.  In addition, in June 1993 the UN World Conference on Human Rights recognized the "inherent dignity and the unique contribution of indigenous people to the development and plurality of society" and reaffirmed "the commitment of the international community to their economic, social and cultural well-being and their enjoyment of the fruits of sustainable development". The Conference also called upon UN Member States to "take concerted positive steps to ensure respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, on the basis of equality and non-discrimination, and recognize the value and diversity of their distinct identities, cultures and social organization".  From NSHR head officeWindhoek

Mukwe education sector needs rescue

LABOUR relations of the Ministry of Education in the Mukwe Circuit have really gone out of hand. Crucial analysis done by community members reveals that the Circuit Inspector ( Mr. Katura Kosmas), is being driven by some members of the circuit management committee who have very poor leadership qualities and no qualifications to manage the schools they are currently running.

The principals who are behind this saga are the principal of Andara Combined School, Mr. Samoka A.S and the principal of Divundu Combined School, Mr. Mukendo B.T. These Principals do not seem to have qualifications to run the Combined schools which they head as they only have Grade 10 plus BETD, specializing in Lower Primary (Grade 1-4). Due to having a manager (the Inspector) who is lacking good leadership skills, honesty and transparency, these people are wrongly placed with or without the ministry’s knowledge, considering their qualifications in the field of education. The Circuit Inspector is at all times being told what to do or not to do by these principals while at the same time he is busy doing what they are doing. On some occasions when he is out of his office the two ‘advisors’ take over his duties at his office.

This Inspector is busy sexually harassing married and unmarried female teachers in exchange for posts. This was discovered when one of his ‘Senior Advisors’ (Mr. Samoka A.S), instructed him to appoint his girl friend (Ms. Dinyando) as a principal at one school in the bush, a thing which have so far positively materialized and his third wife (Ms. Murunda Angelica), as a principal at Thipanana JP School but this is still on hold, because the School Board Members at this school were not in favour of the appointment. The Director of Education in the region tried to intervene but after he was briefed with wrong information, he became very angry and ended up threatening the Acting Principal currently at Thipana JP School together with her husband (Mr. Tjakova) without verifying the correctness of the information, and then threatened the duo with transfer from Thipanana school to other schools preferably deep in the bush because they were accused of being the ones who drafted the letter which was send to the PS’s office.

The truth is that the letter was not drafted by the two people implicated but by the community of this district as there are many things taking place in this district done by these two principals and the inspector himself which can be termed corrupt practices. Just imagine, these two principals have described teachers from other regions especially those from Katima Mulilo as foreigners who should not be promoted in this district (is this not corruption?) whereas these teachers are doing a great job at the schools where they are teaching. Anyone can verify the allegations we are making in this complaint by visiting these schools here in Mukwe and you will see what we are complaining about. Currently for any appointment to the posts of  HOD and Principal, the two advisors are the people to take the decisions and the Inspector just implements and forwards the request of the duo to the relevant authorities for appointment.

This practice has gone to an extent where many well qualified teachers have been denied entry to occupy the posts because the Inspector’s advisors see them as a threat. They refer to people from the Caprivi Region as foreigners while themselves (Samoka AS and Mukendo BT) are not originally born in Namibia but they are originally from Botswana.The question is who is really a foreigner between the two parties, is it the one from Botswana or the one from Caprivi region or is a region also termed as a country? Thank you very much Concerned Citizen:                                          

The Chairperson                                                                       
Community Activists Against Corruption                                                                       
Mukwe Constituency  
P. O Divundu                                                                       
Cc Permanent Secretary                                  
Cc the Director of Education Ministry of Education                           
Kavango Education RegionP/Bag 13186                                                   
P/Bag 2134Windhoek                                                        Rundu                                                                       
Kavango Region

Analysts must tell the truth

ALLOW me some space to contribute to the debate about Namibia. The New Era of Wednesday, 11 October 2006 reported that one of Namibia’s political analysts, Bill Lindeke, making a presentation based on a recent study done by himself and Professor Andre du Pisani, said Namibian opposition political parties were "stuck in the sand" and that the ruling party SWAPO would continue to dominate politics for at least the next decade.

"SWAPO looks immovable and if elections were conducted today, SWAPO would win the elections with a two-thirds majority again".

He also revealed that the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) had done a survey called the Afro Barometer which reported that 69% of the Namibian population was happy with Namibia’s democracy, while 60% had trust in the ruling Party.

Namibia is reportedly also "considered to be a consolidated democracy and enjoys a free press, no intimidation and little or no violence during elections".

I am tempted to strongly differ with my good political experts.

The analysis made is so narrow as to be made with the deliberate intention to ignore the visible and tangible facts. It shows a sense of ignorance, avoidance, or the "don’t bite a hand that feeds you" approach. An ordinary person is not given a whole picture of Namibia’s current, political situation which could be interpreted as follows:

In 1989, SWAPO returnees came into the country from exile, with an "Iron fist" claiming that, "We have defeated the "Boers" (through the barrel of the gun). SWAPO brought in a policy of national reconciliation (for the Koevoet, SWATF, Puppets, Boers and enemy collaborators), saying there would be no poor Namibian under SWAPO government and SWAPO was as clean an organization as an egg (any crime committed during the liberation struggle must be blamed on the then South African administration). About 40 000 returnees who arrived into the country by the end of 1989 were unemployed and had no reasonable properties. Those (insiders) who were employed by the South African armed forces were left without a job when

their employers (the South African administration), left the country in 1989. A number of annual school leavers, who have become the street decor, accompanied this crisis.

Our independence’ political foundation was based on the liberation

politics of entitlements, worship and loyalty, politics-of-the-belly, political demonization and harassment as well as character assassination. I am questioning the analytical facts of the said analysis or interpretation about Namibian politics by Lindeke. Firstly, what does Professor Lindeke know better than Jesaya Nyamu, the expelled SWAPO veteran? In an interview on February 2006 with Insight Namibia magazine, Nyamu expressly answered the following question, which is: "Knowing SWAPO very well, how do you see SWAPO surviving this long-running crisis?"

He said: "I think SWAPO has a chance provided Sam Nujoma retires and goes to rest and somebody else takes up the mantle of leadership. Sam Nujoma cannot reunite SWAPO because he was responsible for its division. There is hope for SWAPO to reunite but the present President of SWAPO must retire, unconditionally. Without that, what we expect is a bigger division of SWAPO. As long as the tension exists, SWAPO cannot be united. I know this Party and I have never seen it divided like this before. "

Has Lindeke seen all those happenings before?

Secondly, Professor Andre du Pisani might have seriously contradicted himself with his previous analysis, entitled: "The Politics of Illusion: a Defect of Vision" as published by The Namibian, July 28, 2006. Du Pisani stated, that, "for sixteen years, there has been a negative, despicable political culture of denigrating and demonizing institutions such as the NBC and the Electoral Commission, which were supposed to serve the nation in a neutral and unbiased fashion, but have been turned into party political tools at the disposal of the ruling Party. This has led to a serious undermining of the credibility of these bodies and others.

The balanced relationship between the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary has often been tampered with through casting aspersions, political attacks by senior government officials and through unbalanced allocation of public resources."

But if we can all agree that the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) report is all about human rights’ review in 2006, then we would rather focus more on what is contained under Cultural, Economic, Environmental and Social Rights (CEERs) as well as Civil and Political Rights (CPRs) in the report. NSHR stated that, "the CEER situation continued to deteriorate unabatedly during the period under review. The right to human security continued to be marred by enter alia an ever-increasing number of passive social gross income disparities and severe food shortages as well as diseases. The passive factors have significantly contributed to active human security menaces, such as rising violent crime, including armed robbery, murder, suicide, domestic violence, rape, infanticide and baby dumping have remained grave manifestations of social insecurity in the period under review."

Our human rights situation is challenging and attracting us to cooperate, coordinate and interact as loyal Namibians to one State. This will only be for the best in avoiding unnecessary embarrassment and humiliation. The best illustrative example is the marginalisation of the San community which has now been admitted, lastly and lately, by government. This admission came after 16 years of denying NSHR’s report on the San people. The Deputy Prime Minister, Dr. Libertina Amadhila, is now tasked (without a policy?) to "bring development" to the San Namibians. Is that how we should work?



Steven Mvula

Human Rights Activist

GRN discriminates independent unions

THE National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has found the ongoing discriminatory practices directed by Government at the country’s independent trade unionists to be disturbing. NSHR views this situation not only as one of the major obstacles to a culture of democracy in the country, but also as one of the several major indicators that a genuine transition to democracy has yet to take place in the country.

In addition to the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), there exists in the country another trade union federation, the Trade Union Congress of Namibia (TUCNA). However, unlike NUNW, which is affiliated with the ruling SWAPO Party, TUCNA is independent and not affiliated with any political entities in the country. Although there are numerous incidents of GoN discrimination against TUCNA, several instances immediately come to mind:

1. As public policy, it is required that three of the members of the Board of Directors of the Social Security Commission (SCC) and the Government Institution Pension Fund (GIPF) come from trade unions. However, in both cases only labor unionists from NUNW serve as members of the board of directors of SCC and GIPF!

2. In another case, TUCNA was not invited to accompany President Lucas Hifikepunye Pohamba on his recent visit to Singapore and China. NUNW officials accompanied the President during the said visit.

3. In yet another incident, TUCNA did not form part of the trade union representatives that were invited to participate in the Workshop on the Implementation of the Recommendations of the Namibia Investor Roadmap Study at the Ngandu Lodge in Rundu. The Ministry of Trade and Industry organized the workshop.

Free and independent trade unions play an indispensable role in the process of democratization. In addition to protecting the job-related rights of individual workers, independent trade unions represent an organized force for representing the interests of common people in the political, economic and social life of a country. "Hence, instead of being rewarded for promoting the principles embodied in the Constitution, TUCNA and other independent trade unions are being treated with hostility and suspicion by the various arms of the Executive authorities in this country.

This state of affairs has the potential of derogating from President Pohamba’s positive image not only as the President of all Namibians, regardless of their political affiliation or non-affiliation, but also as the real Father of Namibian democracy" NSHR executive director Phil ya Nangoloh said.

In terms of Article 1(1) of the Namibian Constitution, Namibia is a State founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and justice for all.

As trade unions fall under the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, NSHR calls upon the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Public Servant Alpheus Naruseb, and or his Deputy, Public Servant Petrus Iilonga, to explain the constitutional and or legal grounds, if any, upon which discrimination against TUCNA and its affiliates is claimed to be rested.