Geingob’s clarion call for economic freedom

ELLANIE SMIT and MONIQUE ADAMS
Namibian President Hage Geingob has urged Namibians not to despair or to succumb to a sense of hopelessness, despite the glaring economic challenges facing the country.

He said that now, more than ever, it is time to redouble efforts to tackle challenges head-on until the nation is freed from the grip of economic oppression.

"The struggle for the economic emancipation of Namibians requires new heroes and heroines, and this is the time for them to step forward to the challenge."

Geingob was speaking at the commemoration of Heroes’ Day at Mariental on Friday.

"Just as the liberation struggle was long and bitter, the economic struggle will also be long and bitter, but victory is certain. Ultimately, we will determine whether we succeed or fail, and in honour of our fallen heroes, failure can never be an option."

Bury the hatchet

Geingob said that the effect of the "dehumanising policy of apartheid" is still visible today in the form of widespread and abject poverty among Namibians. He said government is continuously addressing the problem.

"Our independence and subsequent liberty, unity, and justice are not cheap. Therefore, it should not be taken for granted. The democracy we enjoy today was secured at a high cost. It was paid for in blood."

Geingob stressed that although peace is a wonderful gift, it is fragile.

"Therefore, for us to maintain peace and unity in our independent Namibia, it requires each one of us to bury the hatchet, banish grudges and don the garments of blue-green and green, red, white and yellow."

He said these are the only colours that should matter to the free and liberated people of Namibia.

Guard against

Due to the lives that were lost, Namibians can never again allow the spectre of apartheid to infiltrate their society, Geingob said.

"Due to the sacrifices made, we must relentlessly guard our sovereignty and independence."

The president underlined that Namibia has, over the past several years, faced many challenges.

"Independent intervening variables such as the global commodity crisis, currency fluctuations, and recurrent droughts that were amongst the worst in recent history, have all played a role in placing our economy under enormous pressure."

Hardap regional governor, Salomon April, expressed mixed emotions on the day.

"I am happy for Namibia to be able to celebrate this day, but I am vexed as well, because I know that for some, this gathering is a waste of taxpayers' money.”

The governor added that “no amount of tax can pay for the volume of blood spilled for this country.”