Namibia’s thrust towards independence

Public lecture held

10 October 2019 | Local News

Bob Kandetu; Speaker; “Our economic deficit is starting to rise without remedy.”

Swakopmund • Adolf Kaure

The Swakopmund Scientific Society recently held a lecture by well-known author, social scientist and veteran community activist, Bob Kanḓetu, titled: “The thrust towards Namibia’s independence” at the Museum Lecture Hall.

The presentation was part of a series celebrating 30 years of Namibia’s independence under the theme: “The long road to Namibia – the making of a nation”.

During his presentation, Kanḓetu – who was the head of the Council of Churches Namibia (CCN) during the years before independence, said that the budget of the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) to Namibia as well as the repatriation of refugees from neighbouring countries at that time were among the issues that Namibia had to sort out after independence.

“There was an election organized by the South African government and supervised by the United Nations. SWAPO won the elections and was tasked to draft the constitution of the country through the constitutional assembly.

“They had to decide what would happen after that, which was to decide whether they would have a constitutional assembly or a national assembly.”

He said that it was decided on the latter along with a national council, which would jointly be known as parliament.

Kandetu said that Hage Geingob, who was the chairman of the constituent assembly at the time, proposed that the constitution was to be accepted by consensus.

“SWAPO started looking at appointing people from other political parties to be part of the government after the election, although opposition parties did not approve of it.”

Post-independence

Kandetu said that Namibia’s track record has been good in terms of democracy after independence. “For example, you have not heard of a journalist being locked up for taking the president to task. Even on social media, there are various harsh things that are said about the president and yet no decision has been taken to regulate social media and this is really democratic.”

Kanḓetu blamed the current economic downturn on the inefficient way the business of the state has been managed as well as the mindset people have in terms of corruption.

“Our economic deficit is rising without remedy. We have a budget which we cannot afford and [yet] we keep on increasing it with loans.

“The mentality in developing countries like Namibia, is that people … take money, thinking that if they don’t take it, someone else will. We need to be concerned about these things,” Kanḓetu said.

Another criticism he had was how churches in Namibia have become inactive in their communities.

“Back then, the church was for the people [the Ecclesia]. Now the church has become isolated from the people. There are gangs which are increasing, as well as hunger on the streets. This is where the churches who are residing among those communities, should intervene.”

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