Merit before anything else

26 November 2019 | Columns

The state of Namibia's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) has for decades been the source of much gnashing of teeth and hands being thrown into the air in dismay.

Hundreds of millions in bailouts have become the order of the day, which diverts much-needed funds from the development of communities in our ailing nation.

With the current austerity measures in place, and as national debt continues to spiral, the need for effective management of these parastatals, and for some to be turned into public-private partnerships, has become an issue of critical importance.

Similarly, placing the politically connected in SOEs hot seats, in the absence of any merit to these appointments, must become a thing of the past. The issue of merit, when it comes to the appointment of those in government and SOE leadership positions, has long between a source of debate in this nation.

As we go to the polls tomorrow, the continued trend of simply giving people top jobs because they are aligned to a certain faction must be buried for good.

There are two key reasons. The first speaks to competence and the ability to operate intellectually and practically in the interest of the nation. The second deals with unscrupulous individuals who ascend to government offices to simply feather their own nests and those of their political patronage networks. This has long been a sad state of affairs such that unemployment has reached epidemic proportions and where it may be easy to surmise that patriotism and your abilities are not sufficient to be considered by key posts in a democratic state.

This is the kind of scenario that deflates and wounds those who want nothing else but to use their heard-earned skills to drive their country forward and to make a difference in their families and communities.

Merit should be the cornerstone of how appointments are dealt with in Namibia. Anything else is an insult to all the brave men and women who sacrificed so much to get us where we are today.