Rights vs responsibilities

09 October 2019 | Opinion

It is true that one can scarcely pick up a newspaper or watch or listen to a broadcast news item these days without reading about someone talking about 'rights'.

However, the word 'responsibilities' does seem to come up as often, which is a shame because it is every bit as important as our rights.

This has filtered down into all aspects of our society, from deadbeat dads not paying maintenance, to the simple acting of caring and protecting those we claim to love. Namibia is awash with examples where people value rights over responsibilities. For example, look at our engagement on platforms like social media. We have reached a level of debate where insults and downright malice have overtaken our ability to engage in the kind of discourse that can take our nation forward. In terms of our body politic, we have watched, since independence, how entitlement has begun to eat away at our social fabric. It is a shame that liberation capital is used to rake in actual capital, at the expense of the poor. Proximity to power often determines whether ordinary citizens get ahead in life or not. Lost are the responsibilities that leaders have towards all of us, who vote them in every five years.

We have a massive problem with embracing our responsibilities, even in terms of our own families. The temptations of life, including nice times, have become our balm and often our downfall.

Not a week goes by without crime reports linking alcohol and drug abuse to violent crime.

As much as rights are important, taking responsibility for our actions and how we treat others, is just as important. We have become a society in which we glorify what we are entitled to versus what we need to do to make it better.

Let us embrace our rights, but also our responsibilities, which are heavy and manifold, especially during this time in our nation's history. Our future depends on this.