A government without empathy

29 May 2020 | Opinion

Yesterday, the spokesperson of thousands of Walvis Bay fishermen fired in 2015, Matthew Lungameni, visited our show, The Evening Review, to relay a sad story of how their lives have been sacrificed at the altar of capitalist-class interest.

They were fired for embarking on an illegal strike, birthed out of alleged exploitation and violations of the country’s labour laws.

Striking outside the confines of the law is as illegal as employers not adhering to the provisions of the Labour Act. But as has become the norm in Namibia, compliance with the law is only required of some.

The fishermen, in their own defence, say they had exhausted all legal avenues for years before eventually deciding that enough was enough.

What is saddening is that some of the companies involved in these violations and grand-scale exploitations, such as Seaflower where Lungameni was employed, are partially state-owned.

Essentially, government connived with capitalist interest to compromise thousands of workers.

This scenario reminds us of the old African proverb that when a hyena wants to eat its own children, it first accuses them of smelling like goats.

The fishermen met President Hage Geingob to narrate to him their agony twice – when he was prime minister and after he ascended to head of state.

Neither Geingob nor his army of lieutenants has been able to rescue these victims of exploitation from the jaws of capitalist sharks at sea.

It’s been half a decade of empty promises.

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