A two-edged sword

07 August 2019 | Opinion

No one living in Namibia during this time is immune to the ongoing struggles faced by citizens.

Much has been said and written about stalled government projects, due to a lack of funding, joblessness and other woes that encapsulate these trying times. President Hage Geingob criss-crossing the country to meet with citizens and Swapo hacks has divided many. Some see this as a plain and simple political campaign, on both fronts, given that the Swapo electoral college is set to take place next month and the 2019 general election in November. What has been quite interesting is that instead of stage-managed town hall and regional meetings, we have had citizens opening up about the myriad of challenges they face. There have even been shocking corruption allegations levelled against town leaders. Having said that, the nagging suspicion remains that having an outlet will not translate into real change. And indeed, we are entering the season of promises, as political parties and their presidential candidates pull out all the stops to promise us the moon and the stars. Geingob is walking a tightrope here, because as much as state machinery can be used to meet with the public at taxpayers’ expense, it is not a short walk to the electorate making a conscious calculation that the incumbent is part and parcel of their current circumstances. Thus these engagements can become a two-edged sword for the president. Clearly having the space to vent will not be enough for ordinary citizens. Having said that, Geingob is also in a race against time to translate the multi-billion-dollar pledges at the recent economic summit into tangible benefits for the economy and job-creation. As much as everyone expects the Swapo juggernaut to roll over all-comers at the polls, and that Geingob will win a second term with a reduced majority, life does not stop and start at the convenience of politicians and their gimmicks. We need real jobs, real change and real hope.

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