A year to forget

23 December 2019 | Opinion

The year 2019 fades behind us, to the gladness of many in our struggling nation. Trying to breathe under a pile of challenges, Namibia is limping towards the finish line that is the end of this year.

It has been an emotional rollercoaster for many a citizen. Young people in particular have felt the heat radiating from the flames of unemployment and an economy in which SMEs and start-ups cannot get off the ground.

Armies of graduates have resorted to selling 'marathon' chicken as a means of making it to the next day, while looking to the skies for divine intervention.

This year did not inspire hope. It did not deliver us from our woes. If anything, it in fact worsened many of our situations.

It was a year of hunger for many a family that could not put food on the table, a situation orchestrated by both unemployment and drought.

True, drought is a natural phenomenon but mitigating its effect is our own responsibility as human beings.

Two men died in a well in Ohangwena Region while digging for water, a consequence of the catastrophe that is drought.

School results announced last week show that the high-school pass rate has dropped, another blow to the country's younger generation. Some of those who had jobs were ushered through exit doors as employers streamlined their operations to survive the tide of recession.

The construction industry, which had provided jobs to our people while serving as a key catalyst for our industrialisation ambitions, has been in the doldrums. The sector has endured 14 consecutive quarters of negative growth and there is no relief in sight.

There are no clear glimpses of how 2020 would be better than its fading sibling 2019. We have an obligation to ourselves as a people to ensure practical and genuine efforts are made to help turn around our fortunes.

If we continue hoping that government would get us back on track, we could be wasting our precious time because it does not seem to have any idea on what is to be done. Indeed 2019 has been annus horribilis.

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