The social contract during corona

14 April 2020 | Columns

The coronavirus has impacted Namibia and the world in so many ways, but it goes without saying that the true cost of the pandemic is far from being truly established.

In the best interest of our country, we have agreed to give up certain freedoms, as urged by government, to combat the spread of this deadly virus. This is by no means an easy time for ordinary Namibians, business owners and the economy, but we have placed our trust in government, believing that it is acting in our and the nation’s best interest.

In political philosophy, the social contract between those doing the governing and those being governed defines the rights and duties of each party to this ‘deal’. In the current context it is not by might or power or the enforcement of a police state-like atmosphere that we have decided to give up certain rights, like freedom of movement, the right to earn a living etc. Namibians are acutely aware that this is what needs to be done.

In exchange, government has come to the party by implementing a N$8.1 billion economic stimulus package. However, it is very disconcerting that mass testing will not be the order of the day, to effectively determine the extent and project when the virus will reach its peak here. We expected this to be part and parcel of the revised social contract during this time.

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