Time to discuss ideas

05 December 2019 | Columns

Hage Geingob has been re-elected as president for the next five years, so it's time to move on.

This election has polarised our country and the longer the hangover continues, the wider the cracks of divisions will get. True, there are those who feel disfranchised by the system after their preferred parties and candidates did not win. Maybe they have every reason to feel that way, after the cloud of distrust that engulfed the electoral process, particularly the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) without a paper trail. In that sense, disfranchisement is inevitable. But unless dissidents have a really strong sense of conviction that something amiss occurred in the tabulation of results, it is time for the country to move on. Voting is over, but as things stand, it is as though the election is tomorrow. The conversations are depressing and painful to watch. Everyone is still firmly stuck in their political cocoons, from which they are shooting salvos of partisan dogma, a good number of days after winners and losers were announced. During the election, we chose between people. Now that the election is over, we should debate ideas. Let's propose solutions to the challenges that dominated campaigns and effect the socio-economic development the nation is yearning for. This is no time for applauding winners or booing losers. It is now time to put the election madness behind us and look forward to making Namibia great again. By Swapo standards, Geingob was severely punished. He knows it and he was shaken, as his social media postings showed. But he is president now. Presidents will always make mistakes, and when they do, there's recourse in law on how to deal with those mistakes. But elections cannot remain fodder for our daily lives. Like blogger Kevin A. Thomson once wrote, democracy is about ideas. It thrives through unlikely alliances, by finding common ground with people on specific issues, even though we disagree with them in a thousand different areas. When we lose that ability, we lose ourselves.

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