'We shall overcome'
The head of state said while the nation revels in independence, it was not lost on government that “some of our citizens are bearing the heaviest brunt of the economic slowdown”.
22 March 2019 | Local News
“I stand before you with confidence and an unwavering belief that we are a nation capable of overcoming the most daunting of challenges; we are a nation capable of achieving the greatest ambition and we are a nation that will stand the test of time and mature into a society characterised by economic progress and shared prosperity,” Geingob said during yesterday's Independence Day celebrations at the Independence Stadium in Windhoek. While acknowledging the presence of Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta and his delegation, Geingob said independence did not only bring with it new opportunities, but new challenges.
“The struggle for political independence was won, but the struggle for economic independence has begun. As a nation, we have made significant strides over the past 29 years.” Geingob said in this vein, “we will continue to channel material and intellectual resources towards the strengthening of laws, policies and programmes directed towards combatting crime, illicit substance and alcohol abuse, child abuse and gender-based violence”.
“The first course of action in this regard is to arrest the spread of the scourge of poverty within our society,” the head of state added. Geingob said the successful second national land conference of October 2018 was “a pivotal moment in our nation's history and a definitive step towards effectively addressing the land issue in our country, and thereby restoring the dignity of our people”.
“We are committed to continuing this tremendous progress in infrastructure development through various projects such as the improvement of our road infrastructure networks.”
Geingob said the Namibia of 2019 is a far cry from the Namibia of 1990.
“We are aware that some of our workers have lost jobs, and thus their incomes, and are suffering and facing uncertainty. Yes, we are aware of that. Let me assure you that you are not alone, we understand your dilemma, we empathise with your predicament and we are working around-the clock-to ensure that we restore economic growth and job-creation.”
Equally, the sustained drought conditions have economically weakened most farmers, who have either lost large numbers of cattle or will not have a harvest this year, he said.
“Within the limited budgetary means, government will continue to assist these farmers through the line ministry,” Geingob added.
Kenyatta, who was the guest of honour, called on all African leaders to pay particular attention to the dreams and aspirations of young people, by creating a conducive environment for them to flourish.
“Our young people are the reason our forefathers fought long and hard for self-determination and they are the reason our free nations exist today,” he said.
Many of the crowd at yesterday's celebrations woke up in the wee hours of the morning to catch municipal busses to the stadium.
“The fact that education is free is a very good thing for me, and we can see government is trying to improve education. It is not that they are not doing anything,” said Mellissa Jafta, while standing at a kapana stand. Veronika Titus, who lives in the Goreangab informal settlement, said: “I stay on illegal land in Goreangab. There is no toilet or a tap for water there.”