When serving is misunderstood for patronage

March 9, 2015, 9:30am

When serving is misunderstood for patronage

While not so many people who do not follow Christianity as a religion for reasons better known to themselves will have problems believing practices dominant in that religion but there is one lesson we all learn from that religion. That lesson is pinned around serving.

If you do the easy thing of reading the bible once in a while you would notice that those who served Jesus Christ served him with heart, shoulder and mind until one of them (Judas Iscariot) decided otherwise.

In that union of Jesus and his disciples one can sees how unquestionable service to an individual or an institution can create glory for the leader and subsequent results for the movement.

Jesus thus became a much respected leader and Christianity grew to be one of the most followed religious institution even today but that all started with the service rendered to him by those 12 disciples.

Of course in the modern Namibian and African political set up one is allowed to question my farfetched imaginations about the importance of serving an institution, Government, public institution and a leader because people view their rendered service with different eyes.

The Namibian set up for obvious reasons is easy to relate for many. There is a growing notion that has seen those that are serving certain institutions, Government or even are close to the certain leader use that proximity to have patronage to the system

The Namibian set up is one where service still needs to be scrutinized to get a clear understanding of what it entails to be a public servant. Perhaps serving in return for certain advantages is one reason why after independence we have replaced the wealthy white man with the noble black tenderprenuer who gets all the tenders.

Most of the middle class that has close contact to the with the political elite demand directly or indirectly for favour to be rendered their way. But is that the way you want to serve a nation or a leader that you are supposedly close to.

What is more important is that the bulk of the Namibian individuals who have direct monopoly to a certain leader, institution or organisation would rather serve those for a return of patronage deal. But unfortunately that is a very wrong of going about things.

While religiously people differ perhaps what is needed is the type of public service reminiscent of what Jesus used to have. This was a type of leadership that saw him as a leader climbing the influential leader and his work recognized by the day.

Are you owed anything for serving?

Perhaps the distinction in modern day service is that for rendering your maximum service to a leader institution or even organisation there nothing much owed to you other than the basic payment of a salary or dividend.

It also goes without mention that some of the problems that the country faces around patronage these days stems from a few individuals who use their  accessibility to a leader, institution, government or organisation to bargain for patronage.

The question therefore goes will such beliefs drive the notion of every Namibian not being left out because under normal circumstances not every Namibian has access to the echelons of power, organisations or institutions.

While that is the sad reality that does not mean that those with limited access to a power or political influence do not deserve valuable service delivery. It also does not augur well for any institution leader or organisation when a few individuals try to use their accessibility to control the means of service delivery.

How to deal with patronage?

Perhaps the simple notion is that institutions, leaders and organisations should actually practice tough love to those they are closer to and have an open door policy to the generality of the public. In the simple sense of showing that integrity really does exist those that ride on the wave of patronage should never have it easy to when it comes to getting whatever it is that they want.

Under normal circumstances those that serve a leader institution, or organisation with one eye on the service and another on the returns they will accrue should not have an opportunity to survive in the system. Giving such individuals too much of what they want has potential to compromise the leader institution or organisation that they claim to serve.

Benchmarking service

While the hypothesis used to deal with the issue of service in modern day obviously comes from a religious set up the results in that set up could as well be the ones used today to benchmark service. Simple analysis will show that perfect service to any institution, person or leader will give the simple success stories from those generated from Jesus and his disciples except Judas.

 If a leader institution or organisation has to answer why they are relationship to a servant compromises their integrity and has potential to dent their image then one is allowed to call that disservice than service.