Muzokumwe takes on Geingob

09 Mar 2016 08:00am
RUNDU, 09 MAR (NAMPA) - A Rundu-based organisation claiming to advocate for social justice and the rural poor in the two Kavango regions, has launched an attack on President Hage Geingob after he lashed out at individuals instigating tribalism, nepotism and regionalism.
Geingob was quoted as saying during a visit at the Grootfontein Army Base last Monday that some of those guilty (of tribalism, nepotism and regionalism) might have been in America or Europe for 25 years and 'forgot about their tribe or region, but the moment they are in trouble it becomes a tribal thing'.
“Shame on those people, they should be exposed. Once you develop this line of thinking you are practising tribalism,” the Head of State was quoted as saying in the New Era English daily newspaper on Tuesday last week.
He also said: “If you preoccupy yourselves with identifying only with people from your tribe and region and ensuring that only they enjoy preference, then you are defeating the principles on which the Namibian house has been built.
“Such tribalism, racism, nepotism, regionalism and corruption have destroyed many countries and continue to do so. We cannot allow that to happen to us.”
In a statement issued to Nampa on Sunday, the Muzokumwe Volunteers Organisation said Geingob's remarks are directed at former Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management (Nipam) Director Joseph Diescho, who recently held a public lecture in Rundu on Civic Participation and Social Justice.
During the lecture, Diescho questioned why people from the Kavango regions are not second in power structures as they have the second largest population in the country.
Diescho also scolded his fellow Kavango people for being the least prepared ethnic group in Namibia to take charge of their own affairs.
The Muzokumwe Volunteers Organisation said it is curious on what modalities Namibia’s army will use to condemn tribalism, “whether it is by gunning down those perceived to be tribalist”.
“We find it so disgracing and incomprehensible that the Head of State deliberately diverted from his assignment of conferring new ranks to those promoted, and instead incited the armed forces to see fellow citizens, who are making contributions, as enemies,” the spokesperson of the organisation, Mathew Singambwe said in the statement.
Geingob said: “The policy and ideals of Harambee should apply to the armed forces as well, because if the force cannot defend its citizens, and peace and security of the country, if the force is divided along tribal, regional and language lines, then the nation is heading for trouble”.
Singambwe further questioned whether the President would accept the sentiment that his ascendance to the throne is as result of tribalism or whether it was merely social justice when people advocated for a non-Owambo president.
“Who is the tribalist here?” he asked.
The organisation made reference to United Democratic Front (UDF) President and Damara Chief Justus //Garoeb, who had openly urged his tribe to vote for Geingob in the run-up to the 2014 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
They said Swapo had welcomed these “tribal votes with open arms” and Geingob had supported the call “in silence”.
The group then called on the Head of State to say whether the following facts are true or not: That the Kavangos are the second largest ethnic group in Namibia and that out of 28 Cabinet positions, there are only two occupied by people from Kavango and both are from Kavango East.
Singambwe also mentioned that out of 35 Permanent Secretaries there is only two from Kavango; and that from all the ambassadors and high commissioners Namibia has in the world, there is only one ambassador from Kavango East.
“Of the CEOs of all 79 established State-owned enterprises, only one is from Kavango and of all the current presidential advisors, there is not one from Kavango,” he indicated.
None of the President's latest appointments of diplomats are from the Kavango regions.
Asked about his thoughts on the group’s claims, Governor of the Kavango East Region, Dr Samuel Mbambo said it is the democratic right of every Namibian to express their opinion.
“However, this opinion should not be addressed in a way that it only favours the person expressing their view but rather all Namibians. The opinion should also not infringe on another person's freedom,” the governor said.
The challenge today in the country, Mbambo noted, is not to democratise Namibia - in fact it is the easier part - the challenge is to Namibianise democracy.
“That means that we will have to come up with a new strategy which is unique to Namibia to make our own democracy. We should not copy and paste from anyone else,” the governor said.