01/10/2020

"Mr. President, it's time for the people to eat."

Blog / By Job Angula
Hage Gottfried Geingob arrives to address the final Namibian General elections SWAPO campaign rally on 23 November 2019. Hage Gottfried Geingob arrives to address the final Namibian General elections SWAPO campaign rally on 23 November 2019.

Mr. President,

I hope this letter finds you and your family well. I would like to write this letter to express my opinion on the current state of affairs in Namibia. I would like to start by telling you a little bit about myself. I was born in Oneumba, a village in Oshikoto region. My father was a clerk at the Nampost branch in Ondangwa (now a farmer) and my mother is a school principal. I grew up in a government house in Ondangwa and I was fortunate enough to attend a private school. I completed a bachelor’s degree in IT at the Polytechnic of Namibia (now NUST). This was made possible by a NSFAF scholarship. I started my career at a Big 4 audit firm in Windhoek and I am now working in Amsterdam at a Fortune 500 company.

Mr. President, I am telling you about my story because I regard it as a success story of the visions of former president Sam Nujoma and the late Andimba Toivo ya Toivo. I am sure this is the vision that they had for the youth and future generations of Namibia. I am listening to Ndilimani (Volume 8) (Ndilimani Cultural Troupe is a music band associated with the SWAPO political party in Namibia. Check out Volume 8 here and here) as I write this letter in my Amsterdam Oud-Zuid apartment. I was also fortunate to cast my vote for you and the SWAPO party in Brussels, Belgium last year.

In as much as I may be a SWAPO success story, my fellow youth back in Namibia are faced with dire poverty and unemployment. I am a staunch defender and supporter of SWAPO but my moral conscious can no longer allow me to utter those words. I can no longer lift my fist. Mr President, I was on a train to Brussels to vote for you when the Fishrot story, a scandal where the Minister of Justice and Fisheries were implicated in corruption pertaining to the allocation of fishing quotas, broke out. It has got me thinking, Mr. President, have I made a mistake? Is this the SWAPO that fought for the people?

I don’t know if there is a ploy against your presidency by some foreign agency, the media or perhaps on tribal lines but, Mr. President, I feel like you have changed. I have fond memories of the friendly and open Hage Geingob that I used to meet in Windhoek when I was a student. I have a vivid memory of a story that aired on the Namibian Broadcasting Company in which you drove to some village in Ohangwena to make personal donations to an impoverished family. The Hage that got a standing ovation at Sam Nujoma Stadium during your presidential campaign.

Mr. President, I don’t understand why property in Namibia remains exorbitantly priced and unavailable? It's a massive country with a mere 2.5 million citizens. Mr. President, even the Dutch have managed to provide affordable housing to most of its people. Netherlands is a very tiny country in comparison to Namibia. Mr. President, is it right that educated young professionals in your country cannot afford houses at a young age? Mr. President, I think you should be concerned about the mass exodus of educated young Namibians. How many chartered accountants leave Namibia every year? What can we all do to make the Namibia labour market attractive for young professionals?

Namibia is faced with so many socio-economic challenges and I know that the burden is simply not on government to overcome them. I do not want to simply criticize you, Mr. President. I would like to kindly plead with you to please re-focus on the Harambee Prosperity Plan. Rwanda and Singapore have done it and I believe that we also have the potential to do it. Your excellency, please fight corruption sternly. Please ensure that the ACC maintains its independence with no interference.

Mr. President, I am particularly disturbed by the manner in which you are managing the Fishrot saga. I really thought you would make use of this scandal to demonstrate your outstanding and exceptional leadership skills. Think of Namibia as a company listed on NASDAQ stock market, what would happen to the share price if a story broke out that one of the senior officers is involved in corruption? Yes, I understand that one is innocent until proven guilty but it is quite disturbing that you proudly refer to the accused as SWAPO members?

‘Stand by your people, not your comrades’.

This is not the time to stand by your comrades but you should stand by your people. They are people who have lost livelihoods because of the looting perpetuated by your comrades. Why do you publicly defend your lawyer Sisa Namandje whose immoral antics are exposed in a documentary? It says a lot that none of them have sued Al-Jazeera? Let me remind you that politics is a matter of public perception, Mr. President! I just hope that our actions today don’t come back to bite the mighty SWAPO party tomorrow.

I think it is high time to get rid of shadow economies and to switch off the looting machine. It is time for the people to eat. The comrades have eaten enough now. Just like Hage the Prime Minister, I would like you to leave behind a great legacy, Mr. President. I do not agree with the notion that things are slow in government. We just debunked this with the record time in which we managed to pay Covid-19 emergency relief grants. It is never too late, Mr. President.

The youth does not hate you Mr. President. The youth are up in arms for the very same reasons that Nujoma and ya Toivo took up arms. The youth simply want to see change. The youth want to see a better future and economic emancipation as promised by our freedom fighters. We will never understand the struggles of apartheid-Namibia. We weren’t there. It may look like we are ungrateful for the political freedom that SWAPO gave us. We got political freedom without true economic freedom. Political freedom appears to be useless now. What are we benefiting from it? There is a growing number of revolutionaries like the AR (Affirmative Repositioning, a group of activists led by Job Amupanda, a young revolutionary from Namibia) activists and Dr. Panduleni Itula, a Namibian dentist who as a SWAPO party member ran as an independent candidate in the 2019 presidential elections. He has since formed his own political party. The party is making use of this opportune time to fight for change in the same manner in which the Ovambo People Organisation, a nationalistic movement with the aim to end the South African colonial administration, and the placement of South West Africa under the United Nations Trusteeship system. OPO became SWAPO, the leading political party in Namibia.

It is time to re-calibrate, Mr. President. As a SWAPO success story, I am grateful for the policies that the SWAPO government has implemented to enable me to succeed. However, success in the midst of poverty is not success. It is not just about me, sir, I would like to see my fellow Namibian youth excel. It hurts me so much to see people with engineering degrees sit at home unemployed. These are the people who are supposed to be building our country.

Mr. President, I hope that you will receive this letter in good faith. I do not know the inner workings of the public sector but I always ask myself, how difficult can it be to govern 2.5 million people? This is not even the population of the Johannesburg metropolitan area? The Ndilimani track titled “Tate Sema” says: 'Namibia oshilongo shuudha no shushilila uuyamba. Evi lya Namibia ewa nawa' - 'Namibia is a country filled with wealth. A beautiful country'. I urge you to leave behind a legacy where its wealth is distributed to all its citizens.

Your faithfully,
Job Angula

Job Angula is a Namibian citizen living in The Netherlands. Job was born in 1993 and he is currently an IT Risk and Control Officer at a tech company.