Open letter to the President of the Republic of Namibia

Greetings in the name of the King of the Church, Jesus Christ, the risen Lord.

May I, Your Excellency, on behalf of family and indeed on my own behalf, wish you and our first family a very blessed and God filled, 2018. I pray that the goodness and mercy of the Lord shall follow you all the days of your life.

May I, Your Excellency, also congratulate you on your deservedly and emphatically overwhelming election as leader of the governing party. To you it must have been the ultimate recognition of a long journey of faith, suffering and struggle. I am of the opinion that your selfless strive was never meant for self-glorification or gratuity, but rather to serve. Yes, to serve the poor, the downtrodden. Let us remember that service demands selflessness and the willingness to give ourselves fully to the cause. You must be aware of the fact that leadership requires a tough mind and tender heart. I am reminded of a French philosopher who once said: “No man is strong unless he bears within his character antitheses strongly marked.”

Your Excellency, I am writing to you in my personal capacity to express my deepest concern about the state of our nation. In this regard I am referring to shattered dreams. We, previously oppressed Namibians, who have long dreamed of freedom, are still confined to an oppressive prison of tribalism and classism. Our radiant hope of a bright and prosperous new tomorrow remains a distant dream. How do we transmute this dungeon of shame into a haven of redemptive hope? Do we turn bitter? We might feel that we have reason to do so, since we are still in the prison of segregation, even though not by law. However, we must rather turn the darkness of frustration into the light of hope, so at least I believe.

Optimism is on vacation. The state is cleared for hope. But, Sir, how do I tell this to a people without hope, when at times the headwinds of disappointment, sorrow, lies, corruption and tragedy beat unrelentingly against us.
There is the challenge of poverty. Sir, here I want to address a specific and most recent incident that smacks of greed and selfishness of the first degree.

Surely, Your Excellence your crib-biting cronies earn enough, even though it does not match their performance, to pay for their own holidays and pleasures.

It was with a sense of despair and utter disgust that I noticed the fact that one of our highest officials went on holiday to South Africa with a government car and this despite the fact that we have an Island of wealth in a sea of poverty. This is a shame. Poverty is the biggest challenge that our government and entire nation have to address aggressively and decisively.

We were naïve to believe that liberation would give expression to the inescapable moment of radical change, Metanoina, a turning around in the opposite direction; of such change Namibians know nothing. At least now I know that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

There is this excessive greed amongst the new (current) political elite. May I remind you of the words of that great icon, Mahatma Gandhi: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” I am convinced that the per diem of this official and her entourage could have provided thousands of disadvantaged salt-of-the-earth Namibians with at least one essential decent meal over the festive season. But yet, your colleague chose otherwise. Sir, in terms of protocol as Head of State you must have approved this act of treason against the poor. Please tell us you did not endorse this scandalous behaviour.

The poor don’t need our sympathy. They don’t need our endless insignificant workshops just to collect allowances to satisfy this unending greed. They need concrete and workable solutions. How is it possible that so many people are poor while so few are stinking rich. It remains a blot on the soul of our nation, and our national leaders will always be held responsible for this shame; it will be their legacy. The agenda of our Government should be prescribed by the poor. They want to be people acknowledged, by the grace of God, as people living in a concrete situation against whom we have a responsibility. Living persons who challenge us because they are real.

The poor is someone we must respond to as persons created in the image of the Living God. In whose cry of anguish, pain and suffering we hear the voice of God. In whose humiliation we see the suffering of the God who is afflicted by the affliction of his people. I witnessed deep poverty in isolated rural homesteads in far–flung villages. For many people in Namibia, their primary occupation is daily survival. Forward planning is a luxury they cannot afford. What people need is a worthwhile life; not just mere existence; not just simple survival. They must be able to live out their full human potential.

A great statesman President John F Kennedy once said: “If a free society cannot help the many that are poor, it cannot save the few that are rich.”

Sir, just a glance at our Grade 10 and 12 results makes one to realise that our ‘education system’ prepares our young to become hewers of wood and drawers of water.

I am becoming more convinced that our Government wants to prove the contrary Lord Brougham wrong who once said: “Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.”
There is no denying the fact that the times ahead are going to be challenging and hard ones, but we must never lose heart.

Just for the record, yes, I am unashamedly a member of the PDM [Popular Democratic Movement]. I support our youthful, visionary, gifted and energetic leader unconditionally. My leader, Hon McHenry Venaani is a gracious human being who displays a deep respect for human dignity.

I am sick and tired of exhausted, compromised and visionless leaders that are long on ideas but short on actionable plans. Implementation to them remains a luxury.

May I conclude with the words of Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “The Church must speak up against injustice and violence, against oppression and exploitation, against all that dehumanises God’s children and makes them less than what God intended them to be.” Thus, Sir, I am doing what I am doing as a humble servant of the living God.

God bless Africa
Guide our leaders
Bless all her children
And give her peace.

Shalom!

Reggie Diergardt.

Article source: https://www.newera.com.na/2018/02/09/open-letter-to-the-president-of-the-republic-of-namibia/

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