AN outstanding three-try performance by Jona Nareki saw the Otago Highlanders come from behind to beat the Waikato Chiefs 39-23 in their Super Rugby Aotearoa clash in Hamilton on Friday.
MANY NAMIBIANS will understand and perhaps sympathise with president Hage Geingob's yearning for “positive” news on the country.
Apart from a short honeymoon when he became head of state in 2015, Geingob has presided over arguably the worst combination of socio-economic conditions in Namibia since independence.
But the president can forget about garnering sympathy when he engages in academic debates when he claims that Namibia does not have a “systemic corruption” problem.
Speaking at the first Cabinet meeting of the year this week, he lashed out at the media for not reporting on one aspect of a just-released Afrobarometer survey that he considers “positive”. It lists Namibia as one of only two states from among 18 African countries found to have low levels of bribery by citizens when it comes to obtaining essential public services like what the police offer, and the provision of identification documents..
Geingob used this positive example to back his argument. However, he dismissed several aspects of worsening corruption as merely a perception among the public despite the survey being undertaken before the Fishrot scandal became public.
“Systemic corruption is when you have to pay to get services… Not what you 'think' is corruption,” he said.
The president's high school debating antics are worrying considering the many cases of high-level systemic failures that led to cases like the Fishrot scandal, and the more than N$200 million stolen from the government-funded SME Bank.
Is president Hage Geingob out of touch with reality, or is he deliberately raising distractions to avoid taking tough decisions on changing the very systems, processes and institutions that he correctly says should be in place for good governance to thrive?
If there are no checks and balances to prevent using funds from parastatals such as Fishcor to pay for inner Swapo campaigns, is 'systemic corruption' only an academic phrase?
The president needs to look no further than his own economic advisers who pointed out that Namibia's natural resources (fisheries, mining, farm land) are managed in such a way as to grease a patronage system.
The advisers recommended that laws and policies be changed to help end rent-seeking cronyism so that state resources benefit the broader society instead of a favoured few.
If Geingob continues along this path of deny, deny, deny then corruption is bound to become so widespread that there won't be even a ray of hope to boast about the one positive aspect that showed most Namibians do not have to pay bribes for basic public services.
The president must learn to accept that a lot is rotten in the top echelons of Namibia's polity.
Jobs for comrades (often without merit) is so normal that few Namibians stand a chance of being employed by government institutions unless they are in the good books of someone in the Swapo leadership.
Pretending that corruption in Namibia is not akin to virus-contaminated blood can only mean we will soon fall headlong off the cliff following leaders who are oblivious to the impending crash.
How long before we fix the laws, policies and systems?