Will Harambee bring Prosperity to Namibians?

Progress Namibia - Will Harambee bring Prosperity to Namibians?
13 June 2016

Our Young Professional Trainee, Reinhold, recently wrote a review on the Harambee Prosperity Plan and its implementation with the backdrop of our previous development plans. Enjoy the read!

Namibia has certain plans and policies in place to guide the development and progress of the country. These policies and plans include Vision 2030 and the National Development Plans (NDP1– NDP4). In these, Namibia aimed to make progress towards a prosperous and industrialised country, developed by her human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability. If I have to look at the progression of our country in comparison to previous years, our country has managed to achieve some development results on the basis of NDP1-NDP4, which are the main development plans guiding the country towards development since independence. However, disappointingly enough, I see that some of these forefront policies and plans fail to meet some of their main targets such as the reduction of unemployment amongt the youth and the provision of housing to the large population. Thus, this is where the Harambee Prosperity Plan comes in; it will pick up fallen pieces from these plans. The Harambee will serve as a strong development planning approach to tackle most of these challenges along with poverty eradication. It needs to take credit for its strong emphasis on poverty eradication because it is very clear that if the war on poverty cannot be won, then there is no foundation for prosperity. Prosperity can only circulate in our country if people are happy with their lives and if the gap between the rich and poor is bridged. In fact, for development to be sustainable, the flow of incomes, particularly for the poor and unemployed, should be measured. The above-mentioned focus is to be achieved in HPP through five pillars, 14 goals and 41 interwoven targets. At the heart of all the above are the performance agreements signed by ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries and senior management.
Many development plans and policies fail because they are driven by people who are often not in the public eye. If we have to look at leadership of the HPP implementation, it is derived from the President, he remains in the public eye and if something goes wrong, he is immediately held accountable by the people. On the basis of poverty eradication and HPP, our nation is very committed, pulling in the same direction under his leadership. This is significant due to the following reasons: firstly the president engaged with Namibians from all walks of life in all 14 regions. As a result, according to him, he realised that Namibians want an enabling environment to live with respect and sustainable incomes. The president also got to include citizen participation, engaging key stakeholders, including farmers’ unions, workers’ unions, the business community, youth and media. This approach plays a very crucial role in development; people need to be consulted because they are the forefront of development projects. This is also because the approach is portrayed in poverty eradication mantra, ‘No one should feel left out’, in the dialogue to formulate HPP.
On the other hand, the Harambee Prosperity Plan seemingly contains many more promises to the previous ones that were not achieved and this is very bad, plans need to keep to their promises. HPP mentions working towards accountability and transparency but how do we achieve that, if there is already unanswered questions circulating around the president linked to the lack of transparency. The president implored all politicians to declare their assets, of which he and the first lady declared theirs but this does however not seem to illustrate a practice of transparency from his side because at the hands of the bigger public, the president still dodges the question of how much he earns or what the salaries are of his A-Team of advisers. Furthermore, the president is also suspected to be involved in a township deal, which has been blamed for driving up the cost of housing but according to him, he is not involved in the township project and that the plans remained unknown to him as he is merely just an apparent beneficiary in the family trust; but this still implies personal gain from the large development project. His strong support for the building of the new parliament proves that his status and comfort, so is that of other parliamentarians like him, are more of a priority than the poor majority that placed him in power at the hands of his promises. It’s so surprising that money is always not enough to improve our country’s infrastructure and to build schools but there always seem to be enough to establish things that absolutely don’t benefit all citizens such as the new parliament and an airport expansion costing billions. This can be seen as the compromising of integrity by someone steering the Harambee. We can all help in steering the ship towards change and progress, if we fully trust each other as passengers on board. Thus, with the lack of accountability and circulation of corruption, the development of our country cannot move forth as the Harambee Prosperity Plan outlines. Prior to the promise of delivering sufficient services for land and housing development, achieving these targets seem merely impossible as the current failure in housing delivery has prompted a large housing crises that led to informal settlements increasing and expanding uncontrollably at the end of each day but nothing would have been done, if it wasn’t for the pressure from the AR movement. They brought a bit of change, but knowing how big of a crisis the land issue is, that change seems a bit useless.
Ultimately, from my analysis of the Harambee, I strongly believe Harambee can only progress if we use the successes and failures of previous plans and policies to understand current challenges and achieve the outlined targets of Harambee Prosperity Plan. Furthermore, for prosperity and development to be achieved in Namibia, social progression should be closely linked to economic enhancement because economic development without social upliftment of all Namibians is meaningless. Well-being indicators that are specific to Namibians should be used to measure and monitor the success of the Harambee Plan.