Death wishes

13 June 2013

A former Namibian diplomat recently made an unusually perceptive observation.

He pointed out that we sometimes talk, or report, about certain things as though they are perfectly normal and acceptable subjects for everyday discussion.

Most recently, we have taken to loose, irresponsible and extremely dangerous talk about death threats and possible assassination attempts on one of our political leaders.

People talk about the subject so casually that one would think political assassination is a commonplace, everyday occurrence in Namibia and forms part of the cultural norm in this country.

The media has behaved particularly irresponsibly with lurid, almost daily reports about alleged murder plots against Prime Minister Hage Geingob.

The reports are vague in the extreme, unsubstantiated and in some cases absolutely ludicrous but this seem to matter little to the journalists and editors concerned.

What is particularly worrying is that none of our political leaders has expressed outrage, or their abhorrence at the very idea that a political assassination could take place in the country.

Since when did cowardly murder of our political leaders by shadowy assassins, become part of our political culture and a socially acceptable practice in our society?

No one has failed to notice the deafening silence coming from President Hifikepunye Pohamba at State house, even as the newspaper reports become more frenzied and hysterical by the day.

Why have he and Founding President Dr Sam Nujoma not come out and taken a clear and public stand expressing indignation and outright condemnation of any talk of murdering political leaders.

Government’s tepid response of launching a police investigation into the death threats seems hopelessly inadequate, and sends the wrong signal.

It sends the message that threatening to kill the prime minister of this country is merely a routine police matter – no more serious than shoplifting or a case of drunken driving – when it in fact constitutes a grave threat to national security.

For that matter, why have our opposition party leaders like Hidipo Hamutenya of RDP, Ben Ulenga of CoD, Kuaima Riruako of Nudo, Ignatius Shixwameni of APP, Katuutire Kaura of the DTA or Usutuaije Maamberua of Swanu not said a peep about this.

They maybe feel that if Geingob gets a bullet in the head that’s tough luck for him – but rather him than me.

Do they think that once we have allowed this genie out of the bottle it will end there?

No, it will not end there! It might be Hage today but the next day it could be one of them and then anyone of us.

Contrary to the impression some of our newspapers are trying to create, political assassination has never been part of our political culture or a norm in this country.

We should stop talking about it as though it is a suitable topic for cheery and casual dinner table conversation in front of the children.

The question no one seems to ask is where did the talk of death threats against Geingob originate, and why would anyone want to kill him in the first place.

The newspapers that report so enthusiastically on the alleged death threats have so far failed to offer us any plausible or rational explanation.

As the proverb goes, “The wish is father to the thought”.

If one reads between the lines of these media reports, one quickly senses an element of wishful thinking somewhere in there.

One can only conclude that many in the media, and those who maybe feed them with these ideas, would dearly love to see Prime Minister Hage Geingob’s life to come to a violent end.

Why they should wish death on any human being, only they can answer.

They unsuccessfully try to divert attention from their dastardly machinations by promoting the absurd notion that Geingob’s own disillusioned supporters are responsible for the conspiracy against him.

Part of the strategy seems to be to condition the Namibian population psychologically in preparation for a plan that may already be in the works.

Then when the dreadful event actually happens, people will just shrug their shoulders and say oh well they told us it would happen.

Even if there is no real plan on the table, maybe they hope that the power of suggestion may prod some deranged crackpot into doing their dirty work for them.

To repeat ourselves, political murder is not part of our political culture and we should all fight tooth and nail to ensure that it does not become the norm.

Countries exist where the frightening and horrendous phenomenon of assassination casts a dark shadow over the political scene.

During our liberation struggle, the sadistic and bloodthirsty Koevoet carried out many political assassinations in the northern part of the country.

Historically however, one can only recall a handful of incidents involving the assassination of prominent political leaders in this country.

In our recent history, one can cite examples like the assassination of Clemens Kapuuo, Immanuel Shifidi and Anton Lubowski.

If we have omitted anyone, please forgive our poor recollection of history.

Nevertheless, the point is that political assassinations are rare and isolated incidents in Namibian history and we should regard them as aberrations rather than the norm.


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