Reading what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says about Namibia’s deep financial woes makes me want to sit down in the middle of Independence Avenue and cry.
But, I am a fighter; instead of crying, I am determined to end 2018 in this last column of the year stating my hopes for change.
In Michael Jackson’s, Man in the Mirror, he sings: “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.”
To begin changing how things are going in the country, we must start with changing ourselves.
Each person must ask themselves: “Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?”
On a micro level, are you tolerating a family member or friend who you KNOW is stealing, embezzling, avoiding paying taxes, racist, tribalist, beating up their spouses and kids, cheating their workers and other corrupt and immoral attitudes and practices? If yes, then YOU are part of the reason this country is in a mess.
But, you can change it.
For the New Year, make a list of the things in your life that cause you agony on any level.
For example, if an agony point is your job, then a solution could be something simple like getting a transfer within the same business or government office, stopping your participation in office gossip, or seeking training to improve your performance.
Of course, it may mean leaving that job, which is difficult in a recession, but it is an option.
If one of your agony points is a lying, cheating spouse or partner, make a choice – don’t just let things move along as if you don’t deserve to be happy. Better a new life with new challenges than to let someone who hates you teach you to hate yourself.
If you drink, smoke, eat or party too much, make a change in 2019. With the economy so bad, cutting back may not be voluntary as all of us are slowly going broke. If you drink six beers on Saturday night, cut back to two. If you smoke – stop. Cigarettes WILL kill you.
If you are not carrying a healthy weight, then get a physical check-up, push away from the table, think about eating simple, healthy natural foods and start some exercises that fit your lifestyle.
Most importantly, learn to love yourself as you are. Try this exercise:
Ladies: Twice a month, take out your braids, wigs or extensions. Clean off all make up. Take off all of your clothes and look at your naked self in the mirror. Know and love your real body and face and never lose sight of it in your mind’s eye – you are beautiful just like that.
Gentlemen: stop putting that blackening dye in your hair, don’t take any ‘little blue pills’ to make ‘it’ stand up; those wearing stomach girdles to hide the bloated gut, or shoes with inner heels to give you more height – stop it at least twice a month.
Get those clothes off and look at your naked, raw self in the mirror. Come to terms with who you really are. You’ll see that actually, you are not so bad after all.
My first act of 2019 to unclutter my mind of worry is to give the City of Windhoek hell over those high water and electricity bills. My full monthly bill (average N$5,000!) is bankrupting me.
I will install a pre-paid electricity meter (I already have a solar geyser) and begin collecting documentation for a law suit for these ‘estimated’ bills they send through.
I am determined to unclutter my house by cleaning out cupboards, junk drawers, storerooms, and closets. Anything I do not use day-to-day will be gone by the end of February, 2019.
Since I use my kindle, I am selling all of my books, DvDs, CDs and VHS tapes; anything left over will be given to a library.
That is some of what I am doing personally to make a CHANGE for 2019, but from what I see, I think our decision makers need to go look in that mirror and change how Namibia operates.
I hope that beginning in 2019, we commit to a phased programme to cut the civil service wage bill by 30 percent.
I hope the PSEMAS deduction for medical coverage doubles with the amount covered decreasing (instead of covering 95% of the care, cover only 80%).
Sadly, I think it is time to close Air Namibia completely after all aircraft leasing contracts end.
Government must no longer be in the business of business. All profit-making, market-related SOEs, must be privatized.
I hope that all fishing quotas, hunting concessions and EPLs now given to the private sector continue, but be done in 50/50 partnerships with those ministries. Government and communities must retain a portion of the profits from all natural resources to refill the treasury and ensure that local people directly benefit from resources on the land where they live.
I hope that Namibia cuts all SOE management and higher civil service salaries by 10 percent with those savings sent directly to the poverty ministry.
Every cent of the park entry fees must go to a labour fund of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism to hire the unemployed in those areas to clean and maintain each national park.
Disband the ‘army’ and make what’s left into a specialized, well-trained, well-financed home guard to work with NamPol nationwide.
The unemployed must be re-deployed to do a list of labour-intensive work programmes or social services assignments around the country with salaries subsidized by exit taxes, donor support, .5 percent VAT increase, .5 percent more on fuel taxes, and a 10 percent inheritance tax.
My extremely wild hopes for national changes will likely never happen. But, my point is that there are deep changes needed in the Land of the Brave.
I’ve started changing myself; if everyone does the same on whatever level they choose, we can make 2019 a bit better than 2018. Then, we need to ask our leaders to look in that mirror and make the changes crooned by Michael Jackson.