Namibia’s discussion on the [re-] distribution of wealth, closing the gap between the rich and the poor, and bringing about social justice cannot be sufficiently exhausted until we recognise that the new black elite now sits in the same boat – no, yacht – as the old white elite.
And society’s expectations on closing the gap between the haves and have-nots are for everyone in the ‘haves’ tent to pitch in. No matter at which point in time of Namibian history someone joined the ‘haves’. Defining the new black elite as an ‘emerging’ class should not disqualify them from this moral obligation onto which we hold ‘the previously advantaged.’
Individual identity should not have a place in the quest for social justice, and the church, as our collective beacon of social justice and the bearer of our moral compass, ought to ring the alarm bells when this happens.
This is by no means a frivolous or trivial discussion of what is supposed to be part our national economic policy. Ensuring true social justice requires introspection and, where need be, intervention especially now when we are all seized with the New Equitable Empowerment Framework (NEEEF).
We ought to remember that NEEEF was by no means designed as a punitive measure towards ‘the previously advantaged’ but rather ensure an equitable and sustainable distribution of the Namibian wealth. Pursuing the distribution of wealth purely or solely on ‘the previously disadvantaged and ‘the previously advantaged’ does not ensure sustainability. Neither does this course of action reflect that we take to heart our 1990 independence vows of National Reconciliation.
The Namibian men and women of the cloth ought to make a collective stance, utter a deafening sound, if and when our moral compass bearing wavers, and should be the first to say, ‘hold on, this cannot be right.’ Are we, as a the nation, overly blaming ‘the previously advantaged’, while overlooking ‘the previously disadvantaged’ group who are able, can, and should pitch in to boost the socio-economic safety nets the country so badly needs today. Thus the Namibian churches – as custodians of our moral compass – ought to, as it must, detected any such deviation at the onset when or as it occurs. After all they are the de facto representatives of the socially oppressed. It took former Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, to point out that indeed in the last 26 years a small yet still notable portion of ‘the previous disadvantaged’ crossed the line of divide into the camp of ‘advantaged.’ This group might not be ‘previously advantaged’ but they are indeed in this present day basking in the same sun as equals to those traditionally referred to as ‘the previously advantaged.’ And they do this on equal footing of either social or political class standing.
Therefore term ‘the rich should help the poor’ should not, cannot and must not, be defined so narrowly as to classify the ‘rich’ as only those who have been advantaged by the apartheid system of more than 26 years ago.
The church needs to revive its fighting spirit for social justice and must find the strength to again provide the moral compass through activism and self-sacrifice actions.
The ordained men and women of the cloth must be vigilant to act, when so desired, as a collective and shout at the top of its lungs to advocate, supplement and, where necessary, condemn and assert their power of influence as the moral compass of the nation. Even on issues of economic policy, if such policies go against the very tenets of what the church fought for so vigorously during apartheid.