The writing is on the wall

Oh, yes it is.

Allow me to lay it out in a few bullet points:

  • Sam Nujoma, the former president (and Founding Father, and Master of Geology) of the Republic of Namibia, has openly implied that foreigners are the source of what ails Namibia, and subsequently entirely failed to distance himself from what is widely seen as a vile xenophobic outburst, going so far as to be inciteful of violence, which is a crime.
  • The same Sam Nujoma a few years ago called for Namibia to open its doors to foreigners to settle this vast land, since Namibians alone are not capable of populating it alone.
  • A Master of Geology might reasonably be expected to know that arable land only comprises about 1% of the area of the country, and that between the Namib and the Kalahari deserts, about 80% of the country is considered arid to hyper-arid.
  • Meanwhile, Sam Nujoma (who, I hasten to remind the gentle reader, has not been president since 2005) has called on a bunch of schoolchildren to be fruitful and multiply.
  • Meanwhile the current unemployment rate is somewhere around 35%.
  • Nobody in the ruling party has called him to order. The silence is deafening.
  • Just how deafening the silence will be is revealed in the new Communications Bill, which allows for the interception of all communication — phone calls, SMS messages, e-mails.
  • This intercepted information will be collected by so-called ‘interception centres’ run by Namibia’s Central Intelligence Service, and these centres are intended to have the wherewithal to intercept and if necessary decode this communication. (good luck with thated.).
  • The infrastructure to provide this information to the state must be put in place by the communications providers at their own cost. I have no doubt whatsoever that this cost will be passed on to the consumer, who would in my opinion be monumentally stupid not to realise that this is a problem, even if “they have nothing to hide”.
  • But wait, there’s more: the communication thus intercepted must be furnished to “any person or institution (authorised by law) to intercept or monitor electronic communication.”
  • I feel that this is almost certainly going to be abused.

Mr Nujoma’s outbursts and the communications bill are not, I admit, directly related; they are simply two items in a growing catalogue of things which bother me about Namibian politics.

We have scapegoating, we have a government obsessed with controlling discourse and dissent, we have all manner of unresolved corruption scandals (bearing in mind that the scandals are only the corrupt practices which make it out into the open!!).

I appreciate that the law enforcement agencies do need to be able to fight crime on the ‘high frontier,’ but I lament that the prosecution caseload is horrendous as-is, and that the judiciary is all over the map in terms of effectiveness.

I’m not worried about law enforcement’s concerns. But I am concerned about this government’s commitment to a free society, and a blanket country-wide warrantless wiretapping program just isn’t a good way to reassure me.


About lidlesseye

Mouthing off about photography, and occasionally important things too.

Posted on June 5, 2009, in Culture and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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