Why does Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, still remember long after being toppled and his body decomposed in the swallowed lands of his home village, Nkroful? Since Nkrumah, Ghana has had more than 10 heads of state, including Hilla Limann.
Who remembers, let alone heard of Hilla Limann, who was president of Ghana from 1979 to 1981? He was an accidental leader who assumed the presidency by chance. Accidental leaders take power either by chance or because they are parachuted by “strong politicians”.
Limann is not one of those who are fondly and favorably remembered by the feathers of history. Indeed, history does not remember one just because he was president. Those who disagree should tell us who fondly remembers Hifikepunye Pohamba, Namibia’s second president, currently involved in local feuds at Helao Nafidi city council?
Unlike this class of leaders, we remember Nkrumah not because he was president but because of the ideas he represented and left behind. In the realm of ideas, Nkrumah reigns supreme as the only African president to have published important ideas that still resonate today.
His books are required readings in many African universities. In 1964, Nkrumah published a philosophical text entitled ‘Consciencism’, dealing with the philosophy and ideology for decolonization and the development of the African revolution. In this text, Nkrumah submits that: “The evaluation of one’s own social situation is part of the analysis of facts and events, and this kind of evaluation is, in my opinion, a good starting point for the investigation. on the relations between philosophy and society. like any other. Philosophy, to understand human society, calls for an analysis of facts and events, and an attempt to see how they fit into human life, and therefore how they constitute the human experience. In this way, philosophy, like history, can enrich, even define, human experience.
For our context, Nkrumah expects us, in the analysis of our society, to look at the actions of political actors beyond the point of view of the pedestrian observer. Indeed, events and facts must be analyzed in order to provide philosophical interpretation and meaning to human experience and social circumstances. Frantz Fanon, in The Damned of the Earth, understood why political behavior had to be critically analyzed, especially in a post-colonial context.
He wrote in 1963: “We have seen this nationalism, this magnificent song which has raised the people against their oppressors, stop dead, waver and die out on the day when independence is proclaimed. Nationalism is not a political doctrine, nor a program. If you really want your country to avoid regression, or at best stops and uncertainties, a step must be taken from national consciousness to political and social consciousness … a bourgeoisie that provides nationalism alone as food for the masses. fails in his mission and gets caught up in a whole series of mishaps.
Namibian political society fits Fanon’s characterization perfectly. Entangled in the heroism of nationalism and a national consciousness characterized by “punch” self-glorification, the post-independence elite pact prevented a trajectory from national consciousness to social and political consciousness.
Such a trajectory, in any case, would not be in the interest of the Swapo elite as it used the politics of national conscience to accumulate a plethora of rents for its patronage networks. In his 2011 article titled “Namibia: Trust Betrayed – Again? published in Review of African Political Economy, political scientist Henning Melber corroborates: “Liberation from colonial rule is seen as a kind of ‘end of history’. The result was a political project devoid of any meaningful program of socio-economic change beyond the pursuit of its own narrow interests by the party leadership and its clientele. The politics of the Namibian elite of a new emerging class have perpetuated deeply rooted and structurally entrenched socio-economic inequalities at the expense of the majority of the population.
In an environment infested with politics of national conscience and heroism, suspicious “ideas” and hogwash are certified as progressive when uttered by “proven cadres”. In such an environment, the masses are often unsuspecting as there has never been an event, similar to nationalist struggles, which sought to enlighten them to provoke a social and political conscience – a conscience which will help the masses by taking take into account, in their political choices, their material conditions.
Since citizens are still stuck in the politics of nationalism, politicians in Namibia realized that they did not need to rationalize their conduct, behavior and statements. They can also be reckless, in the extreme, as there would be no political ramifications. It is for this reason that politicians take public platforms to present themselves as enlightened and intelligent, even when the evidence suggests otherwise.
The examples are justified. President Hage Geingob was recently filmed promoting personal authority over the rule of law, ordering the Municipality of Windhoek to restore and drop corruption and other charges against senior officials. Geingob does not have the power under the Local Authorities Act (23 of 1992) to issue such decrees. Questioned by the enlightened, he summoned the national broadcaster for an explanation.
He made matters worse. He was again caught on camera telling the unsuspecting masses that a local authority reports to a governor and minister he has appointed. He later went on to assert that regional councils are headed by a governor. These claims, emanating from a politician of national conscience, are not supported by the relevant laws governing regional and local councils.
This only happens in a political society like ours – where the shift from national consciousness to social and political consciousness has not taken place – where the theatrical charlatan does indeed appear shrewd. If Geingob can be forgiven because of his age and heroic deeds, consider these recent comments from Swapo leader Mathew Mumbala quoted in The Namibian newspaper: saying that it is unacceptable for a member of the Swapo is a sympathizer of an opposition party. We even have to end marriages, or either quit politics and become spiritual leaders if you want to be fair to everyone, ”he fumed.
It is not clear whether Marco Hausiku, deputy secretary general of Swapo, responded to Mumbala’s call when he participated in the dismissal of his wife. [from the Rundu Town Council] on Valentine’s Day.
That the Swapo gives decrees on love, sex and marriage for political ends is not only indicative of degeneration. It is reminiscent of apartheid which introduced the Immorality Law (Law No.5 of 1927) and the Amendment Law on Immorality (Law No.21 of 1950) to prohibit love, sex and love. marriage between blacks and whites. The unsuspecting masses, intoxicated with the heroism of nationalist politics, see no similarity. Indeed, in an unsuspecting political society – a society that has failed to achieve social and political consciousness – like Namibia, theater charlatans appear progressive and intelligent.
* Job Shipululo Amupanda is an academic and decolonial activist from the village of Omaalala in northern Namibia.