Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Coloured issue can’t be ignored


Marson Sharpley writes:

As a man of God I realize that I cannot afford the luxury of being so heavenly minded that I become earthly useless. There are three distinct types within the Colored community that I have come to be aware of, i.e. those who consider themselves to be more Black than White, those who consider themselves more White than Black and those who are simply Colored and that’s it!

In fact it has very little to do with skin pigmentation as much as it has to do with upbringing. Nevertheless, no matter what side of the racial divide they lean towards, Coloreds born in Africa are Africans who have the full right to be part of the action and have a piece of the cake. My previous article on this subject must not be viewed as an emotional tirade by what one newspaper termed “proud to be colored”.

No, this matter I intend rationally and pragmatically addressing through systematically forming a delegation of eminent Colored leaders to go and seek an audience with His Excellency the President of the Republic of Namibia. The intention here is not to be subversive, undermining or destabilizing.

The idea is to ensure that the status quo, which seems to be that Coloreds have to have leaders imposed on them because they do not have the ability and capacity to present their leaders, has to be stopped. The sense that the existence of Coloreds is ignored now has to come to an end because we are here and we are real.

We are members of both the ruling party SWAPO and some among us are members of the opposition parties. However, the argument I am pursuing and putting on the table goes beyond party political matters and directly to the very existence and representation of a specific minority group of people who also need to have leaders that they can culturally identify with who will be able to address their specific concerns as a distinct ethnic and cultural group.

The Colored community is made up of some of the best artisans and administrators in the country. Whilst the generalization of the love of strong liquor has established itself in the description of Coloreds, we are also intellectuals, revolutionaries, community activists, students, entrepreneurs, politicians, soldiers, civilian intelligence scientists, journalists, lawyers and doctors.

With this capability I together with otherlike- minded members of the Colored community realize that if we do not have national, political leadership in the RulingParty from our community, the exploitation of Coloreds will be automated. National political leadership status allows the individual(s) to have authority in the society and their community so as to be able to guide, organize and counsel the community or in this case the ethnic group.

This will help to see Colored youth as part of the security apparatus, the diplomatic corps and other strategic areasof governance such as security detail for even the Head of State, and even as drivers for Government VIPs. We want to see our unemployed matriculants in the army, the police force and other sectors where they can be trained so that they become contributors instead of merely maintaining an existence of being parasitic consumers.

We also need to see young people from the Colored community receiving bursaries to Cuba, Russia, USA, Europe and China. I would like to see Colored people also heading State Owned Enterprises and Parastatals. I am making this call in a bid to draw attention to the plight of an entire community that, if it does not have political representation to enhance and instill discipline, will in future breed a level of gangsterism through organized crime like Namibia has never imagined could exist within its borders.

A good example of this is what happened on the Cape Flats in South Africa as recently as 2004. The tendency has been to confine us to tenders and church activity in the hope that that will satisfy us and make us ignore the fact that we have been politically hijacked and systematically marginalized.

One of us is an Under Secretary in Cabinet or something like that, one of us is the Ombudsman, some of us are High Court judges, but who of us are going to be a Deputy Minister, a Minister, a Permanent Secretary, a Governor, a General in the army or a Commodore in the Navy?

Who of us as Coloreds is trusted enough to even be the DG of the civilian intelligence apparatus? If the requirement here is the ability to speak, read and write an indigenous language(s), then let us know so that we can study the language by living in the target language community. Should the main requirement be loyalty, patriotism, commitment and determination to see Vision 2030 realized, then vet us, do background checks, do IQ checks, but for heaven’s sake, stop marginalizing us as Colored people.

Please also understand that as a man of God and as a pastor, I am all things to all men just as the Bible requires, but my background will inform you that I did not just drop out of the sky as a pastor. Everyone in the ministry I lead with my spouse and many other pastors knows that I am raceless and do not tolerate any form of racism, tribalism or ethnic divisionist agendas.

In my interaction with many of you as my political leaders, I realized that many of you have no clue of some of us and where we come from and what our capabilities and experience is. Some of you have been blinded by your own prejudice and tribal arrogance to the point where you have forgotten that we all have minds to think and that we have all been on life’s journey and seen and heard enough to inform us as to what our status is.

Jesus Christ meets a woman at a well and he asks her for water, referring to his tiredness because of the long journey he has made. Metaphorically in the physical, but real in the spirit, the journey He refers to took him 4000 years to the point where He speaks to the woman at the well. Now that is the same with all of us as grown ups.

We have journeyed, politically, academically, spiritually and been around many places and many people. We are NOT VILLAGE FOOLS AND IMBECILES, we are NOT! I believe that there is a need for a Coloured People’s Convention (CPC) within the next three months before posts and positions are allocated. The aim of such a convention will not be to lament how we are being unjustly treated, but rather to identify and elect legitimate and acceptable Colored leaders who have the capacity to fully work for Namibia as a country and for the Coloured people.

Please note that any national leader, especially in the ruling party must be loyal to the party first and then serve the interests of the nation at large and then make sure that they represent their constituency, which is usually tribally and/or ethnically demarcated! That is a given!

However, my concern here is the lack of Colored representation in Government on a more political, national level. Let’s talk, let’s deliberate, let’s discuss, let’s debate and let us reach an amicable win-win situation where I like any other parent can be at ease in this beautiful, peaceful country knowing that my children’s future, like any other child is secure and not undermined just because of being Colored!