Mayor campaigns for developmental state

Lashes out at ‘political elite’

29 March 2021 | Local News

Windhoek • [email protected]
Councillors were lashing back and forth after mayor Job Amupanda referred to the heads of
state as the “political elite”.
Former mayor Fransina Kahungu said after Amupanda delivered his opening remarks at the
council meeting on Thursday evening that she was dissatisfied in the manner in which he
referred to political leaders. “You are chairing on behalf of all 13 councillors and not in your
personal capacity,” she said.
Amupanda said that there is no doubt that Namibia’s economic challenges require an
interventionist state. “The path of the developmental state has proven to be a realistic path
that can not only deliver much needed jobs, but also position our country on the path
towards sustained economic growth,” he said.
Amupanda used the Botswana government as an example, saying that the neighbouring
country followed a path of a developmental state, while Namibia remained stagnant in
neoliberal orthodoxy.
“Botswana’s political leadership is very clear and resolutely pursued its industrialization
objectives,” he said, looking at the case of diamond mining. “Botswana’s leadership brought
De Beers to the table to negotiate a deal to benefit the country. As a result, Botswana not
only created an equally owned 50/50 mining company with De Beers (Debswana) but also
negotiated its own shares in De Beers,” Amupanda said.
The mayor noted that in Namibia the political elite simply ended negotiations at the 50/50
ownership with De Beers that created NamDeb. “What this means is that the Botswana
government owns part of NamDeb through De Beers. Unlike Namibia, where an entire
Cabinet makes one’s geography of birth (exile) a requirement for recruitment in the public
services regardless of one’s qualifications, in Botswana one is required to meet clear and
specific competencies,” he said. “The leaders in Botswana understand that one of the
requirements for a developmental state, is a competent bureaucracy.”

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