Henning Melber

Louis Fishman

The world has edged closer to placing the same value on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people as it does on human rights. Sadly, not all states, including many African countries, are on the same page.


While at best of dubious value – if not outright dangerous for the consequences in policy spheres – the Failed States Index should be no substitute for common sense. It reinforces stereotypical Eurocentric perceptions and is at best another sign of patronising and paternalist worldviews.


It takes quite some fantasy to imagine how, based on the living costs in Africa’s urban centres, a $2-a-day threshold catapults someone from the $1.99 margin as criteria for poor into a middle-class existence. And then into playing a pioneering role in the continent’s future transformation.


It is normal for resistance movements to adopt rough survival strategies and techniques while fighting an oppressive regime. Unfortunately, such confrontational mentality becomes entrenched in an authoritarian political culture that is based on the claim that liberators have an entitlement to rule within a new elite project.


As different as Hammarskjöld and Boutros-Ghali might have been in their background, their socialization, their character and personality, as much alike was their approach as regards the independence of their office.

Namibian President Geingob's image as a flamboyant intellectual filling the shoes of a skilled statesman is showing wear and tear. Intolerance and temper limit his ability to engage with critical views constructively. Add to that an aloof and dismissive attitude bordering on arrogance, and the people of Namibia have reason to worry about the prosperity promise.

It is a matter of international solidarity to side with the oppressed, advocating their rights and thereby also promoting fundamental human rights universally. Namibia itself benefitted from such solidarity in its struggle for freedom. So how come the country is withdrawing from the International Criminal Court?

Hundreds of people signed an online petition demanding an apology from the organisers of the popular Kuska Karnival that was held in Swakopmund, a city on the western coast of Namibia, saying the event stirred up racism and was insensitive to the feeelings of black people, after pictures of people dressed as Ku Klux Klan (KKK) members and some painted as black labourers appeared in the German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung.


Namibia’s principled refusal to get bullied into an agreement against what it considered its own best interests has served as an example for other countries originally more willing to give in to the pressure exerted by EU


With Namibia reaching 21 years of independence on 21 March, Henning Melber argues that the country’s government has failed to provide socio-economic opportunities for its wider population.