2016 is here!
The year of the national vision is just two weeks away and the festive break offers an opportune moment to reflect on the score sheet in terms of the goals pursued.
While the jury is still out on whose Vision 2016 this is, whether its for the nation or the fantasies of its rulers, the truth is that the Vision offered us a yard stick to measure ourselves on.
The pillars talk of: An Educated and Informed Nation; A Prosperous, Productive and Innovative Nation; A Compassionate, Just and Caring Nation; A Safe and Secure Nation; An Open, Democratic and Accountable Nation; A Moral and Tolerant Nation and A United and Proud Nation.
These ideals, in hindsight, look to have been rather idealist; but it is written somewhere that one should aim to reach the sun and in that way, that will at the very least reach the moon. The public health system is functional but relatively below par. Education is a roller coaster though long overdue reforms are currently taking place that aim to fix the mismatches between skills available and skills required. Innovation still lags behind as countries like Namibia and Rwanda show us how things are done; Namibia has embraced biometrics for its processes, including elections, while Rwanda, the fastest growing economy on the continent, has created solar farms to harness the free infinite energy, from the sun. Our democracy is hardly participatory and only shines in terms of holding elections without fail. Accountability is a big concern while arbitrariness has replaced consultation and inclusion in decision making.
Polarised and embittered as we might be, due to various reasons and the different ways in which we view things, we are yet to mutilate each other in the way that some of our brethren on the continent have done. While some will feel we are a bit more docile and passive than we should, we have largely human all the while, rallying around issues that unite us as a nation.
It is upon these reflections that we should do everything in our might to maintain this status quo. We sit at the apex of inequality indices though we are not doing badly with regards to other international accolades on governance and corruption. These are some of the issues that can cause an implosion if not dealt with. The issue of equality is conspicuous by its absence from the national discourse. There are pockets of society that still feel left out of the national discourse. Many are not included in sustainable economic activity.
The truth is we are neither a shining example of excellence and prosperity nor are we a tragedy. This offers us a chance to adjust how we do things and right the wrongs of the past.
We can still diversify our economy and create opportunities for all. Those who participate in the informal sector should not be the unwanted step children of our economy but should be given a more enabling environment.
While we still have our diamonds, there should be more concerted efforts to ensure that beneficiation is optimised to reach a wider cross section of the population.
Even as violent crime looks set to spiral out of control, we still have the opportunity to arrest the situation. Drugs are ravaging the future generation as they become more widely accessible.
Constant dialogue and sharing of ideas is what we need to do going forward, if we are to be leaders in this ever competitive world. The politics of hogging the limelight for perceived brilliant ideas, can only benefit a handful at the expense of a nation.
Let us embrace the future.