International Anti-Corruption Day sets the tone for a revival of honesty
It is the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the largest local company, Namibia Incorporated, to announce the overwhelming support by the shareholders, the citizens of Namibia, for the new CEO elect.
At a recent general election of a new Board, held every four years, Namibia Incorporated’s shareholders came out in strong support of the CEO designate.
The CEO received even more votes than the management group that controls Namibia Incorporated. OK, this is a bit melodramatic, but the outcome of the elections can sensibly be compared to the annual general meeting of a very large corporation with slightly over two million shareholders of which roughly half hold voting rights. The President-elect, Dr. Hage Geingob must be congratulated for his resounding success. He will be the third president since independence and the one enjoying the strongest mandate from his electorate so far.
The Hage magic has certainly worked for Swapo, drawing thousands of voters to vote for leadership and not for the party. I see this as an extremely positive development for our future. Given that I am not a political analyst, I warn readers not to take my opinions too seriously, but against the background of viewing Namibia as a very large business, the biggest local business in fact, helps me to form a picture of what our economic future will look like under the proven and charismatic leadership of the president to be. My first observation is that Dr. Geingob will have his work cut out for him. As the new CEO of the biggest Namibian corporation, he will have to start by first addressing some serious issues of neglect and rot in the bureaucratic machine that is supposed to keep the wheels turning in this big company. For this, he will need all the support he can get because his good intentions will be undermined by vested interests, all whose only intention is to see how much they can milk the government while still in positions of authority.
But he will be surprised to learn that support will come from many unexpected quarters in the private sector, where honest businesspeople are fed up with the conniving of skelm tenderpreneurs. In this regard, the new CEO should be emboldened by the fact that a very efficient Anti-Corruption Commission seemingly has solved its teething problems and is now at the front in the battle against corruption. Internally, at the management level of his massive company, he will also enjoy much-needed support from his line managers, and from many honest and trustworthy people currently at middle management level. He must just make sure that the legal structures that support them, are in place and functional. This is called the Rule of Law, and all the president needs to do is to instil a respect for the law by, first the lawmakers, and then the law enforcers. This should not be too difficult since the vaszt majority of people I know are naively honest by nature.
They only need a good leader providing exemplary leadership, and they will follow. Given the outcome during the CEO elections, it is not unfounded to state at least some 86% of the population will follow the new CEO blindly in restoring both the company and its officials to a position of integrity and respect. But, perhaps most important, it is the overwhelming support the new CEO enjoys at shareholder level that will give him the strongest hand. It is often difficult for a new management team to re-invent a company that has begun to show major deficiencies in terms of governance as far as integrity, honesty, reliability and transparency go.
But with the shareholders so squarely behind the CEO, what can any other interest group do to undermine the CEO’s strategy of washing his own company. And then finally, I wish to remind all readers of the ideal kick-off platform the new CEO can use very effectively to launch his anti-corruption agenda. Next week Tuesday, 09 December, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), and the Hanns Seidel Foundation (HSF) will be co-hosting an Anti-Corruption Conference to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day at the Hilton in Windhoek The keynote speaker is Advocate Steven Powell, the Director of Forensics Services at Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs Inc. in South Africa. A presentation will be done on the Afrobarometer findings on Corruption in Namibia by Prof. Bill Lindeke, an IPPR Research Associate. The Anti-Corruption Commission’s new website will be launched at the same occasion. Nothing prevents the new CEO from publicly and ostensibly supporting this event.