LAST week, a story ran in the media that the increase in the number of applications for small arms licences was a cause for concern to the Ministry of Safety and Security so much so that the ministry was considering issuing a temporary suspension on the importation of side firearms.
I for one, am in no way, shape or form surprised that people in Namibia, in its current economic situation, are trying to buy guns.
People generally buy small arms for one of two reasons; a) criminal activity to get money or b) to protect themselves against criminals so that they can keep their money.
This is important because one thing the average Namibian does not have now, is money. So, we are trying by all means to get it and keep it once we do.
Without even considering the fact that the country is currently in a recession, Namibia happens to have one of the highest economic and happiness indicator disparities in the world. However, these disparities are not a result of ‘hard workers’ v ‘the lazy’. They are in all honesty, a depiction of, a) how rife corruption and the frequent misappropriation of both public and private funds is, and b) the gross inequalities in salary scales and opportunities. It is therefore to be expected that violent crime will increase in a society such as this.
Setting aside the fact that if there is a continued increase in the demand, guns can be imported and purchased illegally; issuing a moratorium on the importation of side firearms is like taking a Panado tablet to cure a headache caused by a brain tumour. The headache might subside for a short while, but it does not change the fact that the tumour is in there; growing and killing you slowly unless it is removed.
We, as individuals, need to take ownership of our ‘tumour’. Our country is in trouble and the onus is on us to fix it because a) we put it there, and b) no one else will. We need to work in the spirit of ubuntu – to behave; not just as individuals – but as a part of a greater community and therefore strive towards the prosperity of that community.
We need to quell the culture of unethical self-enrichment that has contaminated our country before it is too late. And, in case anyone has not noticed yet, it is almost too late.