Namibian authorities are the ones stoking a climate of mistrust and are chiefly responsible for the credibility gap that has long existed between the state and other sectors

As this column has numerously and consistently been at pains to point out, the Namibian government through the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) has been instrumental in stoking a climate of distrust between itself and various other actors in society.

This is because the ministry has been central in a campaign that on the one hand promises to guide the state to greater transparency, while on the other hand its departments and subordinate agencies are attempting to install frameworks and mechanisms that would actually ensure the opposite.

Despite all the talk of openness and transparency regularly coming from the Geingob administration, this climate is hardly being dispelled as there continues to be incongruence in the messaging come from state departments, and especially from MICT. This was recently underscored again when on the one hand the MICT Minister,Tjekero Tweya, made pronouncements that sounded awfully like the state was intending to introduce  mechanism to regulate media content. Shortly afterwards the Minister was forced to walk-back his comments as the presidency disputed this stance as being official. At roughly the same time, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) moved ahead with what they labeled consultations on the issue of a broadcasting code, which would effectively be a cumbersome means of regulating content in the broadcasting sector.

These moves exemplify a state and government intent on infringing on the constitutionally protected freedom of expression and undermining the current administration’s own claims of being seized with introducing access to information-friendly frameworks.

What episodes such as these lead to is the ramping up of distrust towards government, and government seems to be constantly asking why this is the case.

Aside from there clearly being a coordination problem within government, from the highest to the lowest levels, what these instances point to is a governance and political culture favouring a command-and-control attitude towards information and knowledge creation and dissemination.

This is a serious concern.

The current government really cannot stand surprised that it enjoys very little trust in quite a lot of significant sectors, seeing as how it is the primary driver of distrust.

Because of this it becomes necessary to draw attention to elements in the trust equation, namely: Credibility; reliability; and integrity.


If everyone in government is expressing their own intentions, opinions and unendorsed ambitions from official platforms, only for those views and stances to subsequently be criticised by their own colleagues and superiors, then how can departments and officials be viewed with anything other that suspicion whenever they make official statements?

The lack of coordination is an indication of a governance architecture that is not geared towards openly and transparently communicating and sharing information amongst its constituent portfolio units.

This surely is not a sign of a government acting efficiently. There very definitely now is a credibility gap between government statements and actions, which is evident to many stakeholders.


This credibility gap has largely to do with the government’s stories changing from morning to night and day-to-day, and depending on who is speaking.

That state actors cannot be relied on is a serious concern and this sort of uncertainty was cited as a reason for why one of the major global ratings agencies having downgraded Namibia’s outlook to negative. Almost immediately after this outlook downgrade, at a time when everything should have been done to claw-back this negativity, CRAN’s supposed broadcast code ‘consultation’ commenced, which only contributed to underlining the lack of reliability, because just days before a commitment had been made to not interfere with the media freedom, as this would only add to jeopardising Namibia’s image.


The evident lack of consistency – of a clear and coherent message and parallel actions – is what has lodged a wedge between government, on the one hand, and civil society and the private sector on the other.

For the longest time other stakeholders in society have been frustrated by an integrity deficiency at the highest levels of state.

This deficiency comes with a cloud of non-transparency and under a shroud of unaccountability, both of which are glaringly evident at the state bureaucracy and the political leadership levels.

This integrity shortfall is costing Namibia, and become especially significant in times of constrained economic conditions, such as what Namibia finds itself in currently.

That there exists substantial deficiency on all three levels – or elements of the trust equation – can only equal a highly of dis- or mistrust between the state and other societal actors. Sadly, at the moment the Namibian government is not moving decisively at this juncture to dispel these troubling deficiencies, but rather seems to be doubling-down on sowing confusion and frustration, an attitude which now has become the catalyst for social restiveness and stimulated labour unrest within the public sector.