Tuesday, October 7

While South Africa looks on benignly as Zimbabwe degenerates into anarchy, Sam Nujoma of Namibia is looking to the future!

In April last year it was announced a new State House would be built for R186m, provoking bitter opposition pro- tests that this was wasteful in a country where more than a third of the population earns less than R7 a day. The total rapidly reached R468m as the project became increasingly grandiose.

Construction work on the 40,4ha site was started this year by Mansudae Overseas Projects, the same North Korean firm appointed without tender to build the giant Heroes Acre monument in Windhoek whose centrepiece is a many times life-size bronze statue of Nujoma wielding an AK-47.

The North Koreans are working at a fiendish pace seven days a week and under floodlights at night but even so the palace cannot be ready until at least 2005, when Nujoma's third term ends.

Nobody believes that he would undertake the country's largest public works project since independence for the sake of an unknown successor: hence the growing conviction that he intends a fourth and even fifth term.

But at least Sam has the support of the tribal chiefs people!

During the past several months the chiefs of the biggest tribes the Ovambo, Karango and Caprivi groups have all appealed to Nujoma to stay on as president for another 10 years.

For a good introduction to the corruption of absolute power, read the whole thing.


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