The Zambezi Waterfront Project administrator, Geoffrey Mugwala, unfolds his calendar of events, spreads it on the desk in his office and proudly announces, “Cecil, this is it!” My mind races back to 5 March 2009 when the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, stood before a sizeable crowd at the 02 Arena declaring, “When I say this is it, it really means this is it!” I stare at Mugwala’s calendar and blink twice with disappointment. “On this box it is marked that this project was launched in 1997. It then took ten years to re-register. Ten years of silence might not be easy to misquote, but can truly be…” “You’re right, such years of inactivity can certainly be easy to misinterpret.” Mugwala seems to have read my mind. “Does it mean you also agree with some Caprivians that the delays in re-registering the project have been a political ploy by certain politicians to punish the region for the 1999 rebel…?” “No, no, no! This has nothing to do with the 1999 rebellions,” he laughs. “The 1999 incidents are just like corks left out of the bottles. They swell and can no longer fit. The 1999 revolts were…” “OK. How about this re-registration issue, is it…?” “When this project was re-registered in 2007 as the Zambezi Waterfront Tourism Park (Pty) Ltd, the Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, re-emphasised how seriously the Government was committed to the project. The handing over of the site to Bona Joint Venture consultancy doesn’t mean that the Government…” “I understand that, but there are further allegations floating around that you’re not given as much elbow space as you need to spearhead the project and that those years of silence can be attributed to…” “Oh, please!” the administrator moves his head uncomfortably as if his neck is hurting. “I’m sure you’re not a political activist masquerading as a journalist with the aim of giving new impetus to the Caprivian issues. Am I right?” Although I feel a tad affronted, I manage to shrug and give a little smile. Mugwala’s face remains contorted with suspicion as he walks across his office breathlessly. He stops to open the fridge and pours ice-cold water into two glasses. “The problems the project ran into were in no way political, my friend.” He hands me the other glass. “It took volts of pain to finalise the land ownership, as we lacked designs in feasibility studies. We had no surveyors to work on the site and financing the project has been a real hassle.” He shows me a document that states that the project had cost the public sector N$76 million, while the private sector had to cough up close to N$280 million. “To return to your calendar, where I noted three divisions in the construction…” “Oh, yes! We have three phases, indeed. In the first phase we cleared the site. In the second, we engaged a few surveyors to help with measurements for digging trenches and laying water pipes and electricity cables,” explains Mugwala. “Thirdly, we…” “That sounds very progressive, but how has it benefited the ordinary Caprivian? Because young people are…” “The youths are already smiling,” he cuts me short. “We engaged quite a number of young people, including ex-convicts. Some swords are being turned into ploughshares!” My eyes dart back to the calendar. The year 2010 is decorated with colourful pictures of hotels, a shopping mall, lodges, recreation parks and traditional villages. All this is set to make a huge contribution to Namibia’s Gross Domestic Product. “I take these to be the latest photos and…” I’m interrupted by the ringing telephone. Mugwala dives for it and has a quick but tense conversation. He carefully returns the receiver to the cradle and frowns, “I’ve just received bad news. The truck that was meant to deliver building materials has suffered a slight breakdown. Now I have to reschedule all the construction plans.” “I’m sorry about that,” I sympathise. “It seems the great distance between you and the suppliers poses a real problem… But then, are the latest construction photos in phase three the real thing on the ground or…?” “It’s clear that spending the entire day arguing about what’s on paper isn’t helping. How about I take you to the site so that you…” “Don’t trouble yourself. I’ve been there and those buildings are very impressive. In fact, the banner that’s marked with the words ‘We are developing’ is…” “Are you sure you’ve been there?” I nod, positively. “Why then have you been bombarding me with all these questions?” Mugwala sounds like a kitten that’s been tricked into pouncing on a rat’s shadow. In an impenetrable silence, I feel the late Wacko Jacko’s “This is it!” declaration grow roots in my mind in what the Germans refer to as an Ohrwurm – something that goes round and round in your mind and you can’t get rid of it. For Caprivians, the success of the Zambezi Waterfront Project in 2010 is surely it!