A question of propaganda and party unity

By Nkrumah Mushelenga

MUCH factious propaganda is being said about the incontestable Swapo Party unity and its members’ unity. History has it that Swapo Party is defined as a mass-based political party born and steeled in the crucible of a popular and heroic struggle for national independence. The Swapo Party unity is founded on the principles of democracy, solidarity, freedom, social justice and progress.

‘Mass’ in this case refers to chemical or substances that define the characteristics of Swapo Party in its entity. ‘Steeled’ refers to the people that strengthen the party. Thus, Swapo is the people and the people are Swapo.

What is propaganda? According the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, propaganda as a noun refers mainly to disapproving information, ideas, opinions or images, often only giving one part of an argument, which are broadcast, published or in some other way spread with the intention of influencing people’s opinions, such as political and wartime propaganda.

We the cadres of the party unanimously dismiss the premeditated propaganda sentiment that Swapo Party is not united. First, because Swapo Party unity is an inbuilt system, which no individual or individuals can extract from the party. Secondly, individual Namibian citizens, become party members by first accepting the party’s aims and objectives, submitting an application and by payment of admission and annual fees. Membership in the party may be lost through a) resignation, or b) expulsion under articles VI (13) and vii (10).

If the above argument holds water, then the reality is that Swapo is ever united and it remains for many years to come. There is however, no guarantee that members of the party will forever remain united. Why? Because of divergent individual social economic interests, as opposed to party political interests.

“History is the best judge whose verdict cannot be ignored,” all party cadres have learned from the 1960s to 21 March 1990, the date when we achieved our national independence. We also learned how propaganda can destroy the political unity of individuals against the party unity.

Comrades, veterans of the liberation struggle, their blood, sweats and tears water our freedom. Just as we have heroically defeated the colonial apartheid regime and its cohort we vow to fight and defeat underdevelopment, poverty, illiteracy and disease through inclusive national poverty eradication programmes. It is a fact that where there is underdevelopment, poverty, illiteracy and disease, there will be no unity of purpose which is the mother of political unity.

Comrades, cadres of Swapo Party, members and would-be members, the time has come to fight ignorance, corrupt practices, and disunity among party members and supporters. Why fight ignorance? Because ignorance is blindness and blindness is darkness. It is a fact that corrupt practices occur in darkness because light and darkness are incompatible.

For our hard-won democracy to prevail, Swapo cadres, members and supporters should harmonise our individual interests with party political and social economic interests. Currently, the party political interest remains intact, while some cadres, members and would-be members’ political interest is melting down or diminishing, thus, creating disunity gap among party members.

Mind you comrades, unity is strength and through the principle of unity we managed to defeat the then most notorious colonial apartheid regime in Southern Africa.

Swapo Party unity remains intact. A uniquely inspiring and motivational political unity, as opposed to individual unity, is the example of the unity of purpose amongst the trio: founding, former and the current Presidents’ working relationship.

The party constitution, aims and objectives are crystal clear: to unite the people of Namibia, irrespective of race, religion, sex or ethnic origin, to foster a sense of common purpose and collective destiny, to combat retrogressive tendencies of tribalism, ethnicity, regionalism, to instill in the Namibian people a spirit of patriotism, and develop in ourselves the consciousness that we are the masters of own destiny, to promote accelerated economic development through cooperative strategic planning and to forever defend and protect the land of the brave’s hard-won freedom and independence, to mention a few.

Comrades, 25 years ago, the enemies of democracy were soft at work, why? Because they thought that Swapo Party was going to take the route which Angola and Mozambique took soon after achieving their hard-won independence from Portugal. We commend Swapo Party for the policy of national reconciliation.

The question is how do we harmonise party-political socio-economic interest (communal) with that of party members’ political and socio-economic interest? The enemy of unity is hard at work using barrages of malicious propaganda to create a state of uncertainty between and among the party leadership and cadres.

The truth of the matter is that the Swapo Party’s unity is intact. Party leaders and cadres should be more concerned with the melting down of the unity of individual party members.

Comrade President of the Swapo Party, Comrade Vice President of Swapo Party, Comrade Secretary General of Swapo Party, Comrade Vice Secretary General of the Swapo Party, you are indeed the first line custodian of the characteristic of Swapo Party’s individual membership growth and the first line of defense to protecting the party’s political and socio-economic interest.

Comrade President, accountability means holding responsible those who failed to perform to the expectation of the party and those who delegated them to perform such party assignment.

We commend the party leadership, for establishing the Party School to serve as a futuristic torchbearer, a bridge between ignorance and enlightenment, and an everlasting hope for a bright future for all party cadres, members and supporters. Their blood, sweat and tears water our freedom. May God bless the land of the brave.

Nkrumah Mushelenga

Rt Commissioner for Refugees and founder of P.N.P.C.V.T.