Swapo at 62: It can no longer be business as usual

THE ruling Swapo party’s 62nd anniversary this week was a stark reminder of how far the liberation movement has come but moreso, where it needs to go if it is to survive yet another six decades.

A chance to do that beckons at this year’s looming elective congress where the party must reform from within or face the threat being relegated into the political dustbins in the next decade.

Rewind to April 19 1960, the day that brought Swapo to reality cognisant of the fact that it all started with fed-up contract workers, mobilisation of the youth and the emergence of trade unions that to led to the formation of a party that today is celebrated as one that has sacredly guarded its legacy of peace and stability.

For this reason, this anniversary should be celebrated with the prosaic resolve and solidity that a rededication by party cadres to serve the people is central to its current and future existence.

At this stage, a clear view ahead of the 2022 elective congress is inevitable if the party wants to maintain its hold onto power. To effectively do this, the party must come out and castigate anti-youth ideals such as the Helmut Amendment which maintains a gerontocracy that has been damaging to the party.

Over the years, we have seen how the people who are actually fighting to keep the gerontocracy are those who have been in the Tanganyika group who until today are resisting to give up power.

These comrades must share blame for the current problems and need to afford the young people an opportunity to induce a paradigm shift needed to progress the party.

This is also why it is ridiculous that war veterans, who have had their chance to ply in politics for over 40 years are given an opportunity in leadership. This will only alienate the party from the electorate and further push the party in an adverse direction similar to that of the ANC in South Africa.

While the tradition of the party vice president being the future president is not a bad one, the party must also acknowledge that political dynamics have changed and are no longer the same as they were 20 years ago where economic conditions were favourable.

The current conditions offer insights into how resistance to change has the capacity to break the ruling party.

It is with these thoughts that we strongly urge Swapo to pursue new ideals where young and vibrant leaders work to unite and revive the party.

This is particularly important because we cannot afford a situation where the party is polarised in the next three years, a situation which only benefits party detractors.

Happy 62nd anniversary Swapo!