‘Swapo is no longer the Swapo we knew’

THE point I am trying to make is that, how on earth would a sober-minded individual or collectively, reason and agree to commit political suicide by joining an individual for political reasons whom you cannot influence or control politically, as per the definition?

Swapo Party constitution has a component of constructive criticism. In other words, all members are entitled to their political and socio-economic views within the party’s inner democratic processes. All in all, comrades and compatriots, the reality is that Swapo Party remains committed to the values for which it was formed for.

Swapo will remain intact for many years to come. Why? Because Swapo is the people and the people are Swapo. But members will come and go. The party’s survival depends on how party cadres, members and supporters protect and defend the party constitution, which indeed is the supreme law of the party. The question is how do we defend the constitution? Collectively and by from time to time reviewing the constitution and identify gaps and were is necessary, structurally, come up with political and socio-economic relevant proposals for amendment.

What do I mean by blame individuals? The party is constitutes of political wings. Wings are constituted of structures, sections, branches, districts and regional executives. At national level, the congress, the central committee and the political bureau and the national officers. For transparency and accountability, each wing, section, branch, district, national officer has specific duties and functions to perform in the interests of the party.

All duties and functions are constitution-bound. All members of the party are duty-bound to perform their responsibilities in accordance with the party constitution, rules and procedures for election of office-bearers and party representatives at legislative and government levels, party political programme, code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.

All party leaders at all structural levels are constitutionally required to comply with party constitutional obligations and mandates. It is against this party’s historical success that Swapo is the only party that respects and honors its principle of inner-party democracy.

Why blame the party? Please, blame individual members. It is a fact that nobody is perfect. But where there is a will, there is always a way. The party aims and objectives testify to this. Article IV, paragraph (1) of the party constitution is a testimony to this reality. As part of its political programme, Swapo established a party school, which has a department of regional outreach training programme in all 14 regions.

The key programme at the party school is to educate its members on the party constitution, political programme, rules and procedures, code of conduct and disciplinary procedures. Why? Because the party has to uphold the constitutional long term interests of its members.   

It is logical to conclude that, for 30 years of independence, the people of this country continue to enjoy peace and political stability, which was and remains a prerequisite to socio-economic development. In comparative analysis, Namibia is the only politically stable country in the world, an achievement of which all Namibians have been decorated with.

Hence, we commend God for blessing our Party Swapo with the current inspiring leadership concept of ‘the legacy continues’. I personally commends Comrade Dr. Sam Nujoma, Comrade Dr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, and the Head of State and Government and the Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Force Dr. Hage Geingob for consolidating the ideal of inclusive development and shared prosperity for all.

Why blame the party and not individual members? Swapo is a transparent party. Article IV of the party constitution is a testimony to that.  The fact remains that an individual or an affiliate membership can only be issued to a Namibian citizen or bona fide socio-cultural organisation, trade union, student union or a professional organisation, who or which accepts the aims and objective of the Swapo Party.

The party requirements did not change. If all members can comply with party constitutional obligations, then there would be no finger pointing at all. Its thus logical to appeal to the top four, the President, the Vice President, the Secretary General and the Deputy Secretary General, to demand party constitutional accountability compliance from the party wings, CC members, regional executives, districts, braches and sections leadership.

Proverb: “omukulugwonale okwatile, “lyo ngungu wu ngungumane” ngweye to lyo “dhidhi wu dhidhilike.”

The other divisive and exclusive peculiar political concept in our party is about the emphasis on “youth unemployment”. Yes, it is an appealing concept but it can become a failed nation if politically manipulated. Why ? Because one group of youth can believe itself to be socio-economic marginalised at the expense of the other group. Why? Because poverty, illiteracy and disease do not respect political borders.

The fact on the ground is that it is not true. The unemployment rate is not only high among the youth but also among the elders. According to Article 17 sub-article (2) of the Constitution of Namibia, every citizen who has reached the age of (18) shall have right to vote and those who have reached 21 years shall have the right to be elected to public office.

Youth age commences at 18 to 35 years. From 35 to 60, there are many elders, some of whom have never been employed since birth while some were employed and got retrenched for reasons better known by their employers. Unemployment affects generational community. Because we all have family safety contractual obligations one way or another. This concept is also being implemented without criteria and tabulated entry requirements. This concept continues to create division among party youth in particular and the youth of this country in general. The struggle for economic deliverance calls for unity and bravery.

“History is the best judge whose verdict cannot be ignored” The next in line is about the political “tsunamis wave that have attempted to destroy our party. The indicator is pointing to the 2012 Swapo Party Elective Congress. Comrade compatriots, it will make no political and socio-economic positive impact to continue pointing finger to either sides of the equations. I will rather focus on the current political and social-economic impact from the 2017 Party presidential elective congress.

The outcome was and continues to be contentious amongst members of the party. We are currently living under the shadows of political disunity, tribalism, corrupt practices, mushrooming of persistent damaging divergent political opinions, favouritism, generational poverty, illiteracy, disease, political and socio-economic brain drain, and generational divisions among youth and the elders. Others are socio-economic instability, worsening unemployment rate and devastating human insecurity.

We commend the president of the party for your courageous decision to hold a post-mortem workshop to critically review the November 2019 election results. Currently Comrade President, we live under the shadow of political uncertainty. The November 2020 regional and council elections is just around the corner. Hence, we recommend for a request for each region to generate three key issues, which if politically and objectively discussed during the post-mortem workshop, can serve as a consolidated political bridge to seal the political gaps in the party.

Dear comrades, it is a fact that by Resolution 7 adopted by the Congress held from 27 to 30 November 2007, it was resolved that the Swapo Party should adopt a code of conduct. The same issue was also debated at the 3rd Swapo Party Congress.

Comrade President, time is ticking. The adoption of the code of conduct would certainly enable the party to take disciplinary action against its cadres and members with a view to instill discipline in the party.  We commend you and the top three for your comradely decision to (1) hold a post-mortem of the party and its presidential candidate’s performance in last November’s elections, (2) for your cautionary announcement that the current vehicle fleet of government will not be renewed for the next five years, and indeed your patriotic directive to cap monthly fuel consumption of public office bearers. This in our views is a profound step in the right direction.

As for those who have been blaming the party, we should rather blame ourselves for failing the party particularly, if you and I do not belong to party structures. We can only influence party politics and socio-economic changes if and when we can meaningfully contribute to the debates during our party meetings.

It is thus logical to remind all veterans of the liberation struggle the heroes and heroines of the land of the brave that we vowed during the liberation war at the battlefield that we shall never be defeated by the enemy. And by extension, promised the martyrs of the liberation struggle that we shall continue where they left off.

We also vowed to cross more rivers of tears, sweat and blood for our national independence. That page closed on 21 March 1990. We are now at different battlefield, the battle of ideas.

Compatriots, allow me to conclude by quoting the liberation heroes, Comrade Dr. Sam Nujoma and Comrade Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, may his soul rest in eternal peace. “A people united for a common purpose, shall always emerge victorious.”

“The struggle will be long and bitter but my people will emerge victorious.”

Comrade President of the mighty Swapo Party, you have a good course and a gracious God on your side. The current national developmental programme battlefield is a combat of competing national socio-economic interest technicalities and it is time-bound.

Henceforth, we would like to propose an amendment to Article 29 sub-article (b) (3) to read “a person shall hold office as President for not more than (three terms). We are of the opinion that the current two term of office is too little to achieve the functions, powers and duties of the President, Article 32 and the party manifesto national developmental programs, as the requirement under Article 29 (a).

A review of 30 years of independence reveals that each elected presidents enter office under new mandate carved in the party manifesto. However, due to the unfished national developmental projects he or she is indirectly forced to take time to complete the remaining projects. It is only during the second term in office that the President focused on his party manifesto.

Comrade President, Rome was not built over one night. Those who build Rome did not build it under terms of office restriction or limitation. We are also of the view that the battle against underdevelopment poverty, illiteracy, disease, gender violence and corrupt practices can only be achieved by reinforcing the party constitution with provisions, such as (1) on preventive conflict of interest, (2) quota system of Swapo Party veterans: (10) in the central committee, (15) in National Assembly and (5) National Council. The modalities on the criteria and requirement shall be discussed soon after the amendment is agreed by the relevant authority. We are ready to expand on the proposed amendments.

Comrade President, we are aware that this is a controversial proposal but history is the best judge whose verdict cannot be ignored. No matter what type of a formula one takes, the current term of office does not and will not enable any president to carry out his or her national duties within the current prescribed time reference. This is a national proposal, which deserves national input and agreement. Swapo is the people and the people are Swapo. May God bless Namibia the land of the brave.

* Nkrumah Mushelenga is a Rt. Commissioner for Refugees and founder of P.N.P.C.V. Trust.