Swapo must get rid of gerontocracy to revive itself
THE looming 2022 Swapo elective congress offers the party an opportunity to reinvest in itself by responding to changing power dynamics in the political space which call for mutation towards youthful leadership.
An honest introspection reflects that the party must induce youth into leadership by allowing them to hold real and substantive power in the party. In layman’s terms, positions such as the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General and downwards must be reserved for Swapo’s critical thinking youth which will help the party forge reliable and robust defence mechanisms against dissident factions that are brewing within the party and those that are working in cohorts with breakaway factions.
At this stage, a clear out 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 giving 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 mighty Swapo party.
In its strategic orientation, the position of the next president in the coming congress should not be challenged at this stage. It should be the preserve of the current president to choose who is fit to lead the party next. However, this should not be just any other youth, but an educated and skilled youth. We say this with the view that the party cannot afford an uncertain political leadership and a polarised party with the current economic crisis.
More so, the party has to be mindful of the fact that the current attacks on its youthful leaders are well thought out and systematic to ensure that any youthful leader that can rise to the challenge must be thwarted.
Thus, it is time for the party to have a strategy in place that counters attacks, defends the party and constantly reaffirms its ability to take Namibia forward. Currently, there is no denying that the Minister of Information and Communication Technology has been weakened; the Swapo Party’s own information secretary has been non-existent. In the same vein, the party lacks presence on social media making it increasing vulnerable to relentless attacks from key board warriors who have used to same to launch damaging political onslaughts against the party. The party must take steps to address these strategic weak points and beef up its mindful presence on social media.
Further, the so-called think tank has not only been non-existent but a bloated institution without the vision to provide fundamental ideas of growth to the party. If the idea is to have a think tank, then this must only house nine people with critical thinking skills that can drive the party forward.
The sad status quo is that there is currently no one to defend the president as there is no fight back strategy or defence mechanism. All the sharp nails are falling on the president and those associated with him.
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.