New Era Newspaper

New Era Epaper
Icon Collap
Home / Former Swapo district coordinator calls for tribal balance

Former Swapo district coordinator calls for tribal balance

2023-10-26  Albertina Nakale

Former Swapo district coordinator calls for tribal balance

KATIMA MULILO – As he departs from political leadership, former Swapo district coordinator for Katima Rural Jerome Kwenani leaves behind an illustrious legacy of exceptional management and equity within all Swapo structures of the constituency.

After his term of office came to an end on 27 August this year, he did not contest for any position due to his advanced age, having achieved his objective of showcasing that party unity is achievable and sustainable. 

Kwenani told New Era: “I am over 70 years old. My sight is very poor, and I can’t drive at night if a meeting drags on until late. I can’t drive home. When we sit in meetings, I can’t hear well and follow very well due to my age”. The new district coordinator is Joseph Wamunyima, who was duly elected on the same day when Kwenani’s term of office came to an end.

Kwenani has been hailed for having quelled tribal animosity between Swapo members in the district. 

When he was first elected as district coordinator in 2012, tribal divisions were so widespread that Swapo national leaders assigned to the Zambezi region had to be summoned to oversee the hotly-contested district election of 2012. 

Although faced with challenges, he emerged victorious, assuming the role of district coordinator after the conference. 

Kwenani then united the fractured branches and fostered a sense of togetherness. 

He said his goal was not to hold onto power indefinitely, but to demonstrate that tribal politics could be handled amicably and to the satisfaction of all members within the structure.

In 2015 and 2019, Kwenani was re-elected as district coordinator, a testament to the trust and respect he garnered from his constituents. 

Since then, tribal tensions have calmed down following his mantra of reconciliation – particularly between the warring factions of the Mafwe and the Masubia, who had in the past crossed swords over who should be in control of the district.

Kwenani (74) fondly narrated the story of how he managed to unite party members in Katima Mulilo Rural during his term of office from 2012 to August 2023.

 “When I took over as district coordinator, there was a dispute between the Masubia and Mafwe. I watched those developments closely. At the time, there were 20 branches in Katima Mulilo Rural. However, I realised that only some members turned up for meetings. When I won the elections, I went to consult those branches who didn’t turn up,” he said.

He then convinced members who had differences, and was able to address their concerns and bring unity within the party.

“From 2012 to 27 August 2023, there was unity, and I was able to go to any branch without anybody resorting to tribal tensions. I visited members physically, talked to them freely and shared party information with every branch without looking at tribal lines,” he added.

Kwenani noted that whenever any party position was at stake, for instance during the hot district conference in 2015, he always pleaded with delegates to strike a tribal balance.

He was quick to point out that he is not out of the party, and that he is only out of the Swapo management due to his advanced age.

“Any time members are looking for advice, they can consult me. I remain available. I don’t want to keep knowledge and wisdom to myself, but to share it with the new leadership,” he indicated.

Asked about his future, he would like to take time off to relax, although he does a bit of farming.

Kwenani also served as director of administration at the ministry of agriculture during his civil service journey in December 2009. 

A devout man of faith, he attributed his success to a life deeply rooted in prayer, placing unwavering trust in God.

Quoting Mark 10 verse 27 from the Bible, he lived by the maxim, “With God, all things are possible.”

Additionally, he embraced the prayer of serenity, seeking the wisdom to accept what he could not change, the courage to change what he could and the discernment to distinguish between the two. 


2023-10-26  Albertina Nakale

Share on social media