OMUTHIYA – President Hage Geingob has urged Swapo members to take a leaf from former ruling party heads Sam Nujoma and Hifikepunye Pohamba, whom he said have never compromised party unity even when they were unhappy with certain issues in Swapo.
He was speaking at Okashana rural development centre in Oshikoto on Monday where party members were divided on the issue of unity in the ruling party.
At the occasion, party regional coordinator for Oshikoto,
Armas Amukwiyu pledged his support to Geingob ahead of this year’s national elections, which are compounded by ambitions of independent candidacy by some party members.
Amukwiyu challenged Geingob’s slate at the 2017 Swapo congress, but lost out on the secretary-general’s position to Sophia Shaningwa.
He recently told New Era in an interview that efforts are underway – under his leadership – to ensure Geingob and Swapo retain landslide victories in the November elections.
Addressing Geingob directly this week, Amukwiyu described the Head of State as his political mentor and regretted his decision to stand against the ‘Team Harambee’ slate two years ago.
Geingob welcomed the renewed support from his once blue-eyed boy and used the occasion to urge other party members to unite behind the party ahead of this year’s elections.
It was at that juncture that he said, naturally, former heads of state and party presidents Nujoma and Pohamba would have at some stage been unhappy with certain things in the party over the years, but they have never fuelled divisions because of any discontent they might have had.
“When you disagree it doesn’t mean walk away to show your disapproval,” he said, as the party remains divided after the 2017 leadership contest.
“Look at them [Nujoma and Pohamba]. They are old but still make it to party events, carrying out their mandate. Sometimes I do not expect them there. But they are always coming, so that doesn’t mean they do not disagree in some things, but at the end of the day it’s for the benefit of the party - which is above us all,” he added.
Last weekend, Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Ephraim Nekongo urged members to find hibernators within the league and the party itself and weed them out.
He took issue with those standing as independent candidates against party candidates, saying this violates the Swapo constitution.
On Monday, Swapo members in Oshikoto were divided on party cohesion – with some disagreeing that party unity currently prevails.
This transpired during a meeting between Geingob and the party regional leadership held at Okashana rural development centre, after Geingob’s town hall meeting at Omuthiya.
Amukwiyu said the younger members of the party sometimes made certain decisions due to lack of experience in the space of politics.
“We are just young politicians and we need your guidance as our elders,” he said.
To Amukwiyu’s pledge of support, Geingob said: “What more can you ask? The small boy [Amukwiyu] has done it. He apologised with intent and sincerity. It is not easy to say sorry, not everyone can do it. So it takes courage for one to apologise, which he did personally now and publicly. Today he stood up,” said Geingob in his earlier remark.
He once again reminded party members to forget about issues of the 2017 congress and bury the past. “Once it’s over, it should be over – just like what the boy has done. Let’s play the ball not the man, it’s time we hold hands together,” reiterated the party president.