The Swapo Party Congress, which is underway in the capital, leans more on the side of its elective component, and there is little mention of policy-related discourse. Yet, the country faces serious challenges such as the sluggish economic growth, job losses, land scarcity and slow foreign investment, among others. Congress is not an occasion reserved for chanting and singing liberation songs. It should not be an avenue for hugs and narration of what happened in the trenches on Angolan soil 40 years ago, as important as that may be to shaping today’s society. Everything has its time and congress should certainly be a ground for in-depth introspection on matters that affect society today, especially those of policy and bread and butter nature. It is a platform to reflect on opportunities and challenges identified over the last five years and decisively agree on modalities to deal with them. It is disappointing that the build-up to congress has been, almost exclusively, about political campaigns by those seeking positions in the party. It is not clear what issues, if any, the congress is going to deal with – with a view to make life better for all Namibians. There is a difference, a big one, between campaign promises of candidates and what congress, as a collective, would discuss and decide on as far as the fate of the party and country is concerned. Campaign promises are, essentially, the imaginary activities to be carried out once candidates have been elected. Such promises are not part of the deliberations at congress, unless by coincidence. What an average Namibian wants to see is what the party will decide regarding spiralling informal settlements in the country, forced removal of illegal structures as recently witnessed in Katima Mulilo. They are interested to see what kind of directive the party will give to government in order to arrest job losses emanating from various factors, including failure to pay service providers on time. In other words, will youth unemployment enjoy some extended time of discussion? Will the land question eventually be put to bed, given the vastness of our country and the small population wanting a piece of it? There is so much going on in our country, including good things that we can build on with strong policy directives. The election on Sunday, which is often informed by cronyism and patronage than the desire to see positive change in both the party and country, should therefore be at a backburner. Congress is the highest decision-making body in Swapo and should therefore not be let pass wastefully like a fart of baked beans.
2017-11-24 09:44:28 9 months ago