• May 22nd, 2019
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Enter 2019: Happy New Year Namibia


The year has started and surely the nation has all the beautiful “new year’s resolutions”. This is a good idea because it is always important to start a new slate with the New Year. 

My last born would irritate me at the start of each school year when she declined to take anything old to school, she would even discard used school shoes, because this is a new year and “Teacher Dora” said they must bring new school items. 
With time I got to succumb to her philosophy and under pressure her mother and I would rather replenish virtually all her needs. Now that she is in grade twelve she is the most economic member of the family and understands what it means not to afford something. 

I wish all the parents the very best because many will continue to be inundated with wish-lists, sometimes in the name of Teacher Dora. 

This is the year of electioneering politics and the rhetoric that go with that. Normally about nine countries in the SADC Region hold elections in the same year, every five years. They include Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and a few others. During this time contestations would feature prominently in all these countries and would be distinguished by intense mutual criticism bordering on political character assassinations. 

Normally new or revamped political formations would enter the political arena. At times there are new political parties and alliances that would often be short-lived, because after the elections the new partnerships disintegrate as leadership tensions flare up and each group reverts to their original constituencies and platforms or move on to new ones. 
Then we have the resurgence of tensions in the much more stable political parties, in the context of Namibia, notably the ruling party Swapo. It normally starts either at the district or constituency levels, with sniping from the hip leading to connivances from either regional headquarters  or party headquarters in the capital, at times flowing from the principals of the party, passing under the name of State House or the office of the president. 

This trend has confounded Namibia’s political organization since independence and seemingly this conundrum has defied wisdom. And on this trend, the ruling party is not alone. 

When I saw in one of the newspapers that the message from late Comrade Lokusani (Petrus Ilonga) was that Swapo’s current president must resolve the party’s problems I agreed with this note, save for the intimation left and gained from the write-up, that left the impression that the problems confounding Swapo’s equilibrium are solely a function of the current president and his immediate leadership.

They are not and President Geingob came to inherit many of these problems along with others he found on the desk in the realm of managing the business of state. But yes, as the head of state and supreme leader of the ruling party, all the perceived and real crimes in Swapo will rest at his door step and the onus lies on President Geingob to emerge magnanimous.

However variously stated, contemporary indications suggest that the thrust of political discussions in Ozombuharua (hangout places) throughout the country flows at two levels. 

One, there are intense discussions within the Swapo Party on how best to contain President Geingob and even curtail his leadership, including having to deny him the second term as president of the country. The other is that there are intense discussions about best formulas to diffuse current state power and to remove Swapo from leading the country, come the next elections. 

The first contemplation is well in the hands of the party Swapo, but it seems that President Geingob remains firmly in charge and towers as the preferred candidate for leadership for the Swapo Party in the coming elections. Need I say more?

The difficulty with the second contemplation is that, Namibians seem to be overwhelmingly religious behind the party Swapo, notwithstanding all the challenges the party has gone through. 

Perhaps the fitting speculation should be, either the Swapo Party has not stumbled on a leadership that can take the party places, or the leadership has not found a winning formula to have Swapo re-bear itself in the direction many in the party would want. 

Given obtaining political realities in Namibia, it seems that Swapo is bound to rule Namibia for yet a thirty year period, given the reality that none of the political parties since independence has managed to come close to giving Swapo stiff competition, the kind that Swapo’s director of elections, Hage Geingob, described in 1989 on touch-down at the then Windhoek International Airport. 

He said: “We promise all political parties a clean fight, but one hell of a fight.” 
We need to inculcate in our society a culture of open political discourse. Many interested political aspirants and academic students of politics, shy away from interrogating such issues as I am falling around with in public now, for fear of reprisals. 
This has given rise to a virtual monopoly by mediocre political analysts like me, and expatriate or external political analysts, to occupy center stage for political interpretation. Each time when political leaders enter the arena of marketable ideas, they are at one another’s’ throat and that in itself serves as disincentive for public political discourse. 

Professor Goran Hyden is accurate when he says that, we need to re-inspect the premises upon which we have based our planning for African development to date. No one escapes this challenge; there are no short cuts to progress.


New Era Reporter
2019-01-11 10:05:21 4 months ago

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