As is common knowledge to all Namibians, Swapo Party is a modern political party in the political landscape of Namibia. Swapo Party transformed from Swapo of Namibia, which was a liberation movement that liberated Namibia then. Our party has a good constitution, which binds the masses of Namibia together. The aims and objectives of the party are what espouses the broader masses who believe that solidarity, freedom and justice represent their aspirations and interests. The constitution of Swapo Party is birthed out of democracy and aspires for a democratic process within the respective structures of the party.
We all know, be it Swapo Party members or non-members that Swapo Party brought democracy in this country. We have witnessed how the Swapo Party took over government and have spearheaded the construction of a strong governing foundation. The government has undoubtedly made a lot of strides and has a achieved a lot. There were of course shortcomings on the way too, such as corruption, nepotism, etc.
In terms of Swapo Party as a mass-based organisation, it undoubtedly has been going through a lot of good and bad waves. Swapo Party is the first one in SADC to have a woman as secretary general in the name of Cde Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and the party eventually incorporated equal gender representation in its constitution. The party has also maintained its dominance throughout the country until recently when the party lost its two-third majority in parliament and our president fell from 87% to a mere 56%. This shameful decline is the first since 1994.
This fate came about as it turned out that Swapo Party is a pit bulldog. The recent events in Swapo Party are arguably undesirable and detrimental to the life and dominance of the party. Like a pit bulldog, Swapo Party started to attack its own members through suspension and expulsions. This culminated in the illegal expulsion of the infamous “Swapo Party four” in 2015.
We have witnessed the removal of comrades from leadership positions in many towns of our motherland. This strategy never worked in favour of the party, but has caused cataclysmic disunity amongst the party. Simultaneously, Swapo Party is facing a consequential challenge of generational harmony. The elders feel the youth are impatient and disrespectful, while youth feel that elders want to stay until their graves. This has caused a lot of serious skirmishes in the party.
The party has also witnessed enormous arrogance and “I don’t care attitudes” of the leadership with leaders making statements which are annoying the membership in particular and Namibians in general. The party is marred and mutilated with comrades accusing and suspicious of each other especially with the looming threats from independent candidates. This development is not to be blamed on anyone else other than the leadership failing to unite the party.
Now we are here, the question that begs an answer is: “What can be done”? The immediate answer is for the party to go back to basics and begin to value its legal instruments such as the constitution, the rule and regulations of elections of office-bearers, and the political policies and programme of the party. There is no other magic that Swapo Party can perform. It is therefore paramount to embark upon serious service delivery, curbing corruption and dealing decisively with those that are doing corruption, and refrain from undermining the masses by avoiding to utter disparaging statements by leaders and those entrusted to be the voices of the voiceless. Unfortunately, Swapo Party’s good name has been tainted and pulled in the deep mud of Fishrot corruption and up to date no one has dared to reject the allegation made in the videos of Fishrot magnets. Those that are in public offices on the ticket of Swapo Party mentioned in the Fishrot must also come out clean and prove beyond reasonable doubt that they did not benefit from this organized criminal activity. I must admit, I haven’t before seen a sordid and scurrilous scandal like this.
The party leadership has drifted from implementing the election manifesto, which is a socio-political contract between the Swapo Party and the people. This is a serious blow, because what we must understand is that Namibia’s literacy level has drastically gone up, thank you to the Swapo Party government, hence, people have more understanding now than before and are aware of their rights. In the same vein, Swapo Party leadership must realise that the country has now grown and those who are born in a free and independent Namibia have become matured voters now. The born-frees have not so much interest in history and its events, but in bread and butter issues. Therefore if we fail in our promises we made to people, we must await punishment at the ballot box.
Our leadership must be cognizant of the fact that leadership comes with a lot of packages. It is therefore important to realise that the offices they are occupying are not for “cat walking”, but for addressing issues affecting our people. Failure to do so, antagonism and hostilities will emerge. The leadership should thus arise to the situation and provide leadership in situations like this. Being defensive and arrogant, and threatening those that are critical to our leadership is tantamount to self-destruction.
I must also warn our mighty Swapo Party against some members of the party whose interests are gossips, economic survival and backdoor political advancement. These types of people are very dangerous to the existence of the party. They go around creating stories and propaganda about other members. Unfortunately, because our people are insecure, they believe in these white lies and the end product is emotional decision.
As a party, we must seize ourselves with measures of how to build our image. We must begin to be serious with what we do and say. The office of the party president, secretary general, and information and publicity spokesperson must realise the mammoth tasks they have in shaping and keeping the party relevant by transmitting sifted information geared for nation building. The three offices must build and make Swapo Party strong. Therefore, they must change in the interest of the party’s life. In addition, institutional memory is critical and cardinal for the party’s existence. It is therefore important that the party calls out the veterans of the liberation struggle, the former leaders of the party and wings to advise the party.
In the close off, I would like to call upon all of us to build and not destroy Swapo Party. We must desist from fighting each other, and begin to fight corruption, ignorance, poverty, looting of public resources and poor service delivery. I must also emphasise that expelling members is cheaper than a torch in a Chinese shop, hence we must deal with problems facing the party with sober and emotion-free minds. As we face the primaries to identify cadres to go represent Swapo Party in regional and local authority councils, let the members not victimise each other because of factions and groupings. Swapo Party headquarters must also not eliminate those that they don’t like because this is what killed, is killing and will kill Swapo Party dominance. Let us work as per the established rules in our constitution and all relevant party documents.