Former liberation movements, who are currently ruling parties in six Southern African countries, have been meeting in Windhoek this week to exchange notes.
Addressing her peers at the congregation, Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa highlighted common challenges shared by the parties, among them governance in a democratic space.
She also cited the need for the movements to transmit revolutionary discipline, which was at the centre of their victories against oppression, to the ranks and files of the parties, particularly the youth.
The movements must inculcate among their members self-respect and patriotism, she said.
Shaningwa is right.
We do not subscribe to the liberal notion that former liberation movements must entirely shed off their revolutionary stance and be ‘normal’ political parties as generally expected in the 21st century.
While we agree that these parties must bury some of their wartime archaic and obsolete traditions – which entailed cracking on dissent and whipping all members into toeing the party line without questions being asked – we believe that their liberation spirit must remain alive on.
The struggle for economic emancipation, though becoming a cliché among many former liberation movements, cannot be won without the mentality of a liberation struggle.
Without that mentality, the fight against unpatriotic deeds such as corruption, cronyism and self-centeredness, would never be won.
Only revolutionaries would win the fight for land, decent housing, economic equity and all structural colonial legacies that continue to haunt our nations to date.
But while clinging onto their revolutionary liberation spirit, these parties are required to absorb and devote themselves to democratic principles.
As much as democracy was to a great extent a by-product of the decolonisation war, it was ultimately embraced as a great principle of governance that assures citizens basic freedoms, including the right to choose who should lead them.
Some parties have remained in power not because their records in governing countries have been particularly impeccable but because they are rewarded by the electorate for their liberation struggle credentials.
But with the new set of challenges our countries face, it would be ideal that former liberation movements are now being voted because of their current programs of action and post-independence successes in governance.
Like Professor Siphamandla Zondi writes, political parties are assumed to operate like professional associations. They should value accountability and transparency by embracing modern systems of management and leadership.
This enables them to become dynamic platforms for advancing refined political ends that benefit not only their leaders but the greater masses.
The solidarity that currently exists between Swapo, ANC, MPLA, Zanu-PF, Chama Cha Mapinduzi and Frelimo is commendable and must help ease integration of our six countries at diplomatic and economic levels.
Solidarity though must not mean supporting every action of sister parties, even when such actions defeat the revolutionary ideals for which liberation wars were fought.
Solidarity must also mean the ability to call sister parties to order when they become wayward, including ruling their nations with iron fists.
Genuine friends are those who are prepared to help others by correcting and advising them when they go wrong. Anyone who looks away and keeps silent when their supposed friends fall off the tracks of servitude, ethics and righteousness, do not deserve to be perceived and considered to be a true mate.
New Era Reporter
2018-11-23 09:56:56 2 months ago