The fear currently gripping the country as a result of the tense contestation for power in the ruling party will, in all likelihood, persist in weeks to come. Our hope is that indeed weeks, rather than years, is the timeframe within which such fear must be cleared. Already, shots have been fired in opposing directions since campaigns were declared open ahead of this month’s congress, to the worry of many. The tone of the language being exchanged between the two camps scrambling for authority in Swapo exacerbates the already deep-seated sense of uncertainty gripping the country, with many a citizen wondering what would happen after everyone’s fate has been sealed at congress. Whether leaders would be humble and tolerant enough to accept the outcome, even when not in their favour, is not immediately clear. The challenge now is how to manage the post-congress emotions that are likely to play themselves out. We have no particular preference for individual leaders going into this congress, but it is our hope that those with voting rights would deliver leaders who can manage not only the party and possibly the country’s affairs in the next few years, but also help restore unity after November 26. Winners must think about Namibia first, instead of their cronies, and what the country stands to lose if post-congress frustrations are managed poorly. The party too must weigh its chances of going into the 2019 general election divided, as opposed to being a united front. While the country’s opposition may seem to be in deep slumber between general elections, there have been some glimpses that Swapo cannot take its opponents lightly. The events of last week in the opposition fraternity, where RDP was dragged by its own president to court and the DTA rebranded and renamed itself, are the clearest signs yet of the opposition parties’ ambition and intent in the next general election. The opposition will rejoice if Swapo fails to manage its differences post-congress. Any division in the ruling party holds positive spinoffs for the opposition. That goes without saying. But amidst all this, what is at stake in more ways than anything else is Namibia – the country we all profess to love unconditionally. Throughout history, arguing about politics has been one of the greatest pastimes in the world. From many dinner-table discussions and WhatsApp group chats today, politics is an enlightening l subject, especially when issue-based. Clashes of perspectives and ideological differences have always been exciting to watch. But when poisoned by personality attacks and character assassination, politics becomes a stressful indulgence and a painful charade to watch. The moment politics departs from being a contest of ideas and becomes almost a matter of personal and physical attacks, all citizens await the future not in hopeful anticipation but with bated breath. Therefore, when candidates for all positions and from both camps are out campaigning, they must include in their campaign messages a strong assurance that all will be well post-congress, even if the tables are turned against them. This is the one aspect lacking in the campaigns so far. While acting individually or in small groups, the aspiring candidates must think nationally. Namibia is bigger - both in stature and size - than any political party in this country. Intra-party differences must therefore not supersede the critical need for national unity, cohesion and the compelling necessity for peaceful coexistence, even with those that we differ with sharply.
2017-11-10 09:43:22 10 months ago