Swanu, Namibia’s oldest political party turns 64 today. However, it is the organisation’s relevance in present-day politics that commentators question.
Swanu cannot be written off yet if its claimant leader Charles Katjivirue’s statement is anything to go by.
He blamed Swanu and Namibia’s misfortunes on the ruling Swapo party and the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), DTA’s precursor, which were allegedly baptised as sole and authentic representatives during the struggle years.
Swanu, he charged, was isolated.
“Despite Swanu’s international isolation for close to two decades, which was designed with precision, either force us to join Swapo or sell out the struggle and become quisling and turncoats in defence of white settler apartheid regime, we remained steadfast and loyal to the agenda of the national liberation to the bitter end,” stated Katjivirue.
“The unshakeable confidence in the correctness of our political line, despite the ups and downs, dictates that we remain in existence so that our people’s needs and aspirations, as well as their struggle thereof, are not derailed. Daring to struggle and daring to win,” a clearly confident Katjivirue said in a missive seen by this paper.
However, political scientist and commentator Rui Tyitende has questions.
It is Tyitende’s view that in contemporary Namibia, Swanu has been pushed to the periphery, with little to no influence on public policy-making processes.
“If you look at Swanu, during its liberation years, they were quite influential because there was a whole body of intellectuals behind the party – but since independence, they have not been able to get more than one seat in Parliament,” Tyitende said.
He added that Swanu has failed to evolve and spread its gospel across all corners of the land.
If anything, Tyitende said, Swanu is past its sell-by date.
“In my view, Swanu is knocking on death’s door. They are more than in the political intensive care unit. And I do not see a future for Swanu as a political party,” he said.
Reacting to Katjivirue yesterday, PDM’s top administrator Manuel Ngaringombe said their party does not have time to play blame-game politics.
“Swanu was disrespectful to their elders in the chief council that it was formed under, and that led to people like chief [Clemens] Kapuuo to start Nudo,” said Ngaringombe.
He added: “Even in the new Namibia, we are addressing a lot of issues of national concern – bread and butter issues, so I don’t know in what capacity I am responding to this matter because they [Swanu] have another president, who is Evilastus Kaaronda. So, Charles must first clean his house before he tries to clean other people’s houses”.
Efforts to obtain comment from Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday proved futile.