The ruling Swapo party is the last political formation to lecture others about running local authorities as it failed at an industrial scale, for the better part of 32 years, Landless People’s Movement leader Bernadus Swartbooi has said.
Not mincing his words yesterday, Swartbooi was responding to his Swapo counterpart, President Hage Geingob, who said opposition parties have failed to provide leadership and direction at various local authorities and regional councils.
Geingob took a dig, particularly at opposition-run municipalities and regional councils, where suspensions, infighting and chaos are common.
The President did not shy away from dragging the media into the political ring, accusing journalists of treating opposition parties with kid gloves.
“The press never ask the hard questions about opposition parties that are messing up local authorities. After six months in office, they started to fight and no questions are raised about the poor quality of service delivery,” he said when opening a Swapo central committee meeting over the weekend.
In Swartbooi’s eyes, Swapo should be the last party to lecture the opposition on how to run affairs.
“They [Swapo] have not done anything to transform this country. Yet he [Geingob] goes to claim that we must ‘go to hell’ and that they can manage local authorities,” Swartbooi said.
The lawyer-turned-politician challenged Geingob to name a single local authority that Swapo ran successfully.
“Look at what they [Swapo] have done to Okahandja [they] messed it up. Right now, Grootfontein and Rundu are led by Swapo but it’s just infightings, nothing is moving there,” he charged.
He said under Swapo’s watch, most local authorities were turned into debt-ridden entities filled with incompetent Swapo cadres.
“Every resident in the entire Republic of Namibia who lives in an urban area works to pay bills of NamWater and NamPower… and the executives [of these local authorities] live large lives in ways you could never imagine,” Swartbooi claimed.
He said his orange army would not shy away from firing or disciplining incompetent political office bearers serving on their ticket.
“That is accountability,” he said.
Swartbooi also accused the central government of sabotaging councils run by opposition parties.
“They try to cut resources. But we are steadily overcoming some of these challenges,” he said, adding that even their attempts to solicit grants from good Samaritans are being blocked by the central government which has the final say.
On Saturday, Geingob defended Swapo’s track record.
He was astounded by how the Swapo-led government is expected to fix the country’s socio-economic situation in just 30 years when colonialism and oppression lasted for over 100 years.
At the time of going to print yesterday, the biggest municipality in the country, Windhoek, was without a management committee and substantive CEO.
Windhoek was wrestled away from the ruling party during the regional council and local authority elections in 2020, alongside other major municipalities such as Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Keetmanshoop.