During the opening of the Swapo party post-mortem meeting which started on Saturday on the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly poll, President Hage Geingob confessed there are areas where the party had failed its members.
As the sole Swapo presidential candidate in 2019, Geingob said he saw that there was a cry for unity and a valid expectation that government should accelerate service delivery to improve the livelihoods of the masses.
Geingob who is also the party president said the ruling party needs to do much better in the areas of housing, education, health and shared prosperity.
“Our people need us. There are areas where we failed our people. From the sections to the branches, districts to the regions, we need engaged and committed foot soldiers, competent and involved leaders and most importantly, we need to return the love and commitment shown to the party by taking care of the masses. That is our DNA. That is what our people want. That is who we are,” Geingob remarked.
After the elections, Swapo held a central committee meeting on 16 December, where Geingob emphasised the need to undertake a sober introspection, soul searching and post-mortem of the 2019 elections.
The purpose was to identify the possible reasons why the party did not perform optimally and therefore ended up losing some ground and seats to opposition parties.
Geingob was duly elected after receiving 464 703 of the total 826 198 votes in the last presidential election.
This means his support dropped with about 30%, from the overwhelming 87% that he received in 2014 compared to 56, 3% he got in 2019.
The incumbent endured fierce competition from independent candidate Dr Panduleni Itula, who came second with 242 657 (29, 4%) of the votes.
Geingob sought and obtained concurrence from the central committee and politburo to institute a post-mortem on the factors that affected the election outcomes for the Swapo party.
He cautioned the process of introspection should not be seen in a negative light. He said there are many detractors who will claim that the meeting is a sign that Swapo is losing its dominance in the political arena.
“Let me assure you, they couldn’t be further from the truth. On the contrary, the opportunity to introspect must always be seen as a silver lining,” he said.
Geingob called on members to raise their concerns and challenges through party channels so that they are able to restore, maintain and strengthen their sense of common purpose.
“In this context, I have requested the secretariat to read out the written comments of our former prime minister and Swapo presidential candidate, comrade Nahas Angula, so that we may start a fresh page of engaging each other on party platforms and not through the media.
“I would like to agree with comrade Nahas that Swapo is our collective “heritage, our culture and identity.” As we deliberate today, let us do so from the common understanding that we all love this party. Let us agree that we all want Swapo to succeed.
The Swapo party is bigger than each of us and we must unite to ensure that the party outlives all of us.”
He explained the process of honest introspection can be seen as cathartic and healing, adding it is an excellent opportunity for them to re-examine the party’s core values, ideology and purpose, which will give them clarity and enable them to focus on their long-term success.
He said Swapo’s time and energy must be dedicated to serving the masses and not fighting one another.
Geingob addressed the issue that has lingered over the past several years, that of certain cadres claiming that the Swapo of today is not the Swapo of yesteryears.
He said political crises are not new and unique to Swapo.
According to him, like all political parties, they have to factor in the element of human emotions, misunderstandings and differences of opinions.
Therefore, he clarified that disagreements and differences of opinions did not emerge as a result of the so-called Team Harambee or Team Swapo.
Further, he mentioned the clumsy attempts to “falsely paint Swapo as a party of corrupt elites” is a talking point of those who seek to destroy the party from within and from outside.
He said what is true is that Swapo has no reason to protect individuals who betray the trust of the party and engage in self-enrichment as that is a betrayal of the sacred trust bestowed on them by the masses.
“The party has always supported due process to take its course when a member has been accused of wrongdoing and we have not diverted from that position. To the extent that the party needs to make some recommendations on how we can strengthen our anti-corruption measures and sanctions, we will do so,” he said.