• May 29th, 2020

To remain dominant, Swapo must evolve - and fast

Abednego K. Ekandjo

That Swapo is dominant, popular and continues to represent the aspirations of the majority of Namibians is beyond doubt.

However, now more than ever, and in the face of recent developments on the local political scene, the party needs to start evolving faster from the old traditional culture of playing liberation movement politics to a new and more modern culture of vibrant and aggressive politics - predominantly focused on addressing the socioeconomic issues of the young voters, who are increasingly becoming politically conscious and less gullible. 

New populist political actors are strategically presenting themselves to the electorate as champions of the African Renaissance (Af.Re) phenomenon. They, the new populist African Renaissance champions, fully understand that the new generation of young voters, despite appreciating the heroic deeds of those that brought political independence, are no longer interested in casting their votes based on historical gratitude alone. 

Realising the historical stagnation that is still inherent in the party, the new populist African Renaissance champions are effectively and efficiently using information communication technologies against the party to attract sympathisers and build a political base. 

Understandably, the young voters are more interested in what one can do for them in the here and now, and not necessarily what one has done for them in the past. 

In their minds, history is done and dusted. The fact remains that people are resistant to change, especially the old guard, and that resistance is what the new populist transformational leaders (African Renaissance champions) are thriving and capitalising on. 

If recent political developments in northern Namibia are anything to go by, political forces to be reckoned with have shown that the dominance of the party can be seriously challenged moving forward into the future. 

The new populist African Renaissance champions and their growing number of sympathisers have long realised that the slow pace at which the party is evolving is a big political opportunity, and now they can finally start to smell the blood of the wounded “animal”,  the seemingly big and untouchable “elephant”.
These “wild dogs” are closing in very fast. 

Therefore, political dynamics are changing and the party must act fast to evolve. But what exactly does this evolution entail? 

First and foremost, it must entail courage from the old guard to trust the new generation and pass on the torch (easier said than done, of course). Secondly, it must entail meritorious creativity and technical innovation on the part of the new generation to address modern socioeconomic challenges, especially those facing young voters. 

Thirdly, it must entail mutual respect and acknowledgement between the old guard and the new generation (the interests of all must be promoted by striking a political balance). Furthermore, the idea that new brooms sweep cleaner resonates more than ever after three decades of mostly the same individuals at the helm of overseeing the allocation of state resources. 

Moreover, power is addictive (that is why people sometimes tend to get stuck in public office), but there is absolutely no need to hold on to power until the last minute - you have done your best and it is now time to give others a chance, especially the younger generation. 

Politics, like life itself, is about survival of the fittest. Political evolution, just like biological evolution, is a natural process that needs to happen to ensure continuous fitness and survival. The country and the party are now at the crossroads, it is either to opt to evolve sooner rather than later or risk the inevitable emergence of the new populist African Renaissance champions as the fittest leaders from the current fierce struggle for political power and survival in Namibia. 

*Abednego K. Ekandjo writes in his private capacity as a citizen.

Staff Reporter
2019-06-19 09:51:25 | 11 months ago

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