Swapo moots free tertiary education

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WINDHOEK – The ruling Swapo Party says if it is re-elected into power during this year’s general elections, it will explore the possibility of free tertiary education in priority sectors.

This is one of the human capital, development and deployment promises the party has made in its manifesto launched on Saturday at Katutura’s Sam Nujoma Stadium.

Last year government exempted parents from paying for their children’s primary education, and Swapo promises in its latest manifesto to continue mobilising resources so that secondary education too becomes freely accessible.

In terms of foreign relations, Swapo promises to aggressively pursue South-South cooperation, which in all likelihood will see the country strengthen its ties with both developing African countries and emerging world economic powers such as China.

National reconciliation, speedy delivery of justice and strengthening of the country’s agricultural sector will form an integral part of Swapo’s activities in the next five years – should the party receive another mandate to rule the country.

Swapo further promises to refine public procurement to accelerate industrialisation, while vowing to ensure that Namibians acquire respectable ownership stakes in all industries.

Laws and policies guiding the management of public enterprises will also be accelerated so that such institutions meaningfully contribute to State revenue, the party further states in its manifesto.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is also the Swapo president, launched the manifestor on Saturday – which he described as a social contract between the party and the Namibian people.

The launch of the manifesto was also used as an occasion to officially announce that Prime Minister Hage Geingob will be the party’s presidential candidate in this year’s election.

The 2014 Swapo Party election manifesto is themed ‘Consolidating Peace, Stability and Prosperity’.

 “It is public knowledge that the Swapo Party candidate for the presidential election is Comrade Dr Hage Geingob, Vice-President of the Swapo Party and Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia,” Pohamba said to resounding applause.

In the same breath he commended Swapo Secretary-General, Nangolo Mbumba, for a job well done on the manifesto after collecting information, conducting research, visiting different parts of the country, talking to communities and interacting with the population.

“Our presidential candidate, Comrade Hage Geingob and our 96 candidates for the National Assembly election are on a mission. That mission is to serve the people of Namibia to further consolidate the gains of the Namibian Revolution and to take Namibia closer to the achievement of our stated national development,” he emphasised.

Pohamba said the party’s candidates must from now on consider themselves as representing the entire nation, rather than specific regions or districts and added that the manifesto outlines major achievements the party has made over the years and the nation’s development priorities in the coming years.

“We stand ready and will work harder to implement the strategies contained in the 2014 Swapo Party election manifesto. We are confident that we have identified and articulated the priority areas that are critical to the achievement of our national development agenda,” he addded.

Pohamba said that Swapo was ready to face challenges and to provide effective solutions to take the country forward. He said that success depends on thorough preparation and that nothing should be left to chance or anything be taken for granted.

Pohamba said that in line with the manifesto, Swapo would continue to place specific focus on providing quality services and expanding access to education, health care, housing and sanitation, clean drinking water, electricity, agricultural extension services and social safety nets for the elderly, persons with disabilities as well as orphans and vulnerable children.

“As a matter of principle, we will continue to extend support to the veterans of the liberation struggle, whose sacrifices made it possible for our motherland to attain freedom,” he pointed out.

Among other plans, Pohamba said the ruling party would focus on job creation, especially for the youth, the expansion and modernisation of physical and communication infrastructure, both in urban and rural areas.

On his part, Geingob said that Namibia is a credit-worthy country because of good economic management and added that “it’s very rare for an African country to be rated like that.”

He said he has been trained over the past 40 years owing to the trust the party put in him.

“I have a difficult task ahead. President (Pohamba) you have now delivered me to the people,” he said.

Among notable attendees were Founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma, cabinet ministers and governors.