Swapo politburo member Marco Hausiku is one of the three candidates vying for the deputy secretary position at the ruling party’s congress next weekend.
Hausiku this week sat down with The Patriot and spoke about issues related to the Congress, sole candidacy, Swapo’s growth and unity in the party.
He vehemently denied claims that he is not happy being on acting president, Dr. Hage Geingob’s slate. Hausiku also took a swipe at those who claim that he was included in Geingob’s slate merely to land the votes from the delegates from the two Kavango regions.
TP: How would you describe the campaign trail thus far?
MH: Campaigns in my view have gone well, you have to remember that you are dealing with people at an extra ordinary time. There are times I call it crazy time. People don’t look deep into issues, that is human and we cannot ignore that. But what is important at Congress is the message under discussion that we must all understand well. We are trying to bring the message to our supporters that the policies and programs of the party both the formulation and the implementation of those policies should be long term. They should not be looked at in terms of offices, they should not be looked at in terms of individuals; these are systems that have to carry through the party in order for us to be able to grow the party in its policy formula, policy implementation and indeed policy change when it needs to be but processes have to be followed fully.
TP:But will you agree that the battle for positions at Congress overshadows the discussions and deliberations that ought to take place?
MH: I agree. We were lucky in the past years that we could move from one meeting to another trying to remain linked politically while abiding to the regulations of the party’s Constitution. That is a missing factor currently. People just join the party today and tomorrow they want to go for elections. The umbilical cord between the members and the mother (party) is being cut so early and therefore we have to go back and relink it so that every member, be it an elderly member of the party or a leader of the party – they should be continuously trained and kept in contact with the party’s ideals to realise that the only way we can survive in politics and growing our political party is through training. That is why you see organized and disciplined structures in countries like China and Cuba.
TP: You are vying for the position of deputy secretary general, I’m sure many people have asked you why you did not go for a higher position. As a stalwart of the party, why did you not run for a higher position?
MH: I looked at it in a broader sense, yes I am senior but we have taken a political decision that whether there are five people who are seniors who want to stand, it has to be done according to certain policies that we have taken in the past. In this case we are looking at the gender policy.
I have been part of the group that formulated party policies and I cannot today come and introduce an element of seniority as an excuse to violate policies we have set. This is why we are saying people have to understand that this country cannot be governed based on our situations at a certain time, but rather on the set principles and policies. What we think is not the policies; it should be governed by adopted rules, procedures and policies because if you want to govern a country by what you think you are destroying the party and the nation. We fail to understand the policies when we formulate them and we only realise the basic principles that we took in that policy when we implemented them. This is the same with the two centres of power.
TP: What is your take on views that the vice president and acting president should stand as a sole candidate, is that a policy?
MH: Nobody is fighting over sole candidacy. What we are saying is that if a situation arises where you have two people competing allow them to do so because the Constitution allows it. We are not saying people should not stand; we are saying that when we go to the people you must have a message. I attended many meetings where we discussed two centers of power and I gave an example of one of my colleagues in Malaysia who told me that two centers of power creates a condition similar to that of being bipolar. That rule of allowing people to stand in numbers is not to create a president of the country and a president of the party, but to allow for inner-party democracy.
TP: But there are so many regions that were pushing for Geingob to stand as a sole candidate, are you saying they do not understand the inner workings of the party?
MH: In the final analysis what should stand is the adopted policies. And the adopted policy is yes if there are people who want to compete allow them, let them go. The only anomaly that I see is somebody who calls for sole candidacy today and that same person turns around tomorrow saying no sole candidate, no sole candidate. Today they say one centre of power tomorrow they turn around and say two centres of power. That is hypocrisy. That is why we have at present moment, three candidates for presidency, three other candidates vying for vice presidency and two candidates vying for secretary general position – that is allowable. And this is what we are saying, that comrades we adopted a policy that the President of the country is also the president of the party or the president of the party is our candidate to the presidency of the country. Therefore, when he wins he directs and governs on both sides and that is the one centre of power.
You come in the middle of the campaign and say no this time we want a President for the country and a president for the party, effectively creating a two centres of power scenario. And then they tell you that the centre of SWAPO is not an individual, but the party.
TP: If elected, which are the issues that will be enjoying your attention?
MH: I believe when you are planning to build the first thing you should think about is the road to access the place where you are going, therefore planning and training tops my agenda. The road we wish to walk should be very well prepared. The road for every political party is derived from its constitution, from its political programs, from its rules of procedures and from its policies. That is the compass that directs you where you should come out. And all those facilities or documents that I have referred to should be known by members through training. If it is God’s will and I have got the support of the party and every member of SWAPO, I will make sure that every party member undergoes training to understand the reason why they have joined SWAPO, to understand that they are subservient to SWAPO party and that they must abide by the party’s rules.
I have a vision that in the next years our people will know what leadership is all about. It is not a title, it is not a position. It is serving the institution that has provided you with that leadership platform. Build it and make it stronger than it was when you joined it. It is about educating your people so that they understand they are there to serve people not to serve themselves. You enter the office everyday there is corruption allegations. People should understand what corruption is and they should understand why they hold certain positions. The protection of public properties is my responsibility as well as yours. Whether you are employed by the government or not, our mindsets should be premised on building, not destroying.
TP: There are talks of rebuilding, mindset changing, revitalizing. Is the SWAPO party system broken?
MH: The system is not broken. By revitalizing you are not revitalizing anything in SWAPO’s system but rather the mindset of members. The ones who is talking about revitalizing are the ones violating the party rules. And when you say comrade yesterday you were defending this rule they don’t understand anymore. This is the lack of understanding that exists amongst our people. They only support policies when it suits them.
TP: What about claims that SWAPO has stopped serving the masses on the ground?
MH: That is not true. SWAPO is still serving the masses on the ground the only problem is that we have artificially cut the people from the umbilical cord that attach them to their party. This disconnection took place because after independence – no political education has taken place, everybody was rushing for a position. When I was running the Windhoek branch people were afraid to be elected because there was no butter and bread, it was all about sacrifice. The spirit of sacrificing has gone down in the party. That is why I am saying we should reset our mindsets, that is the process that we have to undergo and we have to accept that this cannot take place overnight. In very harmonious, development, progressive economies leaders are trained every year. They are reminded to say look this is our responsibility. In SWAPO we were taught to collectively conduct our activities, to look at people as equals to us, to respect other people’s opinions, to listen and be listened to, to acknowledge shortcomings so that immediate action can be taken either by yourself or by the party. But all of a sudden you get a person who has been in SWAPO or government for years calling the same organisation they have served that it is dead and that it is in wrong hands. Who are the right hands? The policy of SWAPO makes it clear that members of SWAPO are all equal. If we talk about short comings we have to point out short comings and I am not saying we do not have any.
TP: There are talks that you were included in the Geingob slate to land the votes from the two Kavango Regions. What do you make of such talks?
MH: People are seeing these things wrongly. I never depended on the Kavango votes. I became an active member here in Windhoek in 1976 when I was expelled from the university. And I became an active member of SWAPO party since then being a regional executive member. That time we were allowed to be elected until 1989. In June when I was sent to lead the elections in the Kavango region and Tsumkwe, that is when I went there. I grew up here[Windhoek], there are more people who know me in Windhoek, than in Kavango. Go to Gobabis you will get people calling me Mitiri[teacher], go to the South and get to Windhoek it is the same all over. Most of the young people in Kavango don’t know me. I do not influence people in terms of how they vote, there are times when I don’t get their votes, hence I consider myself as a national SWAPO leader, not a regional one. During the struggle, the Windhoek branch was the center of activities. When our national structures lead by the national executive committee was disbanded we were mandated to work as a center of information and coordination of party activities throughout the country, I was the chairman. All this to say, I do not depend on the votes from Kavango.
TP: What do you make of the two contestants[Petrina Haingura and Martha Tilahun-Namundjebo] that you will be contesting against?
MH: Well I am confident that we can compete successfully but of course elections are elections. People give their votes to the person they want to give. But indeed I’m sure that I stand a chance to come out there. When I started functioning all the other comrades went to higher structures I have been running the party branch. I am an active member of the SWAPO party until I die. Losing will not affect me and I will still make the same contribution I am making.