Wednesday 12 May 2021
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Swapo’s love for Chinese affairs

Swapo Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba meets Li Yuanchao, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in Beijing in 2013. (Nampa/Xinhua)

Swapo Party Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba meets Li Yuanchao, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee in Beijing in 2013. (Nampa/Xinhua)

China did it, so why can’t we. That seems to be the attitude within the Hage Geingob-led Swapo Party, as the party looks to replicate the Chinese Communist Party’s successful party school model.
The ruling party recently sent a delegation to China led by secretary general Nangolo Mbumba to get more insight on how the CPC is running its party school.
The delegation comprised of ruling party backbenchers in parliament and some officials from the working at the party’s headquarters. Former National Council chairperson Asser Kapere who is widely tasked to be appointed as the principal of the mooted Swapo Party School was also part of the delegation.
The Patriot understands that there are advanced plans to use facilities at the International University of Management (IUM) for the party school.
Swapo central committee member Dr. David Namwandi owns IUM. He refused to comment on the talks that IUM will host the party school, referring this publication to Mbumba. Efforts to reach Mbumba for comment proved futile.
Those who formed part of the trip said the trip was mainly to see how the CPC run their party school.
“We were educated on how the purpose of the school, its importance to preserve party ideology and its     essence to ensure continuity. The issue of collective responsibility was also a key aspect, because it teaches us that we can disagree during private party meetings but in public we must have a common agreement,” the Swapo source told The Patriot.
Just recently Deputy Minister of Land Reform Bernadus Swartbooi     reportedly broke the Swapo norms and tradition in the National     Assembly when he came out as the first ruling party parliamentarian to speak out against the proposed     construction of the proposed new N$2 billion parliament building.
State newspaper, New Era, reported that: “Although party insiders confirmed that there was no caucus on the subject, they however indicated that it has always been the tradition that Swapo parliamentarians adopt the same position on issues, especially those perceived to be controversial and likely to receive opposition backlashing.”
Relations between Swapo and the Chinese Communist Party dates way back during the days of the liberation struggle.
From the pre-independence era, there has been a steadily growing number of senior Swapo leaders travelling non-stop to Beijing. There is hardly any of the senior Swapo leaders who have not undertaken the 11 ooo kilometer journey to Beijing, in some cases the trips are fully-funded by the Communist Party.
The ruling party’s support is hardly waning, as seen in the 2014 Presidential and National Assembly elections as well as the 2015 Regional Council and Local Authority elections, but the party is not taking its grip on power for granted as it looks to establish a party school that will indoctrinate young and old party members with the party’s founding ideology.
The party has been rocked by factionalism and tribalism claims in recent years, the school is seen as a remedial measure to prevent such acts which are said to be threatening unity within the Swapo Ranks.
Factionalism is particularly rife in the party’s youth league, where youth leaders are deeply divided.
In fact, the party was taken to court by four youth leaders who were suspended for allegedly disobeying party rules.
The growing incidences of rebellion within the party ranks has raised fears, with some claiming that the party’s disciplinary machinery is not well-oiled.
Last year Swapo officials visited China in May and September to prepare for the party school in Namibia.
The trips were primarily orchestrated so that the party can learn how the Communist party runs its Party School programmes and seek guidance as to who should qualify for enrolment, the methods of training through the party school and the levels of such trainings.
A Congress resolution of 2002 gave birth to the plan to start a Swapo Party school to teach members the history of their party and to conduct research.
In 2006 Swapo Party took the first major step towards establishing a party school modelled along the ones run by the Communist Party in China when it hosted a delegation of experts from the International Department of the Communist Party who participated in a three-day workshop together with members of the Central Committee of the Swapo Party.

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