Although his name continues to feature prominently as one of the possible candidates to run for the ruling party’s top position at next year’s Congress, former prime minister Nahas Angula says he has no plans to break the party’s tradition of allowing its serving presidents to fulfill the permitted number of terms.
During the interview conducted at his residence in the posh Klein Windhoek suburb, the former prime minister said he has no problems serving the party but was quick to point out that “politics is not everything”.
Having served in Government for 25 years, Angula dismissed claims that he is part of the country’s group of long-serving politicians who preferred to cling onto power.
“Well, for me it was a duty to my country not a choice. Everything is not about politics but it also does not mean politics is irrelevant,” he said.
Angula, who served in various Government ministerial portfolios such as education, defence as well as prime minister, said he has no interest in vying for top position come Swapo Congress next year but will accept nomination if pointed the finger.
The fever in the Swapo Party is rising by the day, as the party heads to congress next year and the stalwart says he is not interested to stand for office unless nominated by the people.
“I am currently a member of the Central Committee and I am involved in decision making. I am a Swapo cadre and I do contribute to the party. But politics is not everything. You do not need to be in politics to do your civic duties. I am not saying politics is not important. It is, because people who make decisions are politicians. 2017 Congress is not in my hands. It is Swapo who elects people for positions. If I am re-elected, I will be there. I will not refuse to represent the public. If I’m not elected, I will continue being a citizen.”
Angula also talked about the ongoing friction between young and old party cadres.
“Unlike in our time when we were youth in Swapo, the first thing we were taught was collective hood before the individual. The slogan was ‘everything for the struggle, all for victory’. Unfortunately, after independence, people want to become rich and people want to be seen to be different from others. The serious problem is the scramble for resources. That is what is dividing people and not politics.”
The stalwart advised the youth involved in politics to see beyond the political circumference. “You should not only focus on politics and think that it is the only thing on earth. Some young people think so and I understand some do it because of unemployment. It is easy to be elected as councillor somewhere. You just need a colourful Swapo attire, make a good slogan and sing up high and you are elected.”
He accepted that the ruling party is going through a difficult period but insisted that better days are lying ahead for the party.
Angula was particularly irked by the scramble of resources among party cadres, blaming the scramble for the continuous bickering among members.
“After independence people wanted to be rich and to be seen as being different from others, something they want to achieve at all costs. You find that some business people even call themselves honourable, which is quite laughable,” he said.
Angula added: “The scramble for resources has really divided us [Swapo].”
Asked about his view on the country’s struggling economy, Angula said: “I must say the economy is a headache for us all and we must put our heads together to find ways to improve the situation instead of focusing on politics all the time…it [politics] must wait.”
He underscored the need for government to diversify its revenue sources and not only depend on selling commodities.
“I saw during the 2008 crisis how Namdeb would mine diamonds and stockpile them because there were no buyers. That showed that there was need to seek alternative ways to generate revenue for our country,” he said.
“The economy of a country is similar to that of a household, and if it is not managed properly it could cause severe losses both at personal and national levels.”
He added: “We can see the global economy is not healthy, and this is evident when you look at the oil prices. It is time that we domesticate our resources and stop being overly-dependent on external forces.”
Angula also expressed concern over the reliance on multinationals for services.
“Relying on big multinationals for services is not a good strategy because we are exporting our currency, we need to find a way to mix the two,” he suggested.
Regarding claims that Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth(TIPEEG) and Mass Housing programmes implanted in 2011 and 2013, respectively, played a major role in the country’s poor economic performance, Angula had a different view.
“Mass housing was not mischievous, the problem arose because we did not have enough time to design it in such a manner that would ensure that our people get quality and affordable houses,” he said.
As for TIPEEG, Angula said he had his reservations about the stimulus plan but his views were thrown out of the window.
During his time in Government, Angula was one of the few leaders who openly called for the children of the liberation struggle to be assisted, adding that by the time he left Government in 2015 “I thought the matter was resolved”.
“We allocated resources to solve the problem and many of the group members were employed by the Government, so it really surprised me to see that the matter is still ongoing,” he said.
Angula advised Government not to negotiate with the struggle kids in a group but to rather target the group leaders and dialogue with them.
“They need individual counselling and platforms to raise their concerns in a civil environment. But I must say that many of those who were recruited in the past and left their jobs spoiled the prospects for the others to get a job,” he said.
Angula also alleged that there is a sinister political agenda at play blocking Government from finding a lasting solution to the problem, which has so far resulted in the damage of public property and even loss of life.
“There are some politicians who do not want to see others prospering because they want all the credit to go their way, this is done despite the fact that we are all from one party and serving the same people,” he charged.
Angula also warned against naming empowerment frameworks along racial lines “such as black empowerment”.
“This in itself is reverse racism and it must be guarded against. It is a pity that when I came up with Transformational Economic and Social Empowerment Framework some of my colleagues did not agree with the name, they wanted the word black to feature somewhere. My argument was that poverty has no colour and therefore I did not want to racialise the framework,” he said.