Sunday 20 June 2021
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‘Leaders perpetuating tribalism’

Swapo’s leader in the Karas Region Mathew Mumbala has accused “some” party leaders of instigating tribalism amongst community members and using the land impasse to stir negative emotions.
Mumbala called on party leaders to discipline dissidents who feel they know better than the party when it comes to tackling the land issue-a situation which has since led to the birth of two land movements spearheaded by Swapo loyalists.
The Affirmative Repositioning movement and the Landless People’s Movement[LPM] were both formed by young Swapo members who seemingly became fed-up with the “slow pace” at which the Swapo-led government is addressing the land question.
AR leaders were expelled from the party for their land activism activities in 2015 and the same fate is said to be awaiting LPM “golden boy” Clinton Swartbooi when Swapo’s Politburo meets.
Sources close to the Politburo circles said Swartbooi’s suspension and withdrawal from parliament is not far especially after confronting Lands minister in the National Assembly this week and calling him an “idiot” in full view of everyone.
Analysts claim the incident at Keetmanshoop last weekend is a reflection of what is happening elsewhere in the country.
“The year did not start well, if you look at what happened last weekend you will agree with me that it should not be condoned and people should not take the law into their own hands. We are all Namibians and we must all hold hands, it was just a misunderstanding, it had nothing to do with tribalism,” said Mumbala.
Many of Swartbooi’s critics feels the confrontation at Ileni Settlement was a result of the advocacy meeting held in Keetmanshoop earlier this month where the former deputy minister addressed a huge crowd.
“If you are in the leadership and you mess up in politics please do not mislead the ordinary people. You were treated and operated as an individual so just go alone,” said Mumbala in what is seen as an indirect swipe at Swartbooi whom he calls a “good friend”.
Mumbala also refuted claims that Swapo is struggling to effectively address the land issue and allayed fears of political instability in the region.
“The political situation is calm and stable. What happened at Ileni is not political and nor is it tibal. If you go there now you will see that the people are living in peace even after the fighting.”
“Tribalism is in the leadership, they[leaders] create chaos not the ordinary people. Leaders must not organize meetings to confuse our people,” he said.
Mumbala wants party members who address the land matter outside the realm of Swapo to be disciplined accordingly.
Regarding the meeting organized by LMP, Mumbala said: “No one from the region did that[addressed the meeting], these are national leaders and I do not control them. All we can do is to report them and we did that already. If you are a Member of Parliament and Central Committee you do not fall under the control of the region anymore.”
Mumbala suspects that both AR and LPM want to start political parties, despite claiming to have interests only in land matters.
“I do not know if it is really about the land, but if they want to create a party they must come out straight instead of coming up with funny things. I read books and follow history, around the 1970s some of the senior leaders in the struggle started similar movements and left their comrades in the struggle to form Swapo-D and other like-minded organisations,” he said.
Congress of Democrats and Rally for Democracy and Progress also came under similar disguises.
“Such movements never form a party with straight ideologies, always have excuses. That is why we fear all these things because they are trying to take our people by misleading them,” he said.
Mumbala said the party has platforms at which issues can be raised freely by disgruntled members.
Mumbala said he is also perplexed by Swartbooi’s sudden change of heart when it comes to land matters.
“When he was here as Governor he never spoke about ancestral land, he only spoke of inclusivity and land for all. I really do not understand where this is coming,” said a confused Mumbala.
Mumbala also feels Namibians are not patient enough to wait for government to address land issues.
“Rome was not built in a day and we are not magicians are Jesus to make things happen in a day. Even countries that have been independent for more than 100 years are struggling with similar things like ours,” he said.
Although he still considers Swartbooi as “my friend”, he differs with the approach adopted by the former deputy minister.
“He is not my enemy and we still have a good relationship but I cannot understand where these things are coming from. Our leaders must remember that once you become a national leader, you must forget about your region and focus on the nation,” he said.

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