…as bumpy road to Congress continues
The scramble for the Swapo Party continued last weekend, even though the show’s leading actors continued to operate in stealth mode.
This time around the party has taken aim over members who occupy dual positions in the party or in both the party and government.
The situation has been ongoing for years and the leadership is cognizant thereof despite the party Constitution stating clearly that when a member assumes full-time job in government or private sector, he or she must relinquish the fulltime job in the party.
According to the 26-page Politburo report presented to the party’s central committee last weekend, an internal audit found that a total of 130 party members are occupying dual positions in the party structures, in government and in the private sector contrary to the party Constitution.
“It has been noted that some party cadres on deployment to these structures continue to retain fulltime operational positions within the party, while at the same time they are expected to operate fulltime in positions they have been appointed, elected or deployed to. This has had a negative effect on the performance of the party cadres at those structures and also at the party structures to which they belong,” reads the report.
“The situation is known in the party, it is not a new thing so why is the Politburo only making it an issue now that it suits them? Is there something they are not telling us?” questioned a CC source.
The Patriot understands that several senior party members refuse to let go of their party positions as they fear losing popularity amongst their political constituencies, holding onto the positions gives them a lifeline when they lose their jobs as political appointees.
According to the report: “From the samples provided, a total of 130(56%) of party members are occupying dual positions in the Party structures, in government in the private sector.”
The report states that the strict enforcement of the provision may have unintended consequences.
“It may limit the individual member of the opportunity to progress through the structures to higher offices. It may deprive the party of competent cadres thus weakening its performance. The majority of those occupying dual positions have tertiary education and are this able to articulate the party position. The enforcement should thus be done with great circumspection.”
Politburo recommended that members who assumed higher fulltime positions(deputy minister, Governor) must relinquish the positions they are holding in the party structures at regional level.
It also wants those who occupy higher positions in the party to relinquish the lower party positions they occupy.
“There is a need for the development of a suitable organizational establishment of the party that would define conditions of services, recognition, grading and with clear contractual obligations to the party,” states the report which also called for a Human Capital Management Policy to regulate the employment of party members.
The party, which in the past castigated its youth members for their social media usage, says it wants to make more use of social media during its mass mobilization campaigns.
The Politburo recommended that the CC embrace the social media technique in order “to achieve greater impact for the benefit of the Party and country and not against the Party and its leadership or members against one another.” The recommendation was made just days before Information and Communication Minister Tjekero Tweya presented the Social Media-Use Policy and its implementation plan in the National Assembly. Tweya is not a member of the Politburo but forms part of the CC.
Swapo leaders were in recent years allergic to change as far as social media is concerned, the situation has brought a lot of friction between the young and old in the party.
More than half of the Politburo members are well-over the age of 65.
“The Party must embrace new mobilization methods that appeal to all segments of the society. Social media and the internet have made mas mobilization easier to organize and to disseminate ideas and all kinds of information. The importance of the internet has grown in politics and has played a significant role in many mass mobilization campaigns,” reads the report.
It continued: “During the last Presidential and National Assembly Elections Campaigns, social media was effectively used by the SPYL to mobilise especially the “born-free” electorates. This approach can be augmented with the segmentation approach to achieve great impact and at the same guarding against its misuse and abuse,” reads the report.
No presidential endorsement
Speaking to this publication over the weekend, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba said Geingob’s endorsement did not feature during the CC.
According to Mbumba, another CC meeting will be scheduled to discuss issues pertaining to the candidacy, nominations and selections for congress.
“This was an ordinary, annual, regular meeting of the Central Committee. Within two months or so, we will have a Central Committee [meeting] devoted to those issues (endorsements),” Mbumba categorically stated.
He added: “Nobody endorsed anybody. It was a normal meeting to make sure that the documents and recommendations of the party (Swapo) and assignments we got from the last congress are fulfilled.” Mbumba noted that Swapo wants to ensure that the candidate that the party endorses or selects for the party’s top position is well aware of the party’s programs.
He said: “When we go to the issue of who is the candidate for this or that, we have programs [in place] that whoever is elected will be able to carry those programs. We don’t want people to come in the office and think ‘what should I do?’ Do I want to be friends with the ANC (African National Congress) or do I want to be friends only to the MPLA (People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola).
We (candidates) have to know, these are the parameters in our (Swapo’s) dealings, and these are the things we want in terms of economic development and whether the leaders we are going to elect are able to carry out those programmes, these are the things that we discussed. No endorsement of anybody, no nomination of anybody, no selection of anybody.”
On the front of the much-talked-about Nama and Ovaherero 1904-1908 genocide reparations, the CC was briefed about the government’s role in the genocide talks. To this, the CC and government are of the view that a tripartite negotiations should take centre stage, whereby the Namibian government will act as a mediator between the German government and the affected communities (Nama and Ovaherero).
Mbumba said: “The government is ready to accommodate anyone who consider themselves to have a stake in the genocide negotiation (sic). But we have to have two sides only, you are either on the team of the Germans or on the negotiating Namibian team.”
Mbumba went on to say: “We can only have one special envoy. That is Dr Zed Ngavirue , whether you like him or don’t like him, whether you respect him or don’t respect him, he is the one empowered by the President of the republic of Namibia to lead the negotiating team.”
Mbumba’s remarks further dashes the hopes of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority who argue that negotiations around the Ovaherero and Nama 1904-1908 genocide reparations must not proceed without the direct involvement of the affected communities in such talks.
Earlier this year, President Geingob maintained that government’s position has always been and remains that government is the sole representative of the Namibian people.
“I said that’s not on (it is impossible to have a tripartite negotiation) because this government is elected by the Namibian people, it’s the Namibian government here and Germans there.
If any Namibian would come, they will come under government representation,” the President said at the time.
Economics under the spotlight
The CC noted concerns regarding the current economic situation which has seen the Namibian government unable to honour all its financial obligations.
As a result, the CC called on Namibians to adopt a culture of saving and living within the available means.
In addition, the CC encouraged government to hold onto more sustainable fiscal trajectory. More so, the CC noted with appreciation of the good rains that were received throughout the country.
According to Mbumba, mahangu and maize farmers who did not relent in tilling their land will expect surplus harvests.
As a result, the Swapo SG called on government to purchase the surplus produce from the farmers as “a means to encourage them to work harder and to feed the needy with locally produced food”.
The Patriot understand that several members last week questioned the veracity of the report, after it emerged that several members of the Politburo questioned and made contributions to the Politburo report presented to the CC last weekend.
There are innuendos that the report was drafted only the top four and not the entire 23-member body.
“Why is it that members of the Politburo are also part of those questioning the contents of the report which they supposedly drafted? If they were really privy to the details of the report then we do not expect them to be commenting on it, they should rather defend it and provide clarity to CC members where possible,” said a CC member who attended the meeting.
In the 26-page report, the Politburo reported on the drought situation,, floods, economic outlook, party mobilization efforts, second national policy conference, dual positions in Swapo and government structures, genocide negotiations, party school, Struggle kids, the court case between Swapo Party Youth League and some of its members.