There are fears that an Armas Amukwiyu triumph for the secretary general position at the upcoming Swapo Party congress may prove to be a pyrrhic victory for ‘Team Swapo’ in its bid to wrestle control from the party’s acting president, Dr. Hage Geingob.
Geingob took a massive gamble when he chose Sophia Shaningwa as his candidate for the secretary general position-especially when considering that she is competing with the much-liked Armas Amukwiyu-but talks coming from the ruling party are that an Amukwiyu victory will not be all too bad for Geingob.
Amukwiyu recently indicated that he has nothing personal against Geingob and that “I still love him[Geingob] as an uncle”.
Although he maintains that his differences with Geingob are not political, the animosity that exists between the two is not one born out of stark ideological differences. This has left some ‘Team Swapo’ members with fears that the duo-if they both get the respective positions they are vying for at Congress-could rekindle and join forces.
Like Geingob who is seen to be in the lead to land the party’s presidency position, Amukwiyu is also the hot favorite to bag the secretary general positions. Meaning Amukwiyu could be a member of Cabinet by the time the executive goes for the festive holiday.
A senior party member who spoke on condition of anonymity is of the view that ‘Team Swapo’ is better off with a candidate who differs ideologically with Geingob.
“People can always solve personal problems, after all, the party president and secretary general are in constant communication coordinating the affairs so these two will be forced to constantly communicate and meet in Cabinet. Therefore it will be easy for these two to kiss and make up. If Team Swapo had someone like a [Elijah] Ngurare as a candidate then their presence in the top four would be more secure, simply because Ngurare and Geingob’s differences stem from ideological aspects. It is not for us to judge who is better ideologically, but common sense dictates that it is more difficult to settle ideological differences than personal ones,” said the source.
The source further noted that “one can effectively say the Geingob has his bread buttered on both sides”.
Party insiders are of the view that Geingob and Amukwiyu could end up rekindling their lost love if they both emerge victorious at Congress in two weeks’ time.
The youthful politician recently indicated that his political raison d’être is one based on quality leadership, transparency and honesty.
The Oshikoto Regional Coordinator‚ who once defended Geingob at all costs‚ is hell-bent to prevent the man he once helped propel to power from taking over the party’s reigns.
During a recent interview with this newspaper, Amukwiyu said when he supported the candidature of Geingob in 2012 “I did not support an individual…the persona of Hage Geingob”.
He added: “I supported him because I had an expectation for him to deliver. To deliver the leadership that I thought he would. Leadership that has no favour. Leadership that is based transparency, honesty. Based on those principals. But, I have not seen it. According to what is happening, I am not satisfied. I cannot associate myself with a leader who promotes factionalism. For him[Geingob] to say this is my slate, this is the group of people that I want to work. A Swapo leader? A senior member and a President of the Republic of Namibia and he is saying he is only prepared to work with some and not the others from the same party, unfortunately I cannot support that type of leadership.”
Amukwiyu however maintains that there is nothing personal between himself and Geingob.
“I did not support him wanting to get anything or to benefit anything from his leadership or from his presidency. He[Geingob] offered me many things including leadership positions in his government. I am saying, he offered me many things that would have benefited me personally including positions in his Cabinet. And I told him thank you comrade President. I am not going to take it. So those things of me being sour are not true. The same Armas of 2012 is the same Armas of today. It’s only that now, I was requested by my comrades to stand and I am going to stand for the secretary general’s position and if elected I am going to do the best that I can.”
According to Amukwiyu when pressed on his links with Geingob: “I am man enough and I don’t want to talk about issues of relationships between two men. But there is nothing personal, at least from my side.There is nothing personal. I see him as a comrade. I still love him as my uncle. I respect him as my leader. But I differed with him on issues of principles. Especially on the principles of the party that have been disrespected at all levels. I don’t buy into factions. I cannot be part of a faction.”