Monday 12 April 2021
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Swapo needs new entente

Swapo Party’s new president will have to bring about an entente between factions after congress in order to forge unity for the benefit of the entire country.
Just as the 2012 fierce battle for vice presidency spurred a three party alliance among Dr. Hage Geingob, Jerry Ekandjo and Pendukeni Ivula-Ithana-albeit temporarily-a similar move is needed this time.
Presidential candidates Nahas Angula, Geingob and Ekandjo need to hold hands when congress ends on Sunday and march together foward in unison. However, if you have been paying close attention to the campaign trail, you will agree with me that the chances of the trio holding hands is next to nothing when considering the claims and insults they have made against each other. They all played the man and not the ball.
Geingob at one rally made it clear that he will not be able to work with Team Swapo members because they will sabotage him and that after congress there will be no more hugging because of how his political opponents campaigned against him.
Ekandjo was heard saying the current government is a failure. Effectively saying Geingob is failing to successfully run government.
Angula claims Swapo needs to be revitalised because it has moved away from serving the masses which includes the workers, peasants and other downtrodden Namibians.
The presidential candidates’ increasingly aggressive behavior during the campaign trail is creating strong impetus for disunity that could prevent the party from having a more powerful and strategic grip over the country. But the goal of reconciling after congress should become the centerpiece of these contestants’ mind-sets regardless of the outcome. The Swapo congress is taking place at a time when the country’s economic situation is practically in death mode. Both Team Harambee and Team Swapo have provided little direction as to how they plan to resuscitate the economy. The campaign messages have been overcrowded with petty insults and blame-shifting tactics. The economic situation in the country did not get the attention it deserves during the campaigns, but as shocking as this is, it is a true reflection of how Swapo is more interested in ensuring that party affairs are on point when compared to the country.
You look at the party business wing, Kalahari Holdings, a few years back it was reported that the company’s fortunes were turned around from loss-making to a profitable entity. This is proof that Swapo can indeed run and build a functional system. But why then is the Swapo-led government struggling to move out of the red-zone when it comes to government?
Is it because Swapo is more interested to be in power regardless of the state of the economy? Can we say the party is not making deliberate attempts to sweat for the country the way party members sweat for positions during Congress? Ultimately, is Swapo more important than the country? I leave that for the reader to decide. Another thing, the Swapo congresses over the years has given businessmen the platform to flaunt their riches in the form of donations and pledges to the party. I am pretty sure about 50% of the congress budget is footed by Swapo businessmen. This is a worrying trend, because when government begs for resources from the business community to assist the poor communities only a handful come to the fore, with peanuts when compared to the amounts they are willing to part ways with at congress.
In any case, securing a broader shift in Swapo’s unity policy and stabilizing the party’s power dynamics will require more than one person holding the line on any one issue. A Swapo that is willing to employ new working tools, fight for the rights of the downtrodden, and a leadership spurred by unity must work together to ensure growth at a national level. The ruling party’s contestations for positions should not only be of interest to party members, it should be a concern to all of us, at least until such a time when Swapo is not in charge of government.
By pursuing cooperation, Swapo’s leadership can shore up an inclusive, rules-based order that underpins peace, prosperity, stability, and freedom of navigation in the party which will eventually be transferred to government. Swapo has become a law unto itself in the Namibian contest, hence the only way to thwart the party from becoming a self-destructing hegemon of Namibian politics is to highlight its shortcomings, especially now that it is running government.Swapo’s internal affairs have a big impact on all Namibians regardless of their political affiliation.

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