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Sunday 21 April 2019
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Swapo’s road ahead with Geingob at the helm

Political analysts see nothing wrong with a Swapo Party Central Committee and Politburo that is perceived to be pro-Hage Geingob, provided that the party president promotes debate and tolerate divergent views.
The debate on whether or not a ‘pro-President’ Hage Geingob Swapo Central Committee (CC) and Politburo is good for the ruling has reached its apex: with some arguing that the ruling party will now work in unison to for its common good and take Namibia to greater heights.
There are those who argue that a ‘pro-Geingob’ Swapo Politburo and to a large degree the Swapo CC could harm the Party as it may create room for impunity as no one, at least the majority of members can stand up to the President and debate critically or oppose his ideas.
It is strongly believed that the majority of members in Swapo’s highest decision making bodies are Geingob devotees, who are prepared to sing and dance to every tune he plays.
It is clear that Geingob now has full control of the party.
Geingob, a seasoned diplomat in his own right has in recent times been accused of being autocratic, “a dictator” and egocentric.
According to Geingob’s critics, he hates opposing views to that of his and that everyone who opposes him is viewed as an “antagonist or anti-Geingob”.
At congress, a host of leaders who in the past have challenged Geingob on critical issues such the state of the Namibia economy; the violation of Swapo party constitution and the implementation of the party’s manifesto did not make the cut in the two leading organs of Swapo Party.
These include the likes of firebrand and former cabinet minister Kazenambo Kazenambo, former premier Nahas Angula; immigration minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana; sport minister Jerry Ekandjo and former Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Elijah Ngurare.
On the contrary, however, the current Swapo top four, which is composed of Geingob (president), international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah (vice president), Sophia Shaningwa (secretary general) and Marco Hausiku are of Geingob’s choosing. These are Swapo leaders whom Geingob thought he could work with and thus included them in his “slate” and campaigned vigorously for them.
The three are Geingob proponents with no past history of ever disagreeing with him and are well aware that they are in those positions at the prerogative of the President.
Other members of the Politburo include education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, a chief Geingob campaigner and national council chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams who according to those in Swapo is a die-hard Geingob faithful. Himarwa is credited with Geingob’s overwhelming victory at the just concluded Swapo congress. She is also alleged to have called secret meetings at a Windhoek Sports Club for a select few Geingob insiders who scored prominently at the congress.
Current SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo and National Youth Council chairperson Mandela Kapere are all known to support the President on any given day, come hell or high water.
This situation prompted The Patriot to engage local political experts to gauge their perspectives on the current make up of Swapo’s top leadership and the repercussions it might have on the ruling party and Namibia as a whole.
Political analyst Dr. Hoze Riruako said there was nothing wrong with having a Swapo leadership that supports Geingob.
According to Riruako, having a Swapo CC and Politburo that supports Geingob will smoothen decision making and policy implementation.
“I don’t see any problem or drawback in it because it is good that the spirits of those that form part of the leadership is in agreement with that of the leader. Because when it comes to the adoption of policy decisions, you will not have a situation whereby you[Geingob] have made decisions and just for those decisions to be blocked by your own party members,” Riruako remarked briefly.
“Remember, this is a dicey story. Those in the central committee are not members of an opposition party. When Geingob goes to Parliament, he is going with no other agenda but that of the Swapo Party. He is not going to drive a personal agenda. Any agenda that he should be and will be driving is the Swapo agenda,” Riruako reasoned.
Adding substance to his argument, he said: “So you can’t turn around now say that it is putting the party in a difficult position because Hage’s people are dominating the party. This is an ill-conceived notion because it is not an opposition party vs Swapo.
“But had it been the other way round, a situation where the other group[Team Swapo] had won – this means if Hage won as party leader but the other group dominates CC and politburo – the atmosphere which transpired during congress, which saw party members at every given opportunity trying to destroy and insult each other… this would have given birth to a situation whereby everything that is brought to the table by the President, whether it’s the Harambee Prosperity Plan, they would have made sure that any effort by the government under the leadership of Hage is frustrated and does not succeed.”
Agreeing with Riruako yesterday was political commentator, Uazuva Kaumbi who said if one is head of the party, “it also requires you to have the majority of your supporters or sympathisers in the decision-making” echelons of such a party.
Kaumbi was quick to point out that despite the status quo, he expects that the decisions taken by the ‘pro-Geingob’ dominated Swapo CC or politburo are in the best interest of the country.
“If he[Geingob] has an agenda that is anti-progress or that is not taking Namibia forward, it will become very evident. The media is there and people will start talking and they will be seeing that this thing is not working,” said Kaumbi.
“There are both negatives and positives. Let’s just hope that the positives outweigh the negatives. I hope that he will encourage debate within the party and within government. I think the insecurity that he had of power, I think it has now been proven that he has the power. And now that he has all the power to do the things he wants to do, I hope he shall be accommodating and allow open debates within the party and in government. At the end of the day, it is in his best interest to do that” Kaumbi stressed.
Responding to questions this week, political expert and director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood who said he was not surprised that the two Swapo decision-making bodies were pro-Geingob.
“Both the CC and Politburo were elected through democratic processes and since the President’s team won convincingly at Congress. Thus it is not surprising that both bodies are dominated by supporters of the President[Geingob],” said Hopwood.
On the consequences of a Swapo leadership that is “too pro-Geingob”, Hopwood said it was premature to say at this stage.
“I think it’s too early to say they are just the President’s yes-men or yes-women.
If they want to govern the party effectively they will need to debate internal matters and policy issues in a critical manner. Time will tell whether they are able to live up to that task but it is in Swapo’s own interest that these bodies are able to interrogate and disagree with the positions of the party’s leading figures, including the President,” he said.
Like Kaumbi, Hopwood hopes that President Geingob will encourage critical and open debates within the party.




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