Monday 12 April 2021
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Swapo must introspect and fix itself

Members of the ruling party fight for nothing else but power and proximity to state resources. Its really no longer about “serving the people”.
Swapo is the governing party and currently when it sneezes, everybody catches the cold.
As the government, when Swapo goes through a harrowing experience, we are bound to be traumatised as well because at the time of crisis it is unable to concentrate on governing but instead it tries to solve its internal problems.
A classic case is the fracas in Okahandja this week. The swearing-in ceremony of the top leadership of the town council could not take place because of fights within the party.
I say this because for the past 14 years, the country’s biggest party has been going through a period of factionalism and infighting that had precipitated wide divisions.
While patronage had been there before 1990, it worsened during the notorious 2004 to 2017 period where the party came and went into congresses divided.
During this period, nepotism and jobs-for-pals reached the highest level while state machinery had ground to a halt because people were too fixated on politics instead of governance.
But instead of establishing proper dispute resolution mechanisms to deal with infighting and factionalism, leaders at the top tend to ignore the situation until it became a crisis. For instance, Swapo, instead of attending to grievances of disgruntled delegates at the 2017 Congress, the party ignored the situation and ended up being dragged to court.
With the party’s extraordinary congress slated for this weekend, it is worth noting that in recent Swapo conferences, the governing party has been blunt about the challenges it is facing.
The party articulates them well. The solutions are also well spelt out. From its past few congresses, the party has highlighted corruption as an ill that is ravaging it and society.
However, among its proposed solutions to deal with corruption and those who bring the name of the party into disrepute was the establishment of an anti-graft body which has done little to curb graft.
Swapo risks being seen as a party that is not serious about tackling corruption and it is insensitive to the sentiments of the society it serves.
When push comes to shove, Swapo comrades normally close ranks and choose to protect its own against the rest of us. It’s the phase after the enemy has been defeated that has crippled the party, because during this phase comrades begin to turn on each other in the battle for ultimate supremacy.
Swapo is undoubtedly at war with itself and it needs to self-correct soonest to save itself from a premature death. The opposition parties are of course observing the developments in the ruling party closely and will look closely to pin holes in the campaign of Swapo next year.
The crisis in Swapo does not bode well for the country in general because of the widespread repercussions it has.
And as much as Swapo tries to parade a united front amongst members, it does not take a blind man to see that unity is mere rhetoric in Swapo.
As Swapo holds its congress this weekend, delegates should remember that this[infighting] situation could go on for some time but the country is drifting, rudderless. The party ought to turn its full attention to breathing life into the country’s dying economy instead of wasting energy of personality and factional fights.

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