By Staff Reporter
The same Swapo that has washed its hands clean of allegations of the degeneration and collapse from inside is now pulling all possible strings to make sure its old guns remain in positions of power while at the same time making amendments of convenience to disallow fresh blood to access the corridors of power.
The party which just emerged from its extraordinary congress over the weekend snubbed talks dealing with the ‘much talked but little practiced’ unity.
An impromptu proposal by youthful Oshikoto Regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu, was shot down within minutes setting the tone for a Congress where young hopefuls who wished to become part of the party leadership, was quickly enlightened as to the protocol of Tanganika.
“You need to have been with the party for a minimum of 20 years to contest for party presidency. For 10 of the 20 years, a member needs to have served as part of the Central committee and Politburo” party member and Deputy Minister of Public Enterprises Veiko Nekundi said.
Party members have aired their dissatisfaction for the longest time that the party was not allowing fresh blood to take up leadership positions.
“So, if you join the party at the age of 18 and serve in the CC by 28, it means you can contest for presidency at the age of 38” said Nekundi making an example of Sacky Shanghala (41) who joined the CC last year adding that he could contest for presidency in 2027.
“The logic behind this is to look at the member’s maturity in the party. You must have grown in the party to understand the top leadership and know how to manage the party and how to interact with sister parties.”
Nekundi could not shed more detail on the amendments regarding the minimum age of contesting for the party’s highest position, but what The Patriot knows is that there were no talks on the maximum age that stipulated when party members should vacate office.
In the absence of this discussion, the decision to lower the entry point still remains mere lip service as the young people allowed to enter the party structures, will not be able to succeed anyone as the party elders will still be in power.
Another development that sparked discussion dealt with the amendment that will allow it to get rid of members who associate themselves with movements who are critical of the ruling party and other organisations who are against the ethos of the party. This has been described as undemocratic and a potential threat to freedoms of association by some party members.
Nekundi maintained that the party is simply seeking for some sense of principle and order under its roof.
“It’s the same principles you apply at your house or company. You will not employ someone who is insulting your company everyday? Constructive criticism is enabled within the parameters of the party constitution and that is where members are supposed to table their furies,” said Nekundi adding that there are branch and sector meetings where this platform is accorded.
“If you are belittling the party, by virtue, you are telling people that Swapo is bad and thus de-campaigning the party. So why should one join Swapo if its own members are saying Swapo is bad? That is the logic behind this amendment,” he added.
“Every policy must respond to the evolution of time, both present and anticipatory. Swapo cannot be stagnant on the current perspective. We are responding to both the current and the future because we need to align ourselves. Go on Facebook and see how many derogatory utterances are made against the party and its leadership.
Are these party members and is it right to belong to a party that you are insulting? If you think the party must not respond to this, then you are not serious yourself.”
While denying that such amendments are aimed at Affirmative Repositioning (AR) sympathisers who are at the same time under the Swapo house, talks within the party are that this is damage control to get rid of Job Amupanda and other members who follow and support his banner.
AR member Dimbulukeni Nauyoma said he is well aware that such amendments are tailored for certain persons but it is not the AR in isolation. Nauyoma said Swapo have always been wary of criticism and as such made everyone an enemy.
“Since 2014 and before, they (Swapo) have always been opposed to [the] critical thinking that is enforcing the true ideology of Swapo. Take the party’s manifesto of 1989 and ask what has been achieved to date. So anybody who speaks to the core of the 1989 Swapo manifesto and the political program of Swapo is an enemy of the current leadership, because you speak and remind them of the true promises that Swapo has made to the people,” said Nauyoma.
Swapo in 2014 expelled the AR trio but its decision bit the party back as courts ruled otherwise.
“So what is the ultimate way of getting rid of someone you don’t like? You try and legitimise things that you don’t understand. But people must understand that this will be beyond AR. What happens when something about Swapo is said in a church group, an HIV group or an elderly women’s group, who will they come and get rid of ?”