THE revered Namibian and international icon, founder of Swapo and Father of the Namibian Nation, Dr. Sam Nujoma, in a watershed moment, wants the party to change course and go back to the basics as servants of the people.
“Instead, the party (Swapo) is now painfully at a crossroads and the moral glue that has held us together is sadly waning in front of our eyes.
Swapo seems to have lost the youth which is the backbone of any party and this has serious implications for SWAPO’S political growth and dominance. If this trend continues we might end up losing some of our strongholds as happened in Walvis Bay and narrowly in Ondangwa. Let us correct it before it is too late,” Dr. Nujoma said.
The Founding Father said he does not want to hear of Team Swapo and Team Harambee anymore. He also wants a re-organized Swapo Think-Tank with veterans of the armed and political struggle to guide the youth and party. Nujoma said Swapo must come up with one presidential candidate in the next elections to avoid confusion and factionalism.
Heroes and constitutional writers that were singled out by Dr Nujoma, like Pendukeni Ithana, Genl. Ho-Chi Min (Charles) Namoloh, and former Prime Minister Nahas Angula were not amongst the invitees, although much time was spent reading and referring to a recent Angula opinion peace with Dr. Geingob also referring to it in his opening remarks.
The conference will later this afternoon announce its decisions and Informanté Facebook will attempt to broadcast it live on the biggest Namibian Namibian media platform with more than 763 000 followers at 16h00.
Dr. Nujoma’s watershed speech that will become the subject of scholarly studies follows verbatim:
‘I am pleased to have been invited to the SWAPO Party’s Introspection (Post-mortem) meeting on the Presidential and National Assembly Elections of 2019.
I understand the word introspection to mean, to look inside oneself. Therefore, I hope for the purpose of this meeting, introspection is a process of self-examination and self-analysing in order to take corrective measures going forward. This, I hope, is what brings us here today.
This gathering could therefore not have come at a very crucial and timely moment to fully interrogate the current situation in the SWAPO Party with the view to map the way forward in order to make the Party more dynamic, united and stronger.
Allow me therefore to take this opportunity to wish our mighty SWAPO Party successful deliberations and a very resounding introspection meeting.
Our mighty SWAPO Party played a decisive role in bringing about an end to apartheid, colonialism and all forms of discrimination and economic exploitation, leading to the attainment of our freedom and genuine Independence on the 21st of March 1990.
The role played by PLAN in bringing about Namibia’s independence would always be at the centre of that history as it led the armed struggle with an unsurpassed sense of majestic purpose.
From the beginning, SWAPO has worked at every level and used tactics which were consistent with advancing its ultimate goals of national liberation and with the twin principles of national unity and self-reliance in the struggle.
The movement adopted a three-pronged strategy that has been formed in the very thick of the struggle and has been tailored to meet the specific conditions applying to Namibia.
Since 1966, SWAPO has been committed to an armed liberation struggle as the main form of its drive for national liberation and the only effective way to bring the white minority South African regime to the negotiation table or face military defeat.
SWAPO has also campaigned on two fronts of mobilization of our people to join the genuine cause for freedom and independence as well as mobilize the international community to support our cause, isolate and impose sanctions on the apartheid regime.
Inspired by the heroic deeds of our forbearers, we followed in their footsteps in order to restore the honour and dignity of our motherland. I therefore pay tribute to Kaptein Hendrik Witbooi, Kaptein Jacob Marenga, Chief Kahimemuah Nguvauva, Chief Samuel Maharero, Chief Nehale lya Mpingana, Chief Mandume ya Ndemufayo, Chief Iipumbu ya Tshilongo, Hompa Nyangana Wa Mukuve, Hompa Kandjimi Hawanga, among others, who fought the wars of resistance against German, Portuguese and British colonialism.
These brave heroes and heroines’ mantle was taken over by those who petitioned the United Nations such as Chief Katjikururume, Hosea Kutako, Chief Samuel Witbooi, Reverend Theofelus Hamtumbangela, Mburumba Kerina and Andimba Herman Toivo ya Toivo, to mention but a few.
These were later followed by our martyrs who took the first steps in a long and protracted armed liberation struggle under the banner of SWAPO with people such as the late Comrades Brendan Simbwaye, Anna Kakurukaze Mungunda, Moses //Garoeb, Putuse Apollus, David Meroro, Kaxumba Kandola, Reverend Hendrik Witbooi, Nathanael Maxuilili, Daniel Tjongarero, Anton Lubowski, Peter Mweshihange, Mzee Simon Kaukungwa, Thomas Shivute and many others.
In our midst, we still have the living legends and Veterans of our liberation Struggle such as Comrades Hifikepunye Pohamba, Hage Gotfried Geingob, Vinia Ndadi, Ben Amathila, Libertine Amathila, Peter Katjavivi, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, Kanana Hishoono, Nahas Angula, Jerry Ekandjo, Marco Hausiku, Nangolo Mbumba, Helmut Angula, Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, Asser Kapere, Alpheus !Naruseb, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, Reverend Kammeta and many other heroes and heroines of our liberation struggle.
As a flurry of diplomatic offensives around the world continued in the late 1970s and 1980s, plan to intensify its military campaigns against the apartheid military forces in Namibia, inflicting heavy casualties on the enemy, resulting in the historic battle of Cuito Cuanavale in 1987/8, by the combined Angolan FAPLA forces and the Cuban Internationalist troops together with the PLAN Combatants, which was a turning point in the final push for Namibia’s independence.
In this regard, SWAPO heavily mobilized and put the best military resources and weaponry at the disposal of the People’s Liberation of Namibia, PLAN, SWAPO’s Military Wing, under the able leadership of senior PLAN Commanders and Commissars such as the late Comraders Tobias Hainyeko, Peter Nanyemba, Dimo Hamaambo, Wanahepo Ndadi, Richard Kabajani Kapelwa, John Otto Nankudhu, Helao Shityuwete, Greenwell Matongo, Phillemon Malima, Helao Nafidi, Salomon Hauala, Jonas Haiduwa, Patrick Israel iyambo lungada, Kanaan Uno Shaanika, Ananias Angula Mzee, Isaack Shikongo Pondo, Charles Namoloh, Martin Shali, Mathias Ndakolonghoshi Mbulunganga, Elise Haulondjamba, Hamunyela wa Shalali, Hamutenya Nandenga Zulu, wilbard Tashiya Nakada Shikolo, Ehrensfeld Jaomba, Aron Embashu Shoongambele, Lufumile Mwanawina, Danger Ashipala, Hanganee Katjipuka, Lucas Hangula “Fogu”, Darius Shikongo “Mbolondondo”, Niilo Taapopi “Kambwa kaShilongo”, Augustus Nghaamwa (McNamara), Jonas Ndeimana, Ismael Kamati ka Shimuna (Ngilingili), Kanisius Andreas, and many others who formed part of the backbone and fighting capabilities of PLAN, SWAPO’s Military Wing.
Indeed, SWAPO Party’s glorious history is packed with extraordinary political triumphs, military exploits, unsurpassed diplomatic shrewdness and life-taking decisions against one of Africa’s heavily armed military forces of the white minority regime of South Africa supported by international imperialists.
The armed struggle lasted for 23 years and it took 10 solid years for Resolution 435 to be implemented and finally we arrived triumphantly in Windhoek, Namibia in 1989, soaked in blood and sweat.
This is the rich and glorious history that we must safeguard and pass on to succeeding generations. We cannot afford to have such glorious history to be tainted by greed as this will drive the people away from SWAPO.
Indeed, the Party is now painfully at a crossroads. The dynamics and moral glues that have held us together are sadly waning away before our eyes.
If the outcome of last year’s Presidential and National Assembly elections are any anything to go by, for the first time the Party lost its two-thirds majority and 14 seats during the November 2019 elections.
Similarly, the Party seems to have lost the youth which is the backbone of any growing political party and this has serious implications for SWAPO’s political growth and dominance. If this trend continues, we might end up losing some of the strongholds of SWAPO as it happened in Walvis Bay and when we narrowly won in Ondangwa.
We must never use SWAPO for self-enrichment or as a springboard for positions as doing so is a betrayal of all those whose blood waters our freedom.
It cannot be business as usual as if nothing wrong happened. Perhaps we should look at other sister parties in the region and see how they are doing as far as the requirements for leadership positions are concerned?
Let us ask ourselves soul-searching questions and self-correct before it is too late. In doing so, the critical question we should ask ourselves should be: are we upholding the original ethos, values and principles of the SWAPO Party or have we deviated and are busy creating our own values based on factional politics?
We must seriously address this issue head on in this meeting to save SWAPO Party.
Together, we owe it to posterity to ensure that the SWAPO we bequeath to succeeding generations tomorrow is far better and stronger than it is today. History will judge us harshly if we become accomplices in seeing SWAPO going down to its knees in our lifetime.
SWAPO Party Constitution should always reign supreme over personal ambitions. It is only through unity, tolerance, mutual respect, collective leadership, fairness and the upholding of our constitution that we can move forward and continue to rule this country as well as keep the peace and stability in Namibia.
The Constitution of SWAPO Party adopted by the First Congress in an Independent Namibia, December 6 – 12, 1991 sums up some clauses which I want to paraphrase as hereunder.
• SWAPO PARTY is a mass based political PARTY born and steeled in the crucible of a popular and heroic struggle for national independence, founded on the principles of democracy, solidarity, freedom, social justice and progress.
• It further provides that a member of SWAPO PARTY has rights and obligations including to demand the fulfilment of what is established in the Constitution, as well as the implementation of resolutions, decisions, directives and agreements of the Party;
• To promote and exercise criticism without fear and self-criticism with a view to overcoming any defects, errors or deviations in the PARTY.
• Above all, every SWAPO Party member must be SINCERE and HONEST.
As we begin our deliberations, it is therefore important to take into consideration these above-mentioned constitutional provisions. How did we get here, why did we get here if the Constitution has been clear in its guidance of us?
How do we get out of here and assure the Namibian people that SWAPO Party is back to basics as the servant of the people and the guarantor and conveyer belt of society’s aspirations, goals, dreams and hopes for a better life?
As a Party that is progressive in its approach and political philosophy, SWAPO Party must therefore refuse to be drawn into tribal and factional politics as tribalism, factionalism, regionalism, individualism; ethnicity; and other reactionary and retrogressive tendencies and vices are the real enemies of our people.
SWAPO Party must unite the people of Namibia, irrespective of race, religion, sex, or ethnic origin into a democratic, vibrant and peace-loving nation as well as foster a sense of common purpose and collective destiny among the Namibian people.
The strength of our Party has always been built on the strong foundation of unity of purpose and action. I therefore urge all Comrades to this introspection meeting to deliberate openly and ensure the implementation of the SWAPO Party Political Programmes and manifesto.
Indeed, a party manifesto is a social contract between the political party and the voters as it contains the party’s promises to the electorate if elected into power. For this reason, the party’s manifestos must be fully approved and endorsed by the party’s Central Committee (CC).
After having lost our 2/3 majority and 14 seats in the November 2019 elections, we must bounce back and win over the hearts and minds of our people. The beginning in this regard is the upcoming Regional Councils and Local Authorities Elections slated for November 2020.
We can only win if we field qualified and competent candidates not because they are Team Harambee or Team SWAPO but because they are qualified, credible and competent in the eyes of SWAPO Party and in the eyes of the electorate.
Let us not divide ourselves into factions, but let us unite as one SWAPO!
I therefore do not want to hear anymore of Team Harambee and Team SWAPO. There is only one SWAPO of Namibia!
I was keenly following the process of renewal of mandate and the campaigns of the SWAPO Party’s teams that participated in the 2017 Congress and I am fully aware that the Politburo and the Central Committee nominated these candidates.
In my opinion, the two campaign teams demonstrated our inner-party democracy as provided for in the SWAPO Party Constitution. However, I noticed there were some short comings characterised by accusations and counter accusations of each other as well as name calling which is unheard of in the SWAPO Party as if these are not Comrades.
For the sake of the unity of the party, I therefore propose the following Points of Action for consideration;
1. Come the 2022 Congress of the SWAPO Party, we must only have one tried and tested SWAPO Party Presidential candidate in order to avoid factionalism which divides our membership.
2. A restructured and reorganised SWAPO Party Think Tank that must include tried and tested Party cadres such as the Veterans of our liberation Struggle, including
Former Commanders and combatants of PLAN and former political prisoners and others with Institutional memory of the party should spearhead the process of regaining the trust and confidence of the Namibian people who are members of SWAPO;
We must therefore maintain a vibrant internal democracy in the SWAPO Party and support the principle of collective leadership and decisively address our weaknesses. This meeting must affirm an urgent need for renewal, which at its centre is about building the SWAPO party’s resilience, enhancing its capacity and ability to adapt to changing situations so that it can continue to serve our people.
For this reason, every leader of SWAPO Party MUST be exemplary and in solidarity with the plight of all Namibians as we weather the economic storm exacerbated by the COVID-19 Pandemic. At this juncture, I must commend the SWAPO Party’s Government on how the country handled the COVID 19 Pandemic. I hope our government will do all what is necessary and possible to contain the spread of the virus and avoid further losses of lives.
I also applaud President Hage Geingob on how he implored the Party’s members of Parliament to address the burning issues in the National Assembly and present a united front by repelling any attack on the collective character and image of the entire SWAPO Party instead of resorting to personality clashes.
Indeed, this introspection meeting is taking place in a contested political, social and economic environment characterised by, among other things, the battle of ideas in our society taking place in various platforms, including the media. Therefore, as a Party, we must remain vigilant and proactive and not just react to provocations by the opposition.
In conclusion, as we emerge from this introspection meeting, I urge all of us to hold hands and march forward in unity to ensure a better future for all our people. As I always say, a people united, striving to achieve common good for all the members of the society, will always emerge victorious!’