THE appropriate knowledge and skills needed to ensure political relevance of the ruling SWAPO Party in the 21st century was the aim of the SWAPO Party School when it was established in 2016.
SWAPO Party President, Dr. Hage Geingob officiated at the graduation of the first students to complete their training at the facility and said the world people knew during the struggle for freedom has slowly faded away.
“It has been replaced by a new world, a new struggle, in which ideologies have shifted and morphed.”
The school was established to ensure that the party’s current and future cadres are equipped to face the challenges of modern domestic, regional and global politics and socio-economics.
“We must ensure that the knowledge and culture of SWAPO and the ethos of solidarity, freedom and justice, remain at the core of their decision-making process. It is encouraging to note that the SWAPO Party School is already producing results, as evident by the cadres who will be receiving their course certificates in Political Science.”
Dr. Geingob said the graduation took place at a time when former liberation movements are faced with numerous challenges and where people seek the downfall and are intensifying their efforts through various tactics to destabilize their rule.
Dr. Geingob’s full speech reads as follows:
I am pleased to be here amongst the SWAPO Party rank and file, to celebrate the inaugural graduation ceremony of the SWAPO Party School. It was just over three years ago, on May 23, 2016, that I had the honour to officiate at the inauguration of this School, where I said, “To ensure that our current and future cadres are equipped to face the challenges of modern domestic, regional and global politics and socio-economics, we must ensure that the knowledge and culture of SWAPO and the ethos of solidarity, freedom and justice, remain at the core of their decision-making process.” It is encouraging to note that the SWAPO Party School is already producing results, as evident by the cadres who will be receiving their course certificates in Political Science today. Congratulations!
SWAPO envisions this school as a gem of the political education landscape. In a rapidly changing world, our school should see to it that SWAPO Party cadres are capacitated by receiving the appropriate knowledge and skills needed to ensure political relevance in the 21st century. This graduation is taking place at a time when former liberation movements are faced with numerous challenges and where those who have sought to preempt our downfall are intensifying their efforts through various tactics of destabilization. Consequently, under this hostile atmosphere, it is important that we propagate our Party ideology in a coordinated and scholarly manner.
The late Comrade Julius Mwalimu Nyerere defined education as the development of one’s consciousness to think, decide and act; hence it should be aimed at improving people’s physical and mental freedom, in order to increase their control over themselves, their own lives, and the environment in which they live. Freedom and self-determination are two of the cardinal principles which have motivated the rank and file of SWAPO since the inception of our Party on April 19, 1960. That is why education has always been prioritized by SWAPO, as it is an enabler for people to liberate themselves, mentally and physically.
The rationale for SWAPO’s success can be attributed to the fact that, having attained independence, our party has infused the ideals that shaped our struggle, into our Governance architectures. Our SWAPO Party School must take ownership of the process of ensuring that the principles that guided the Party during the bitter struggle for independence remain at the forefront of Namibian political discourse, as we seek to achieve victory in the second phase of the struggle. To those cadres who are soon to become proud graduates of the SWAPO Party School, you are aware that we are currently faced with a myriad of challenges in the midst of a rapidly changing geo-political climate. The world many of us knew during the struggle has slowly faded away. It has been replaced by a new world, a new struggle, in which ideologies have shifted and morphed.
Today, the Soviet Union no longer exists and has been replaced by the Russian Federation, as well as several other independent states. The People’s Republic of China has undergone probably the most striking transformation of all our friendly countries, turning into an economic powerhouse which adheres to an ideology described by its leadership as “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. Even countries such as Vietnam and Cuba, although strictly true to their principles, have opened up to the world. All these changes and adaptations have been necessitated by changing priorities in a world where economic diplomacy has surpassed political diplomacy.
After 29 years of independence, our people want food, clothing and shelter. They want jobs, better housing and good nutrition. They expect that the SWAPO Party will bring prosperity to the nation in the same manner in which it delivered freedom and independence. In other words, if SWAPO is going to continue to survive and thrive, then we have to transition from being a party primed to face the challenges of Apartheid occupation, and equip ourselves to be a party primed to face the economic and social challenges of the 21st Century. In Namibia, SWAPO has maintained a high level of popularity, pre and post independence because we have infused the principle of flexibility within our structures. While people and circumstances may have changed over time, the DNA of SWAPO has remained unchanged. SWAPO has always been a people centered party and not a personality centered party. For this reason, SWAPO remains the most popular movement in Namibia and one of the most respected liberation movements on the continent.
Over a period of six decades, SWAPO has successfully overcome many challenges, but has always emerged stronger and more resilient. There have been several distinct phases, which frame the evolution of SWAPO since inception. What is significant is that despite attuning itself to withstand the impact of various exogenous shocks, SWAPO has remained true to its original character. Another cardinal point is that SWAPO has, over the period of six decades, entrenched a legacy of leadership. The SWAPO nature of evolution, continuity and unity is well captured in the maxim, “The Legacy Continues”. This notion of continuity also pertains to the identification, grooming and smooth, orderly succession of leadership. SWAPO has always prioritized the grooming of young cadres for future leadership roles and ensuring that its cadres receive the requisite education. We recall the pivotal role played by the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN), which contributed to producing some of Namibia’s finest leaders, many of who are present today and still very active within the Namibian political and business spheres. UNIN eventually became the University of Namibia, an institution of which we are very proud. I am confident that the SWAPO Party School has the potential to become an institution of similar influence and that through this inaugural graduation, we are witnessing an intensified level of grooming, which will produce robust and capable SWAPO Party leaders for the future.
The threats to SWAPO do not come from opposition parties but from economic realities as well as internal upheaval caused by the pursuit of personal interests. These factors leave many of our cadres open to exploitation by external enemies who do not have the interests of our people at heart. For this reason, we fall victim of being accused of having lost touch with people. The increasing lack of jobs, especially amongst our youths, coupled with persistent income disparities have placed us at greater risk.
In terms of dealing with socio economic challenges, the SWAPO Party and the SWAPO led Government has declared a full-scale war against poverty, inequality and corruption. We recognize that the only sustained growth will be shared and inclusive growth. Inclusive growth will translate into the creation of decent job opportunities for our citizens. If we are to survive in the 21st Century political landscape, we have to display the utmost resolve when it comes to addressing pertinent issues such as poverty, unemployment and land distribution.
As you prepare to follow your career paths, capacitated by your newfound knowledge from the SWAPO Party School, I urge you to continue to subscribe to the SWAPO ideology of social justice, equity and solidarity. We believe that development must be people centered since development that does not impact the lives of our people in a transformational manner, is meaningless.
The onus is on you to assume the responsibility of the second phase of the struggle with the same vigor and determination as we did during the first phase of the struggle. Let us draw
inspiration from the great icon of Pan-Africanism Kwame Nkrumah, who said, “It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world”.
SWAPO must continue to remain relevant and at the forefront of the political, economic and social evolution of Namibia by spearheading the drive towards finding our own solutions to our problems. It is only us, as African, as Namibians, as SWAPO Party cadres who can solve our problems.
To achieve this, SWAPO must prepare its students to be the leaders of the future. I am confident that the SWAPO Party School is on the way towards playing a primary role in
Namibia’s development and transformation. Congratulations once more to our first cohort of SWAPO Party School graduates. I wish you many successful and fruitful years ahead. You have made an investment in knowledge and today, you are earning your interest. Use it to improve your lives, your families’ lives and the lives of all Namibians.
SWAPO United, SWAPO Victorious, Now hard work.