… on AR, Swapo dictatorship, his feud with Mbumba, politicians’ kids, activism
SOCIAL rights activist and academic Job Amupanda in an interview with Confidente’s Patience Nyangove says the Affirmative Repositioning movement dragged Swapo to court to make it clear to the Tanganyika group that there is no super member in the ruling party. He questions the alleged selective morality by the party’s leadership but he was quick to declares that he won’t stand for any positions in Swapo-Party. He dismisses accusations that he has been anti-President Hage Geingob led government due to tribal reasons. He admits that he is not poor and his land struggles are not about him but for the poor. Amupanda adds that he is not poor saying he has a bank approval for a housing loan of N$2.5 million. The youth activist also denied owning a plot in his personal name
PN: Why did you fight Swapo in court to be re-admitted as members if you still do not agree with how the Swapo leadership conducts the affairs of the party?
JA: WHEN you read the constitution of Swapo it has no super members (and) does not say just because you were in Tanganyika you are a super member and you can do as you want. Maybe those that are saying people must leave (Swapo) are the ones that must leave themselves. The Republic of Namibia was founded upon the principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law particularly democracy and the rule of law. The constitution of Namibia is the supreme law of the land, all other constitutions must be in conformity with it. You can’t say that we are in a situation where the constitution of the country gives you rights and a political party is allowed to take away those rights from you. I think the question of people who are saying we must leave (Swapo) why don’t they leave (Swapo) themselves?
It’s not that we could benefit anything materially (by remaining in Swapo). If I am to speak for myself I don’t benefit anything.
So it’s not that there is anything else that is fine in Swapo and this whole notion about (it) being cold (outside Swapo). We went to court because we wanted to stand up against dictatorship. The point is if we did not stop these guys they were going to continue and tomorrow they will decide whom we must marry and sleep with. They will end up telling us to put on Swapo underwear and regulate everything we do. So we had to stand up against that. If we had not stood up against that we were going to be in serious trouble.
So that is the context against which we went to court to say that we can’t just allow people to do what they want because they believe that somehow they are super members and we don’t believe that there is such a thing as a super member in Swapo.
PN: Do you feel welcome back in Swapo?
JA: There is an unnecessary focus on me. It is as if I am a Swapo car that needs monitoring. It is kind of annoying when they want to get involved in my life when thousands of members are going on with their lives and no one bothers them. But I guess it comes with the territory.
There are old, rich and powerful people after me, probably my head. I don’t know how to interpret it.
PN: Are you going to contest for any position in Swapo?
JA: I am comfortable being an activist but I think the positionality of Swapo must be contextualised. This past weekend I was in Eveline Street and a Swapo member stabbed a person with a knife. Swapo members are raping every time but the institutions of the
state are arranged in such a way that there is a police to deal with those cases. Vincent Likoro got convicted for rape, nobody said anything about it.
Corruption, Kora awards we hear that in the Kora awards Katrina (Hanse- Himarwa) was involved and Pohamba Shifeta was involved too. Those are members of the Politburo and central c o m m i t t e e nobody says anything. It is S w a p o members that are involved in the disappearance of public money. I have never given even five cents of public money to a criminal from Ivory Coast or wherever that man is from but Swapo is not concerned about that. Exile kids block the road people go to work late nobody is concerned about that. There is price inflation, Swapo members who inflated the prices in terms of mass housing, did Swapo do anything to them? That’s why I am trying to
contextualise that you see the issues that are made to look like Swapo issues are not really Swapo issues so we need to demystify. People are questioning why we are demonstrating against a Swapo led government yet people in the Omaheke region are demonstrating against a Swapo Governor, its hypocrisy of extra-ordinary proportions. People do not want to operate within the rules even their own rules, even their own Swapo rules and constitution. Why is there so much focus on what Job, George, Dimbulukeni and others are doing when there are constant scandals everywhere and every time?
Nangolo Mbumba inflated the price of that Xaris tender. They are taken to court and Swapo doesn’t do anything about it. Nangolo Mbumba insults people at the stadium and members because of his insults they threw away their cards. There was no meeting called. What type of hypocrisy is this? This is not even about the rules anymore, it’s about a determined position of saying you hate this person because he is inspiring the youth to stand up. He is waking people up and because he is waking people up it’s a problem. The biggest crime I admit I committed is to wake people up and if I am to be sentenced because I woke people
up its ok because the real issue here is that it’s becoming more difficult for them because they used to run Swapo and government smoothly since they had a zombified youth and members and we are waking them up to understand what the constitution of Swapo says. We are even educating them. We went to court to educate them about their own constitution and it was necessary to present those arguments. They had a conference of lawyers they spend a lot of money to defend wrong things.
It’s not really about respect of elders if it was about respect of elders, we have elders at single quarters, we have elders suffering of poverty, elders in informal settlements, we are respecting those elders that’s why we are standing for them. That’s why when we see mothers and fathers and those elders who are living with their children and those children see them having sex, those are the elders we respect and stand up for them. How can I respect a crook? How can I respect a corrupt individual and the respect of elders in this country has been taken to mean respect of politicians.
Elders in this country are apparently only politicians. Even a person like Sacky Shanghala will regard himself as an elder because they say that the word elder now is synonymous with politicians. When they say respect elders they are not talking about people in rural areas or informal settlements, in fact if you are poor and extremely poor your opinion doesn’t even matter. Elders are those people who came to the stadium that day and were
kids when we are running up and down putting up posters, organising tables and cleaning rooms where they come to address us. ordering pizza. We don’t see their
There was a youth in one of the regions who was putting up a poster on a pole and he fell. He had a problem with his spinal cord and they never did anything. They never paid for his hospital bills and they just kept quiet. Those things pain me, that’s why I stood up and said if you are talking about the youth, you also have the youth in your houses. Those politicians are saying we don’t have manners we know their children for sure, those children are drug addicts, alcoholics and gold diggers. Some of them are even convicted criminals, I have never been to jail but apparently I don’t have any manners. Their children who are in jail for armed robbery are more disciplined than me who is asking where are your children? We started bringing a whole new logic of asking two things-the order of things and the meaning of things as well as asking fundamental questions and part of the problem is they are unable to engage us in terms of the questions we ask them and the type of answers that we want.
So you ask a fundamental question like since independence we have only transferred less than 5 million hectares although we had a target of 15 million hectares of land and the land reform policy has failed completely and they don’t like that. We are only asking those fundamental questions and they always tell you investors and we say no, what investors if we are suffering. The crime that we have committed is asking honest questions and waking people up and that is what they don’t want because once you wake people up it becomes very difficult to enslave them because it’s us who must run up and down and put up posters for them to win while their children are just there relaxing and enjoying their holidays.
PN: Any plans in the future to form a political party?
JA: We don’t have any plans on dividing the youth because what is happening now is that there are youth from opposition parties, youth from Swapo, youth who are not political at all, youth from the church and youth from different places and those youth are telling us that never ever has there been a movement that inspired them. Why should I risk dividing the youth by engaging in those types of things? So we have no immediate plans to engage in things like that because we think that divisive strategy will definitely not assist us. So we are going to remain a radical movement advocating for change and fighting against corruption, fighting against all sort of ills, particularly the fight for economic freedom and social justice. We see ourselves as the remaining movement advocating for what we believe is correct so we just want to assist people to start thinking differently because there seems to be a belief that you can only bring fundamental change in a country through political parties. I think we have done more as AR in the past two years of our existence than what all political parties combined could do in terms of bringing out the issues affecting our people.
PN: Where are we now on government and AR concession on plots for the landless?
JA: The pilot phases are still continuing, of course there are differences. We have differences now and then but I think meme Shaningwa is sincere. I know there can be difficult circumstances but I still think she is sincere about the type of work that needs to be done. The pilot phase in Windhoek is moving very slowly just generally at the City of Windhoek there is no one who wants to take bold leadership, there is no CEO.
Those 200 000 plots are not mine or AR’s – this land issue is all up to the leaders to solve before the land issue solves itself. There have been land occupations since the 1884 Berlin Conference. Our leaders seem more interested in playing games because they say they called us to State House and spoke to us nicely. People have an impression that it was President Geingob who made the decision to call us for dialogue. We established contact with him so the land issue could be addressed.
If we were irrational we would not have done that. I am a bit disappointed that politicians think this is about games, who is smarter than who? Who outsmarts the other and who pretends to be concerned?
After 24 July I was optimistic of course, I know we were going to answer our own questions by just simply occupying land, it was going to be the easiest but we thought we could be responsible enough, by entering into dialogue with these leaders.
Everyone was happy even internationally we had resolved our issues amicably but now we hear all sorts of stories, it’s like we are destabilising the country, you are against a Damara president. When people say a Damara government what do they mean by a Damara government? What is the percentage of Damaras in government? What is the percentage of Damaras in Cabinet? How can there be such a story as a Damara Cabinet?
Although we will always not agree with Hage he has some sort of nationalist sentiments in him and personally I have never looked at him as a Damara because of his own convictions but I am starting to believe that it seems where tribalism plays in his favour he embraces it. I am starting to believe he also believes in the so-called conspiracies. Once we start saying Damara government tomorrow we will start saying it’s a Herero government. Countries are developed by people as a whole; they are not developed by Presidents. You can have the most brilliant President but if people are not doing their part he won’t be successful.
It’s also sad that the level of debate in the country continues to degenerate – why do you fear your own children? These people think problems are going to come from AR and Job .Tribalism in Zambezi and Omaheke is very serious. Tribalism in the country is very serious. We actually have hard-core tribalists even in Cabinet but the President is not concerned about those things. A whole President, Commander in Chief of the armed forces, Head of State, his Excellency Sir, just dedicating time talking to old people fabricating stories .We are the only country in the whole world with a President that counts buses, we saw the President saying there were only four mini buses. We were shocked but nobody said this struggle was going to be easy and somebody must always take the first steps, somebody must sacrifice.
PN: How many plots do you own?
JA: I don’t have any plot to my name. In fact in Henties Bay we accepted the (plots) offers. We were told the matter was going to go to the Minister and that is the last we heard about it (the offer). You see a majority of these people are mistaken. I am not poor; I can afford anything that I want in this country. In fact the bank gave me a pre-approval of N$2.5 million. I can buy a property of N$2.5 million and you see this is what people don’t understand this is not about me, but I understand what they are doing because they think if they hit the first line of defence they are attacking and vilifying me and that will be the death of AR.
There is no property registered to my name. This is the mistake people make, I worked hard, I went to school and I studied. I have three degrees to my name and I am busy with the fourth one so I worked hard for my family; my family is proud of me. When I used to go home we used to study using candles but when I was in South Africa I worked very hard and saved about N$20 000 I came home and we put electricity at home so every time when we go home my young kids are not going through the same things I went through. Everything we have, we worked very hard for it.
This is what they need to understand I am not poor, I work hard. My namesake left me some of his kids, some of whom are still living in informal settlements and I need to house them. I have a lot of family members in Henties Bay some of them are domestic workers, working for white people so I intend to build in Henties Bay so that they can also have a place to call home instead of living in shacks in the cold weather of Henties Bay. I can get whatever I want in fact I could even buy properties wherever I want and this is what people don’t understand that this has got nothing to do with me. I can get what I want, when I want and how I want because I can afford it.
The thing with Ondangwa is one of the most scandalous things you can find because even in terms of the Local Authority Act it says you don’t just go to the newspapers and advertise the name of a person because I don’t know that plot, where is it situated? Why is it valued at that amount? Nobody has communicated anything to me. I have no offer in writing but it suits them because they think by attacking me they have hit the first line. That list has 151 names including town council employees and wives of politicians I was completely shocked. I am still pursuing that matter because there are a lot of inconsistences and contradictions they can’t provide me evidence of the offer letter and evidence of me accepting the offer, just those simple things, let them produce it, they can’t but it suits them to vilify me.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015