…Ready to stand for vice presidency
By Confidente Reporter
FORMER Prime Minister Nahas Angula has called for support for President Hage Geingob saying Swapo’s ‘Johnnies-come-lately’ are dividing the ruling party for self-enrichment. In an exclusive interview with Confidente, Angula detailed how Swapo’s new kids on the block and tenderpreneurs have sold out the ideals of Swapo for self-aggrandisement. He also expressed eagerness to vie for Swapo vice presidency at the forthcoming congress should he be nominated to stand.
Confidente: There are reports that you have expressed interest in contesting for the Swapo vice presidency position. How far true is this?
N.A: I am a child of Swapo. When I joined Swapo I was 20 years old. And at 21, I went into exile. Growing up in Swapo I have assimilated the Swapo values; the values of justice, solidarity and freedom. These values, we were going to realise them through the struggle because after the decision of the world court in 1966, to dismiss the case taken there by Liberia and Ethiopia on behalf of Africa that South Africa had violated its mandate, therefore the world court was supposed to rule that South Africa had no right to continue abusing Namibian people through apartheid.
The international court dismissed the case saying that Liberia and Ethiopia didn’t have legal interests by raising that question instead of addressing it. It is that decision that triggered the armed liberation struggle. The armed liberation struggle fought for a platform to liberate Namibia, in order to create a classless society, (and) equality in Namibia. Those are the ideals I was brought up with which I assimilated as my political compass.
These (Swapo-Party) basic ideals are being abused by people who joined Swapo yesterday.
These basic ideals are being abused by people who joined Swapo yesterday. I am not saying that they are supposed to have joined Swapo at the time I did because they were not born. These ‘yesterday Swapos’ are more interested in self-enrichment, careers and jobs in Government; they are more interested in themselves and not to the ideals of Swapo of fighting for the good of everybody. This behaviour is dividing the nation because the focus among many of our people now, even some of us who were in the struggle, is in competition for resources. Now we don’t have enough resources but some people are so greedy that they want to grab everything. Those are not ideals of Swapo. Swapo fought for liberation. First to liberate the country from the colonial yoke and also to liberate people from hunger, poverty, inequality and disease. Those are the ideals which are now being abused by these new Swapos; some of them are tenderpreneurs, some are people using Swapo to access things like fishing quotas.
These ‘yesterday Swapos’ are more interested in self-enrichment, careers and jobs in Government; they are more interested in themselves and not to the ideals of Swapo of fighting for the good of everybody. This behaviour is dividing the nation because the focus among many of our people now, even some of us who were in the struggle, is in competition for resources.
The public good, interests of the broader public have taken a backseat at the order of selfish individuals. You cannot build society on that foundation. Therefore if given a chance to occupy any strategic position in the Swapo hierarchy, I will do so. As part of my commitment to the Namibian society. We want a society which shares whatever is there to be shared in terms of the national cake. We want a society which is caring to its fellow citizens even those in desperate situations. We want a society which is stable and cohesive. Those are the ideals which we still cherish. That is why we will not abandon our Swapo because we have a mission which is still not completely fulfilled. So if anybody nominates me to be vice president I will not say no or to any other strategic position simply because of this commitment.
Our country is being torn apart, because of a number of things. Number one, under the stress of the economic downturn, people are now resorting to their ethnic backgrounds for solidarity and this solidarity is supposed to enable them to compete for resources. We cannot build a country on that kind of platform.
People are now resorting to their ethnic backgrounds for solidarity and this solidarity is supposed to enable them to compete for resources. We cannot build a country on that kind of platform.
Then we have the problem of poverty, which is both absolute in terms of income and poverty which is relative because some people are getting richer and richer and others are remaining where they are and not getting anywhere. That is a prescription of instability. As they say, when there is a wave on the surface of the sea all the boats are supposed to rise, so we are supposed to hold each other’s hands with whatever meagre resources we have so that everybody rises. Swapo at independence had three priorities in Government. First priority was education and I spent 15 years in that sector creating educational institutions. Some people think those things just came about by themselves. They didn’t. We had to create them so that we give people opportunities. The second priority was health and the third was housing.
These priorities were meant to lift people up, to change the lives of people at grassroots level but now as much as we have done a l o t , the more you do good things the more you create demand. If you build good secondary schools, people finishing secondary schools will demand universities. If you build a university, those coming out of university will demand jobs. Which means that at every time you must respond to the evolving needs of the people. Now, under current circumstances of economic downturn obviously Government is under pressure from those in need of land or housing, and also from those who are greedy, the tenderpreneurs who want more. We have to help our President withstand these pressures by giving support, ideas and suggestions so if we are in Swapo leadership it’s of course our duty and responsibility to do.
Confidente: Do you still think you have the energy to run around as Swapo vice president if you are to be elected?
N.A: It’s about the ideas you bring to the table and not really age, age is just a number. But what is important is whether you have ideas to solve or address the problems. That is most important.
Confidente: What are the problems being experienced in the country you believe should be solved?
N.A: You see, if you look at young people; the defense ministry used to recruit 1 000 per year but are not going to recruit for the next three years. Police at the most 500 but now I see NYS is also affected. Now you have to ask yourself, what will happen to these young people? In order to decide what should be done, let us analyse the fundamental cause of the problem affecting Government liquidity. Problem number one are the receipts from SACU which funds close to 30 perc e n t of the Namibian budget but those receipts have shrunk and we have to find a way of replacing SACU revenue. I’m not in Government to tell you the way but one of the ways of course is to stimulate the national economy to produce, to mobilise people, resources and people and internal markets to absorb whatever you produce. The second problem is that of commodity prices. We are a commodity country, we export from uranium, diamonds, zinc, gold, fish, and beef but unfortunately we don’t determine the prices of those things because they are determined by the international market.
The global economy itself is also in a slump. Perhaps one has to pray that the price of commodities should improve. In the absence of that we will have a trade deficit, meaning that our receipts from our raw materials will be less than what we import. Perhaps we should think about banning some of the luxuries-imports to save our foreign currency. I heard one tenderpreneur declaring his excitement because he had bought a very expensive car in Europe. The money is gone but your car is still here on Namibian roads and can be bumped anytime. But the money is gone; the money was not used to bring in productive things but to bring in luxuries.
I heard one tenderpreneur declaring his excitement because he had bought a very expensive car in Europe. But the money is gone; the money was not used to bring in productive things but to bring in luxuries.
We must know we are still a developing country and whatever foreign reserves we have, we must use them for productive purposes. The third issue is what I call leakage. This leakage comes about because many of our companies are subsidiaries of foreign companies. There is what is called illicit money transfer. A study was done by the AU under the auspices of former South African President Thabo Mbeki which found that Africa is losing trillions of dollars because of this leakage. Sometimes companies under invoice; while exporting 10 ounces of gold they say they only exported six, the other four is not reported anywhere. Then you have lost as a country, there is a need to put up mechanisms to monitor production, export and prices of our raw materials so we don’t continue enriching the rich in other parts of the world.
The other problem is caused by our greedy people who allow foreigners to commit crimes. Imagine this alleged N$3 billion transferred from Namibia. One can understand that perhaps those doing clearance were paid but how do the banks allow this to happen without detecting it? The same thing is true with the hunting of our wildlife. Again it’s our people who are being used by foreigners to do damage to their own country because of greed. Enemy number one therefore is greed. We must fight the greed, and that can be done by ideologically solid and clear cadres.
Again it’s our people who are being used by foreigners to do damage to their own country because of greed. Enemy number one therefore is greed.
Let me tell you a bit about Swapo. Swapo started off as a workers organisation, then the youth joined, students joined and peasants joined. I know that some workers especially those in the leadership of unions have formed cohorts with those who own means of productions. But there are still those workers who have commitment to the progress of Africa and Namibia. We have to go back to them, mobilise them. We have to go back to the young people, mobilise them after all it’s go back to the villages and mobilise them just as we did during the liberatheir future. We have to tion struggle so that you have a strong support from the people. Now we have even dropped as I see Swapo today.
The message of mobilisation, we only go out there to say vote for who, vote for what and make these little promise here and there. You have to tell people the fundamental reality of the country that as long as the means of production are owned by foreigners there will always be leakages and we will be left with nothing. As long as there is this elite developing the greedy elites who want to accumulate everything – what I call primitive accumulation – who are engaged in this primitive accumulation sometimes through corruption, you are denying people access to those resources. So people must be mobilised to see the source of their poverty and its prevention. Some of us are prepared to do so, provided I have blessings of my colleagues in Swapo. So when you go to the Swapo congress take that into consideration and vote for the right cadre. People who have gone through the crucible of the liberation struggle not the careerists, the tenderpreneurs, you know these types of people who are using Swapo for their selfish ends. That’s where I stand.
Confidente: What are your views on other people’s call for an Owambo or Kwanyama/Ndonga president?
N.A: I don’t call it tribalism, I call it primordial sentiments. The sentiments based on the anthropology of people. These sentiments come about because people want solidarity. When they see that some people are taking too much, they will always go back to their anthropological backgrounds, to their umbilical cord if you like and try to use that as basis of organising solidarity to compete for resources. But if you build a fairer society, some of these things will take a backseat. Now the Kwanyama/Ndonga is the same thing. When the Kwanyamas were squeezed out of Angola and just settled on a strip of land stretching from Okalongo to the borders of Kavango, with their population so big they started to expand in other people’s areas, other people felt threatened. Again its competition for resources. That’s all it is. When Honourable Swartbooi talks about non-Namas settling in Nama areas, they feel threatened that some people are going to take over land and exacerbated their poverty. It’s a question of resources which is bringing up these things, it’s about survival.
But you really, truly and honestly create a society, it will never be perfect but to be seen or understood at least on policy level that you want people to share and care for each other, some of these things will be lessened. Some of these primordial sentiments or ethnical solidarity also requires mobilising people, to say that it does not help to fight for crumbs falling from tables of the rich. I see our people in the South saying that their land is being taken over by non-South people. How many farms there are owned by Boers and Germans?
I never heard anybody talking about that. Instead of saying let us unite and see how many farms are owned by absentee landlords in this area, let us nationalise and give land to the people their attention is diverted to trivial things like one person perhaps with the name Angula is settled somewhere. It is not taking us anywhere. The other people are happy now that we are fighting amongst ourselves – they are happy now. Of course I will not tolerate corruption. If I were in Government, I would have already put up a commission to hear evidence of corruption in land allocation especially in the resettlement programme because sometimes people believe their own perceptions without solid evidence but just by mere word of mouth. They believe themselves. So you have to be on your guard to give correct information to people.
I am quite sure people from the South will not care if three people are resettled there and seven of their people are resettled. But the perception which is created that the whole land is taken up by people outside that region is not helpful. In my view it needs to be investigated even if you send the Ombudsman there to hear evidence whether what people are saying is true. So that if it is true, you investigate further and say who is perpetuating this corruption and take action because it is dividing people
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015