By Nkrumah Mushelenga
AFTER reading an article in The Namibian dated 10 May and titled, ‘Battles rage for power’, I formed an opinion that the said article is inflammatory, inciting and judgemental by design.
It is a fact that succession has not been, and will not be, an issue in Swapo, because the party has dignified succession institutional memories, dating from the 1960s, to date.
The existing strategic approach is designed to safeguard and consolidate the hard-won democracy, unity of purpose, principles of democracy, solidarity, freedom, and indeed social justice, as a prerequisite for social economic development.
Why inflammatory, inciting and judgemental? It is because the narrative is based on suspicions, rather than factual information. The author refers to six meetings held at State House, with what he referred to as “influential and hand-picked political and trade union leaders”.
He also mentions that “rivals have been holding secret meetings, where plans to disrupt what appeared a cakewalk for Geingob not too long ago, are being hatched”.
He also believes that the choice of a candidate for presidential succession in the Swapo Party depends on an individual member of the party, and hence, specific reference is made to Oshikoto Regional Coordinator, Comrade Armas Amukwiyu.
It is on record that the SWAPO Party turned 57 years old this year, and this is an indication of political, diplomatic and armed liberation maturity. By affirmation, this simply means that there is no presidential leadership deficit in Swapo.
In the article, political commentator and Director of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood, said, “… the president still has considerable political power and enjoys Cabinet’s support.”
He referred to a disgruntled, unorganised faction within the party, adding that the disaffection appears to be based on personal issues, and discriminations. He then informed the less conversant, that the main battle at the upcoming congress will be for the party vice-presidency and secretary-general positions.
In another development, Comrade Asser Ntinda, in an article titled, ‘Geingob, Mbumba and the Swapo Constitution’, said, “… with Swapo’s elective congress slated for November 2017, Geingob is sure his seat is not entirely out of the danger zone.”
He added that when former President Hifikepunye Pohamba “resigned” as president of Swapo in April 2015, Geingob was “appointed” by the central committee, as acting president, until this year’s congress.
According to him, as both acting and vice-president of Swapo, Geingob chaired the Swapo Politburo meeting, which expelled the four youth leaders.
The constitutional issues are: The former president’s April 2015 resignation as Swapo Party president, the appointment, in an acting capacity of Dr Hage Geingob, the fact that he was already overwhelmingly elected on 28 November 2014 as the third president of Namibia and was elected as Swapo vice-president as far back as 11 November 2007.
Where do we go from here? Firstly, Article II of the Swapo Constitution defines the Swapo Party as a, “… mass-based political party, born and steeled in the crucible of a popular and heroic struggle for national independence. It is founded on the principles of democracy, solidarity, freedom, social justice and progress”.
Secondly, Swapo is aware that there are a few opinionated members of the party, who because of their hidebound opinion, believe that Comrade Dr Hage G. Geingob is not the current Swapo Party president.
Thirdly, the mandate to expel any member of the party is provided for in Article VII (10) of the party constitution.
Fourthly, Geingob’s mandate as the president of the party, in terms of politburo responsibility, is covered under Article VII (4).
Meanwhile, Nangolo Mbumba’s party constitutional responsibility, as the secretary-general, is covered under Article IX (c) (1), (2), and (3) of the party constitution.
The point is that the Swapo Party is not a mountain. Swapo is the people. It is up to Swapo cadres how we relate or identify ourselves with the party. Neither Geingob, nor Mbumba has a mandate to influence political decisions, alone. The decision to expel is a collective, politburo 21-member final, shared resolution.
With regards to the November 2017 elective congress, the central committee has no mandate to appoint a president in an acting capacity. Because the president’s delegable constitutional provision is covered under the vice-president, Article IX (b) (1), (2) and (3), respectively.
Truth must be told; Dr Hage Geingob is the third president of the republic, the third president of the Swapo Party and the third chairperson of the Swapo Politburo.
Like his predecessors, he derives his political mandate, as the Head of State and government, from articles 27 and 32, respectively. The president’s term of office is provided for under Article 29(3) of the Constitution of Namibia. As the President of Swapo Party, like his predecessors, he derives his constitutional mandate from Article IX of the Swapo Party Constitution, in his capacity as the leader and the chief executive officer of the party, and indeed, the chairperson of the central committee, the politburo and the party congress. Once he serves his two-term presidency, then in line with the current Swapo Party proceedings, he or she remains the SWAPO Party president for seven years.
Zooming into party binoculars, the Swapo Party encyclopaedia reminds party cadres that Dr Sam Shafiishuna Nujoma is the iconic founding president of the party and of the Republic of Namibia.
He is the Father of the Namibian Nation, the custodian of a legacy of selflessness, the founder of the policy of national reconciliation, the first Swapo president, who defied the colonial administration’s prohibitive laws not to return to the country, the first commander-in-chief of the then People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN), the first commander-in-chief of the Namibian Defence Force, the first president of the republic and the ruling party, who democratically transferred power to his successor.
Meanwhile, Dr Hifikepunye Pohamba’s political, diplomatic and armed liberation struggle legacy, decorated him with the title of being one of those who volunteered to come back to Namibia with Dr Nujoma.
He is the first Swapo Secretary for Finance, the third Swapo Party SG, the first Minister of Home Affairs, a former Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, a Minister without Portfolio, the second president of the republic, the second commander-in-chief of the Namibian Defence Force, the founder of the Anti-Corruption Commission, the first Swapo president to retire from his position before the end of his seven-year term, and indeed, the first patron of the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA).
History has it that Dr Hage G. Geingob is the third and sitting president of the Republic of Namibia, the Head of State and of government and the commander-in-chief of the Namibian Defence Force.
He is a Swapo Party freedom fighter in his own right. He is a man who not only dedicated his youth to the course of the liberation struggle, but also academically and diplomatically contributed to the transformation and growth of the SWAPO Party.
The following are some of his political, diplomatic, academic and armed liberation struggle legacies: He was the first Swapo diplomatic representative in New York and the Director of the United Nations Institute for Namibia and was the SWAPO national leader to raise the Swapo Flag in 1990 at the Windhoek International Airport. He was also the head of the Swapo team that drafted the constitution, as well as the Founding Prime Minister of the Republic of Namibia, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, a two-time Prime Minister and the first president to declare his assets, including those of his spouse. He is the first president to salute the electorate, through countrywide community consultative meetings. He is the first president to provide durable social economic capacity development for children of the liberation struggle. He is the first president to establish a Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare and was the president who met with Affirmative Repositioning youth leaders, to discuss a durable solution for the land issue. He is also the founder of the Harambee Prosperity Plan for Namibia.
It is a fact that the core fundamental principal of democracy is regular elections, where citizens can express their opinions, within the accountability limit.
The reality is that there is no presidential leadership deficit in the Swapo Party. Our party has a predetermined leadership. The value of this is yielded within the SWAPO Party leadership institutional memory, and indeed, the party election manifesto.
History is the best judge, whose verdict cannot be ignored!
May God bless Namibia, the Land of the Brave!
*Nkrumah Mushelenga is a former Commissioner for Refugees and NNLVA National Coordinator
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015