By Nkrumah Mushelenga
WHAT is the role of the Swapo Party Disciplinary Committee? And why is it silent on congress proceedings so far, related to accusations of tribal sentiments and allegations of corrupt practices? What if the martyrs of the liberation struggle arise?
Swapo is 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.
The party’s disciplinary committee’s mandate is to, among others, to administer the Swapo Party Code of Conduct and disciplinary procedures.
To what extend is the committee and its functions known by party members and party cadres? How many disciplinary cases have so far been arbitrated by the disciplinary committee members? And if not yet, why not?
The Swapo Party Constitution refers to the congress as “the Supreme organ of the party”, consisting of all members of the Central Committee, ten delegates from each of executive committee voted by the regional conferences, whom five shall be women; four delegates elected from each district executive committee by the district conferences of whom two shall be women; Sixteen delegates from the Swapo Party Youth League and Swapo Party Elders’ Council, who have been duly elected by their respective congresses, of whom eight shall be women; and with the exception of an extraordinary congress, thirty specially invited personalities, of whom fifteen (15) shall be women, who must have made outstanding contributions to the work and development of Swapo Party, but are non-office-bearing members of the party.
The party rules and procedures for the election of party officer-bearers and party representative, at legislative and government levels, are prescriptively clear. The party disciplinary committee derives its monitoring and evaluation mandate from Part III of the Rules and Procedures. Hence, there is no reason for allowing the re-occurrences of elections proceeding with related indiscipline practices.
Hogwood and Gunn refer to a policy to mean, among others, a “decision of government, formal authorisation, a programme, an output or a process”.
Dr Hal K. Colebatch in his book titled, Policy, refers to coherence, hierarchy, instrumentality and the attributes classified, expertise, order; and authority, as the basic characteristics of a policy.
What is democracy? Some schools of thought define democracy as a system of government with four main elements:
A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fear elections;
The active participation of citizens in politics and civic life;
The protection of human rights of all citizens; and
The rule of law, in which the law and procedures apply to all citizens.
Governance is the process of “exercising power through decision-making”. The wellbeing of citizens depends on the choices made by those granted with the power to govern.
So what are some of the noble characteristics of good governance?
Remember that what may be good to you, my not be good to others. However, thanks to coherent policy and for the sake of unity of purpose, peace and stability, and in the interest of those whose blood, toil, tears and sweat waters our freedom, we are required to behave in a dignified, inclusive and cultured manner. Leaders come and go, but the party, the people and government remains. Hence, the characteristics of good governance emphasises accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency, responsiveness, and indeed, participation.
We are indeed disturbed to see some exclusive behaviour by some individual party cadres, who no longer take guidance from the party constitution, rules and procedures for elections.
Some party structures e.g. sections, branches, districts and regional offices are being turned into family, friends and in-law promotion grounds. Hence, when legitimate grievances are presented to the party structures, nobody bothers to listen or verify the records.
Many party cadres’ political security in the party is no longer secured. We are living under the shadow of fear, because the party oversight instrument is silent, and silence in law, means consent. In fact, some structures are created overnight, just to serve the interests of a certain group, thus contravening Article IV sub-article (b) (c) (d) (e), respectively. As a remedial technique to these unconstitutional and non-inclusive activities, the party should introduce compulsorily attendance registers at all party structures (sections, branches, districts and regional offices).
The attendance registers should be used by the Central Committee and Politburo as a means of verification, as to whether cadres have been attending party meetings. There should also be compulsory regional quarterly reports.
We believe in one Namibia, one Nation, an ideal for which we sacrificed our youth, and for which many shed their blood, tears and sweat, to water our freedom.
We are indeed for the policy of inclusivity, as it is opposite to individualistic approaches, when it comes to party national issues.
His Excellency the President of the Republic and of the Swapo Party, Comrade Dr Hage Geingob, has in many occasions warned the political and traditional leadership of this country about the danger of tribalism and the consequences thereof.
Similar sentiments have been repeatedly expressed by the Ombudsman, to such an extent that the Office of the Ombudsman is currently conducting research on how we can together find an inclusive, durable solution to tribalism.
We commend the Politburos decision to appoint cadres that hold an encyclopaedic knowledge of the party, to legitimately solve the dispute among the Swapo Party Youth League.
In the same vein, we commend, the honourable ministers of finance, higher education, public enterprises, urban and rural development, health, national planning and the right honourable prime minister, for having carried out the necessary research, to make sure that the transformation processes introduced in their respective ministries, are based upon sound public policy principles.
We wish to also extend our gratitude to the party leadership, for introducing the Swapo Party School, of which Comrade Marco Hausiku is the Rector. While the party school’s main goal is to moulding party members into a pool of critical thinkers, and is also informed by the Vision 2030 end result of an industrialised Namibia, there is an urgent need to diversify the party memberships’ human resources, to include quality service delivery.
We propose the amendment of Article IV, by introducing compulsory 25-30 year continuous membership, and Article IX (d) (h) (k) (l), by inserting a compulsory requirement for the positions of Deputy Secretary-General, Secretary-General, Secretary for Information and Publicity, Secretary for Economic Affairs and Secretary for Legal Affairs to be fulltime positions.
Currently some comrades occupy more than two positions in both government and the party structures, at high cost. Some have been permanent secretaries or parastatal board members since the first government. The reality is that one cannot effectively and efficiently serve two masters at the same time. We are talking about quality service delivery at party level.
In line with Article IV, and as a confidence building mechanism, we are suggesting to the party to amendment Arti
cle VIII, to include the deployment of the willing qualified party cadres, who are on retirement but eager to do voluntary work, to the best of their ability, to improve quality service delivery in the party.
An amendment to Articles (XVI) (XV) (XIV) is also suggested.
Informed by the 5 pillars of the Harambee Prosperity Plan Pillars, namely (1) Effective Governance, (2) Economic Advancement, (3) Social Progression, (4) Infrastructure Development and (5) International Relations and Cooperation, we are of the opinion that the time has come to amend the above articles.
The question is: How much are sections, branches, districts and regional leadership aware of a national officer’s noble tasks?
Currently sections, branches, districts and regional structures have limited knowledge, if any, about national officer-bearer’s tasks. We recommend a party workshop to be attended by information and treasurer officers countrywide, to share experiences.
Internal: pull factors
Specific, individual political-related reward promises;
Ignorance of the volume and technical expertise involved;
Driven by power, authority and wealth;
Individual human security in terms of satisfaction of his or her basic needs; and Tribalism and greediness.
External: pull factors
Political positions and financially-based promises;
Power, authority and wealth perspective; and
Survival and dignity of individual members.
With the above pull factors, we are gradually compromising party electoral rules and procedures. Hence, there is a need for party disciplinary committee involvement.
What went wrong? The first mistake was the commercialisation of the party, at the expense of voluntarism. The second was instead of becoming loyal members to the party constitution, some members became members loyal to other party members. The third mistake was that instead of becoming the vanguard of the Swapo Party revolutionary culture and the culture of discipline and loyalty to the party, the leadership choose to cluster veterans into groupings.
Hence, veterans of the liberation struggle are currently divided or classified into the most and least important groupings. The fourth mistake was the introduction of 60 years old as the retirement age without considering the socio-economic circumstances of those who could not enjoy their constitutional right to work for 45 years, due to the political liberation struggle legacy. Fellow compatriots where going to experience financial difficulties outside employment. The fifth mistake was for government to authorise the payment of accrued holiday leave days, which were accumulated during the colonial administration. Veterans of the liberation struggle and their dependents have not benefited from our holiday pay accumulated during the struggle for national independence.
We wish to commend our government for increasing the number of National Assembly seats from 72 to 104, inclusive of 48 females and 56 males, as well as the pension grant for all old people.
We also commend the sustainable training of the children of the liberation struggle for Namibia, the 2014 party, 50/50 gender-based policy and parliamentary youth empowerment. Please see below the breakdown of age groups, as represented in the 6th National Assembly by age:
31- 40 (11 MPs)
41- 45 (3 MPs)
46- 50 (18 MPs)
51- 60 (48 MPs)
61- 70 (MPs)
Over 70 (2) MPs)
Informed by the inclusive Swapo Party presidential ethical succession legacy, and in the interest of peace and unity of purpose and prosperity for all, the Namibia National Liberation Veterans Association (NNLVA) adds its voice to that of Swapo Party Youth League, in support of Comrade Dr. Hage Geingob as the sole Swapo Party presidential candidate for the upcoming Swapo Party Congress. Remember our loyalty should be to the party constitution and not to individual members.
Viva Swapo Party! 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