By Herold Stanley Binda and Romanus Shampapi Shiremo
THE SWAPO Party under the leadership of Founding Father Dr Sam Nujoma has a glorious struggle history, fighting for independence.
In fact, due its single-mindedness and concerted efforts to achieve Namibia’s independence by all means, by the early 1970s, Swapo achieved international recognition as the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people.
Largely, this recognition enhanced Swapo’s image and status in the eyes of the world and also within occupied Namibia itself.
We must therefore not forget so fast that at the three fronts – the diplomatic, military and political fronts – stood dedicated and visionary sons and daughters of the Namibian soil, to whom the ‘born-frees’ and the future generations will forever remain indebted.
For the purpose of this article, we single out the current president of Swapo Party and of the republic, Dr Hage, as one of those many visionary leaders who brought independence and freedom to our country, Namibia.
In the late 1950s, following the independence of the Gold Coast, presently known as Ghana, Namibians took their struggle for independence to another level, by establishing political formations which would be used as ‘vehicles’ to deliver them from apartheid-colonialism. These were the times when the Ovamboland People’s Congress (OPC) – 1957, the South West African National Union (SWANU) – 1958, the Ovamboland People’s Organisation (OPO) -1959 and Swapo – 1960 were formed. The OPC quickly evolved into the OPO and then again in 1960 into Swapo. SWANU remained so until today, despite so many splinter groups and defections along the way of its history.
At the time of its formation, the OPC, under the leadership of Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, was mainly for Owambo contract workers and some students, who were mainly non-Oshiwambo, and who worked and studied in Cape Town at the time. The Ovamboland People’s Organisation, under the leadership of Sam Nujoma, was for all intents and purposes for Owambo and Kavango contract workers. By then, the colonial law categorised Kavangos as Owambos. SWANU, under the leadership of Advocate Fanuel Kozonguizi was perceived as a movement for Otjiherero speakers.
Whereas it was easier for Oshiwambo and Rukavango speakers to join OPO and for Otjiherero speakers to join SWANU, given the history of divide and rule that the South African minority white government perpetuated and the perceived tribal nature of the two said organisations, it became awkward for those who were neither Oshiwambo-Rukavango nor Otjiherero speakers to join the two said groups.
The nation must therefore be informed that it was for this reason, that President Dr Hage Geingob and other non-Oshiwambo speakers did join OPO at the time, even though his early political activities are associated with it in the town of Tsumeb, where he was a teacher.
However, when Dr Sam Nujoma together with his collaborators, notably Professor Mburumba Kerina agreed, while in exile, to change OPO to an inclusive and unifying Swapo, and communicated this proposal to the OPO leadership in Namibia, who approved the name change and the new political programme, President Hage Geingob was one of the first non- Oshiwambo-Rukavango speakers to join Swapo.
It is on record that President Hage Geingob joined Swapo in 1961, but this was as far as the membership card was concerned, as his political activities sympathetic to OPO could be traced before the formation of Swapo itself. It must also be known that together with other sons and daughters of Namibia and as non-Oshiwambo- Rukavango speakers, such as Professor Peter Katjavivi, Dr Libertina Amathila, Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, Dr Theo-Ben Gurirab, the late Dr Mose Tjitendero and others, Dr Hage Geingob joined Swapo, not as contract worker, but as an educated and well-informed young man, whose motivation to join the struggle was not only influenced by the then working conditions experienced by contract labourers or by tribal associations.
It is also important to note that there were also those young men and women speaking Oshiwambo-Rukavango, who joined Swapo during the said period, for the same reason as the group mentioned above.
These were Hidipo Hamutenya, Nickey Iyambo, Nangolo Mbumba, the late Dr Alpo Mauno Mbamba, Nahas Angula, Dr Joseph Muhoka, Dr Eugen Kakukuru, Fumu Erwin Mbambo Munika and many others.
It is thus our view that anybody who played a role in Swapo’s formative years, between 1960 and 1965, could be considered and its founding member or leader.
And as we already stated above, President Hage Geingob’s early political role can be traced back to the time of OPO.
The nation must therefore be informed that when the Founding Father and Founding President of the Namibian Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma and the Swapo Party chose and placed Dr Hage Geingob in leading roles, as early as 1962 in Botswana and in 1964 as the Swapo representative to the United Nations and the Americas, as the United Nations Institute for Namibia (UNIN) Director as from 1976 and as the first notable returnee and the person to carry the Swapo flag back to Namibia after the implementation of UN Resolution 435 in 1989, as the SWAPO Director of Elections for the 1989 UN supervised elections and founding Prime Minister of Namibia, it was because he was there from the beginning and thus a tried and tested cadre of the Swapo Party. Thus, it is disheartening that we heard during the run-up to the 5th Swapo Party Congress in 2012 that President Hage Geingob’s Swapo membership was questioned partly, by the same group of people who are at it again. However, this time around they are claiming that they are more Swapo than him, other we question the motive of calling their campaign group ‘Team Swapo’. The question that the nation is left with is: When did the group that challenged President Hage Geingob for the Swapo vice-president position in 2012 support him and his government? Another question is: Why should we as nation believe that which is being said about ‘the roots of the Swapo tree’ now drying up and need watering, when the Swapo Party under President Hage Geingob and Secretary-General Nangolo Mbumba received the highest percentage, in terms of electoral results, ever since independence?
The nation and the Swapo Party membership also wonder which SWAPO is in the ICU, when the Swapo Party is actually at a pinnacle in its history.
Is it perhaps ‘Team Swapo? The nation must be reminded that the late Andreas Shipanga failed to defeat Swapo of Namibia, when he named his political outfit before independence as Swapo Democrats.
We must also point out that the propaganda that is being circulated about President Hage Geingob, that he harbours a hatred for the Aawambo, is unfounded, given the historical background we provided above. How can this be true, when his appointed government is even accused as being heavily Owambo, from top to bottom, and this includes the appointment of his accusers, who failed to make the cut on the parliamentary list, and automatically to cabinet, but whom he rescued on the grounds of unifying the Swapo Party?
The nation and the Swapo Party membership can testify that President Dr Hage Geingob never attached a particular individual or names of individuals to what he termed a ‘Savimbi Syndrome’, on which he expounded in his doctoral dissertation.
Those with a good memory can remember that even in 2007, at the time of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) formation, President Dr Hage Geingob spoke of the same ‘Savimbi Syndrome’ and those who are angry today were clapping hands.
In his exposition, the ‘Savimbi Syndrome’ is a political character in some of the fictitious ‘bad losers’, who when they lose in the elections, they want to destroy the country or the party that they lived for, just because they are not part of it.
Why should anybody get angry, when you know that you do not fall in the category of the people, President Hage Geingob described in his doctoral dissertation?
About this, the Vakwangali will say ‘yikore Kamunsuguru’, meaning it must only offend a lizard. Or are there people who feel that they possess the character that President Geingob is talking about, and therefore personally feel attacked, even when he didn’t mention their names. We submit therefore that if this is the case, then President Dr Hage Geingob and his slate must be supported by all well-meaning Namibians, who do not want their glorious party and beautiful country to be destroyed, because of power-hungry individuals.
The candidates that President Hage Geingob has selected as his running mates have been in the Swapo Party for more than 40 years and they have shown that they are ‘team players’, as they have never on their own availed themselves for party leadership positions, without being asked and sanctioned by the leadership to do so. To us, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Sophia Shaningwa and Marco Hausiku, selected by President Dr Hage Geingob as his running mates, have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they have the interest of the nation above themselves, and thus deserve the overwhelming support of the leadership and the rank and file of the Swapo Party, in particular, and the nation at large. Finally, we would therefore firmly acclaim the slogans, One Namibia, One Nation! One Centre of Power! One President!
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015