New Era (Windhoek)

30 November 2012

Namibia: Congress Could Transform Politics

column

FOR months the nation has been engrossed in deep political debate on the Swapo Party Congress that started yesterday - a congress which could see the 'mannetjie party' being led by a new top-four structure.

With many anxious to see who of the three will emerge victorious - most people seem to be less concerned as to what becomes of Dr Hage Geingob, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Nangolo Mbumba's political careers should they fail to emerge victorious in the positions they are vying for.

Well, it is categorically clear that the level of power and influence in the party will diminish for the one who fails.

Like myself, many of you are probably anxious to see how the political careers of these three seasoned politicians will be affected should one of them lose.

Geingob will surely be hoping he does not re-live a day like 27 August 2002 - a day which saw him demoted as the country's Prime Minister, a position he held for 12 years.

The sitting VP must pray that history does not repeat itself, because the man who took up the position of Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing - which Geingob declined after his demotion - is the man vying for his VP position, i.e. Jerry Ekandjo.

Following the decline, Geingob left the Namibian political scene and headed to Washington DC where he was appointed as Executive Secretary of the Global Coalition for Africa - let's hope he will remain in the government and party, whether he wins or loses.

Perhaps an easing thought for Geingob and his followers is the fact Geingob was named among the candidates for the position of Vice-President of Swapo in a move seen by many as a well-calculated political manouver intended to open the door for "Hadago", as Geingob is known, to take over the presidential reins from Pohamba.

With the incumbent VP declining a ministerial position in 2002, he made a complete U-turn and took up a similar position - that of Trade and Industry Minister, the post he now occupies.

Meanwhile, the 'Iron Lady' will have to shake off her disappointments after being left in the cold by sections of the Swapo Party Women's Council (SPWC) who apparently support the candidacy of Ekandjo.

It is widely believed the decision by the 'Iron Lady' to oppose SPWC Secretary Petrina Haingura's re-election during the SPWC Congress earlier this year has cost her some of the support from the party's female wing.

For Mbumba, he will have to fend off stiff competition from Utoni Nujoma for the SG position.

Although he was not so vocal during the weeks leading up to the congress, perhaps he has a well-calculated plan to move up the echelons of the party.

I will now join many of my commercial comrades - who emerge from their hibernating chambers during elections - and keep a close eye on how the congress transpires, after all we spent hard-earned cash to fund the campaign activities of the candidates. Eewa

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