New Era (Windhoek)

3 December 2012

Namibia: Afrika: The Other Side of the Coin - Swapo Party Stands United

opinion

The 5th Congress of Namibia's ruling Swapo Party made its choice, crowning the current Vice-President (VP) and senior leader, Hage Geingob, with an additional term as VP. He received some 321 votes.

Senior Swapo Party cadres seemed surprised that the other contender and senior Swapo Party stalwart, the ever popular Jerry Ekandjo, got only 220 votes and the third contender, the only woman in that league, and equally respected senior leader, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, had 64 votes. By now, it would be known that Nangolo Mbumba was elected as Swapo Party Secretary General and Laura McCleod-Katjirura as Deputy Secretary General.

Namibia's ruling party, similar to South Africa's ANC and Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF, is a conservative popular movement with traditional and conservative values. As the old guard of Swapo Party retains a powerful position, it is to be expected that a traditionally patriarchal mindset would feel more comfortable with a tried and tested male leader in the position of Vice-President.

At this 5th Swapo Party Congress in Windhoek, the popular mass political movement stated correctly in its preamble, "Recognizing and appreciating that Namibia enjoys peace, security and political stability under the leadership of Swapo Party."

Under its senior leadership, Namibia's mass political movement made its proud mark in history when it fought hard to rid Namibia of South Africa's occupying colonial-apartheid administration, the SADF and SWATF and succeeded. Its senior leadership knows and understands the developments of and within the ruling party and the effects those developments will have on Namibia.

Meanwhile, the outcome of this 5th Swapo Party Congress had been worked for long and hard and lobbied for, in order to prepare and to assure that those candidates would be elected and subsequently, would take the ruling party to the next elections in 2014. Its outcome has been accepted in true democratic culture.

For quite some while, Namibia's media reported almost daily on the build-up to this congress that is finally over now, often making space for rumours, reflecting behind-the-scenes lobbying, accusations and counter-accusations. Such politicking seems to be the norm of today's power-political competitions.

That too is expected and understood by the senior guard of Namibia's ruling party. This columnist has repeatedly been assured that they were not taken off-guard and that the result would be accepted and respected by all in order to keep Swapo Party united and strong in their efforts to "maintain peace, security and political stability under Swapo Party leadership".

They will be on guard against any efforts, alien to the historic and traditional values of Swapo. "If Swapo would be threatened and undermined in any way, nothing would stop the movement to discipline those, who succumb to such outside influences," this writer was told.

Wishing Swapo Party a united, strong, peaceful, stable, healthy and successful future.

• Udo W. Froese is a non-aligned political and socio-economic analyst and columnist, from Windhoek, Namibia and based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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