New Era (Windhoek)

7 December 2012

Namibia: A Lesson in Democracy Worth Emulating

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INDEED everybody cannot otherwise but join the growing chorus of the members and cadres of the ruling party, the Swapo Party of Namibia, for hosting an extremely successful party Congress.

As much one cannot miss this opportunity to congratulate the winning cadres the President, Vice-President, Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General.

Credit should go the entire party, the party machinery, the entire party rank and file of the Swapo Party, and indeed the rest of the country, especially the non-members of the Swapo Party, who equally took an active interest in the Congress, and especially the election of the leaders as well as members of the Central Committee, conscious of the fact leaders of the party in all likelihood are to become political leaders of the country in 2015.

With its 5th Congress, the Swapo Party of Namibia has not only shown the country that it can indeed be trusted with intra-party democratic processes but has laid down an example of democracy that other political parties in the county can only be advised to emulate and follow. Whether any one is a member of Swapo or not, is immaterial but this is a moment that indeed the whole country should be proud of and cherish with the belief, trust and indeed sense of security that Namibian democracy has matured.

But most importantly, democracy can only thrive more if the entire country and the other political parties can take a leaf or two from the Swapo Party Congress.

It was most heartening to see the three foremost candidates' camaraderie, embracing one another and congratulating one another. Indeed, such an atmosphere and spirit cannot but be the ideal breeding ground for continued peace and stability in the country, arguably one of Namibia's homegrown mainstay democratic products as well as one of the country's precious exports. One should not look at the election outcome of the Swapo Congress in winner-loser polar positions but the whole Swapo Party of Namibia, and indeed the entire country, should be the winner.

It is most gratifying to see candidates who were less successful in their bids to gain positions endorsing those who were with open hearts, courage and genuine camaraderie. Indeed it is also reassuring of the future of this country to hear especially the returning Vice-President of the Swapo Party of Namibia, Dr Hage Geingob, reassuring that there is still a place under the Namibian sun for hose who vied for this position against him, and/or any position within the party.

Not so much because of his magnanimity as much as one cannot discount this and his maturity but credit is as much due to all party cadres and members who embrace the democratic values and standards, which increasingly seem to be a hallmark of the Swapo Party, and indeed circumscribe by similar values and standards in the entire country.

Needless to mention, it will be a sad day in the history of this country if one would have disposed of such statesmen and women just because apparently they were not the first over the winning line.

They were indeed over the line but the only difference is that they were not the first over this line.

But those first over the line owe them as much gratitude for in the first place providing the necessary benchmark, and secondly and most importantly for providing those first over the line with the necessary power drive which propelled them to victory. That is why all the candidates who participated, and indeed every stakeholder, and party cadres, members, supporters and sympathisers, should as much own the victory won.

Rather than seeing those who vied for the positions but did not get them as being ambitious, we should see these cadres as having played a pivotal role of providing the requisite competition as per the rules of the game.

Otherwise an undemocratic situation would have prevailed and this is something we shunned the very day when the Apartheid South African flag was lowered, and our own Namibian flag was hoisted forever in a new democratic dispensation that hailed an independent and free Namibia on March 21, 1991.

On that day, we said backward never, forward ever towards democracy and democratic ideals imbued in the spirit of freedom and liberty.

And the Swapo Party of Namibia has just shown the country, and indeed the entire international community that it, and as much as the entire Namibian populace, does not only cherish democracy but lives it to the letter and spirit of the founding mothers and fathers of this land.

The best men and women have won, and indeed the best men and women were not that far on the heels of the first over the winning line. But all of them remain the Land of the Brave's best in their own unique and significant way, and this makes the Land of the Brave in this instance a winning nation.

But this winning formula can only remain such if all of us in our different and respective endeavours, private and public, even in our own private homes can emulate this good example of democratic values and standards and the spirit that goes with it. It is obvious that from 2004, when the same event had its casualties, this time around the congress transpired without any major upheavals and wrangling.

That surely is clear indication that the Swapo Party of Namibia has been undergoing some positive transformation from being a liberation movement to a democratic political party. It may not as yet have travelled half way along the long road, but it certainly has made and has been making some significant and non-retractable strides.

What is left now is to allow such democratic attainments to permeate through its many and varied structures, and indeed have a boomerang and multiplier effect on the whole of the country.

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