8 December 2012

Southern Africa: SADC Countries Readying for Change of Leadership - How Practical?


Some of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries are lined up for change of command after having recently conducted their watershed Party Congresses giving a new hope or gloomy future for their countries.

The two countries, Namibia and Tanzania had just held their National Party Congresses, the South West African Peoples Organisation, (SWAPO) and Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) while South Africa is scheduled to hold its ANC National Congress this month.

Just recently in this column I had portrayed CCM as one of the well organised political parties South of Sahara. Like other surviving liberation movements, SWAPO of Namibia, South Africa's ANC, Angola's MPLA, Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF and Mozambique's FRELIMO have framed themselves as cathedrals of morality and developed a self righteous life of their own - to remain in power.

It is assumed that framed goals, economic development, peace and stability can only be assured by the continued stay in power of former liberation movements. They are perceived to be the sole guarantors of peace and stability in their respective countries. This is very debatable.

We have been assured by the new CCM Secretariat that they would move around the country with some of the cabinet ministers to address some of the teething issues which they are tackling now. That emanated from the Chimwaga's Eight CCM Congress. Hopefully dry taps would flow water and the electricity rationing would be history of the past.

Our economy as promised would be that of middle income economy galloping from US $ 500 to over US$2000 as our capita income. Minister Muhongo is striving for that; God Bless! That is Tanzania; I cannot talk much of South Africa which is also holding its Congress this December.

However the ANC Congress is expected to meet at the wake of this most turbulent phase of post apartheid South Africa history to date. The deadly mining and farming labour unrest, and growing joblessness which have rocked the nation may further destabilize the Party!

President Jacob Zuma appears to be immune with that negative coverage against him in the South African press. However he appears to be the sole candidate for the ANC presidency which will see him through to the presidency of the country for the second term.

Do we expect the Polokwane affair this time around? It cannot be ruled out! The youths are bitter as they still continue to wait for the equitable portioning of the economic gains in the country instead they find the youth like Malema been thrown out of the party! Let us wait and see what is store from the South Africa ANC Congress. In Namibia whose Congress ended last Sunday has opened a new political landscape!

If you were to ask me some twenty years ago the possibility of having a Namibian president from none other tribe than the Northern Oshiwambo speaking, I would have given you a big no! Why? Oshiwambo speaking Namibians reside in the Northern part of Namibia and are almost over one third of the population.

And they regard themselves the liberators of that country as they felt the brunt of liberation war since the war started from there a place known as Omugulumbashi in the North. A few Namibian liberation fighters trained in Tanzania fired the first bullet on 26 August 1966 to start the war.

The first President who is also the founding father of the nation Dr. Sam Nujoma is an Oshiwambo speaking who stayed in power for three terms. Then came Hiffikepunye Pohamba also an Oshiwambo speaking. His coming to power led to confrontation that saw the SWAPO disintegrating forming a splinter party, Rally for Democracy and Progress.

It was during this time outsiders from Oshiwambo speaking started to show interest, one of them was the first Prime Minister Hage Geigob who was booted and stayed in political wilderness for some time. He was brought back by Pohamba as a Minister of Trade a portfolio which is still holding and also became the SWAPO Vice-Chairman.

This fight for Presidency when the other one is retiring has caused a lot of factions with the several African ruling parties. For Namibia they had agreed the party hierarchy would be respected and considered for nomination as Swapo candidate for Presidency.

And that is the Vice Party Chairman or Secretary- General. The Congress then produced the possible candidate for the country's presidency come 2014. And this is why divisions within the party were strife as three prominent members were contesting.

They included the former Prime Minister Hage Geigob who is known to have been vying for the Presidential slot for so long. Others were the current Minister of Justice and Party's General Secretary Ms. P endukeni Iinvula Ithana and the firebrand Jerry Ekandjo the former Robben Island graduate.

This was seen as a fierce, cutthroat campaign reminiscent of the 2007 which found the creation of another opposition Party to SWAPO. The stubborn SWAPO Youth League had received a thorough beating as their sponsored candidates failed miserably.

They included Jerry Ekadjo, Utoni Nujoma the son of the former President Nujoma currently Minister of Foreign Affairs and Dr. Abraham Iyambo, the Minister of Education. What emerged this time was the break of the barriers of ethnicity and a possibility of a none Oshiwambo speaking to be the next president of Namibia in the name of Hage Geigob.

Indeed SWAPO was eager to break this myth of ethnicity when it comes to leadership so as to have a picture of national character bringing on board everybody in terms of merits and they did it. They say the coming to power of Geingob will lead to moderate approach on the question of land rather than the radical change that had been advocated by the SWAPO Youth League! Who is the next Tanzanian President? Your guess is as good as mine.

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