Is It Sour Grapes for Nyamu?

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LEADERS come and go. Jesaya Nyamu, the former Swapo politburo member got the boot from his party last week. He rose through the Swapo Party ranks to become a politburo member and minister in its government over the years. Last week was his time to go. He is gone and is no longer a Swapo Party member. In another dramatic development this week, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) removed its acting Secretary General Peter Naholo from his position following a motion of no confidence. And again, we are likely to hear a war of words between the different protagonists. Strangely, leaders tend to have a common trait. It is their style to hang their dirty linen in public and berate others and their erstwhile political parties the moment they are out in the cold. Until that happens, they close ranks and unflinchingly sing praises of their party and leader. Jesaya Nyamu is no exception. For a long time, Nyamu was a Swapo insider and a pivotal player. He was somewhat central to the power play in Swapo. He was privy to many party secrets and was instrumental in fashioning many of its current strategies and policies, including shaping its mindset. In some ways, he was moulded by Swapo and he too helped to mould the party and make it what it is today. During Nyamu’s time in Swapo, former president Sam Nujoma was the undisputed leader of the party to whom Nyamu gave his allegiance. Nyamu supported Nujoma, revered him and placed his trust and confidence in him. Today, Nyamu regards Nujoma as the fly in the milk. Based on Nyamu’s latest comments, the relationship between himself and Nujoma that dates back to many years has been compromised by the events of the last congress. By his own account, Nujoma turned into a bad leader since last year’s congress. How could that be? Is it mere coincidence that Nyamu sees blank in Nujoma after he lost his ministerial position, his parliamentary seat and ultimately his place in the politburo? Would he have said the same if he had retained his ministerial post and parliamentary seat, but Hidipo Hamutenya, his presidential candidate had lost? Suffice it to say Nyamu never raised a finger against Nujoma until the congress fallout last year. If he did, he kept it a party secret. This latest episode raises serious questions about the honesty and credibility of some of our leaders. Leaders must be prepared to stand for what they believe in regardless. In doing so, they must be guided by their conscience and truth and not their stomachs. If need be, they must be prepared to sacrifice everything including the comfort of their jobs for truth and principles. The world is full of many examples of men and women who when their calling came, they sacrificed not for their own sake but their nations and generations to come. Nyamu’s characterisation of fellow travellers and former comrades as part of a so-called “Omusati Clique” is an outright and downright display of tribalism and regionalism. By portraying some of his erstwhile colleagues as the “Omusati Clique”, Nyamu has banded together Swapo leaders based on their tribes or their regions of origin and that is telling of the extent to which tribalism has engulfed our nation, including some at the top. Why not finger those he accuses of “hijacking” the party by their names instead of tying them to their tribes or region? That is bad enough because the argument that they are doing any wrong because of their origin is too flawed and dangerous. Their names are sufficient to identify them and not Omusati, the region from which they come. And unless otherwise explained by Nyamu, such characterisation constitutes tribalism and deserve condemnation.