By Engel Nawatiseb TSUMEB The speculated formation of a breakaway party from the Swapo party has been scoffed at as a “New Year’s joke” and condemned as an opportunistic and irresponsible move by some members of the ruling party. A member of the Swapo party Political Bureau and Central Committee, Pendu-keni Iivula-Ithana said her party’s leadership has been following with keen interest reports about the possible formation of a new party to test the “muscle” of the ruling party. “There is a general belief that the strongest opposition party to challenge Swapo would only come from within its own ranks. Fine, but do not forget what happened to the prophets of doom such as CoD’s Ben Ulenga. He did just that hoping to unseat the mighty Swapo Party, but he only reckoned with his own fate as he is battling to survive politically.” Iivula-Ithana, who is also Minister of Justice and Attorney General cautioned Swapo party members against being influenced into joining a strange party whose agenda is only known to the would-be leaders. “Be careful not to be used, now they are forming yet another opposition, let them form it themselves, don’t be used,” she cautioned. The rumours moved Iivula-Ithana to castigate the so- called new party before introducing Swapo party President Sam Nujoma, who was guest speaker at a meeting in Tsumeb. Iivula-Ithana is also the chairperson of the national leaders’ committee assigned to the Oshikoto region by the ruling party. The regional coordinator of the party in the Oshikoto region, Armas Amukwiyu said the political leadership in the region would not tolerate any interference in the party’s political programme by unruly elements. “I would like to assure you, Comrade President, that all attempts to divide the struggling masses, to divide the democratic movement in Oshikoto region, to put a wedge between our Swapo leaders, all these are failing and have failed because Swapo is truly the people and the people are Swapo. We can declare here and now that Oshikoto region shall never give birth or impetus to any other political formation apart from the mighty Swapo Party,” said Amukwiyu. Close sources say discussions about the possible formation of a breakaway party from Swapo Party have been going on since the festive season when at least two strategic meetings were conducted “in camera” in the Oshikoto region to map out the road ahead. “Tsumeb has been the breeding ground of such anti-Swapo political feelings all along. Virtually all structures in the rest of the constituencies (9) are under the control of the ruling party. Here (Tsumeb) is the birth town of the CoD, now the new one,” said one source. Said a Swapo party executive committee member in the region on condition of anonymity: “The elements behind this move are known to the party leadership, all we want to see them doing is to resign from the party instead of instigating our members against their own interest (Swapo). We will deal with them if they transgress the party constitution. They are free to go ahead but withdraw your membership and move on then. We are surrounded by leaders that pretend to be loyalists, but time will tell how long we should be kept like fools. I encourage them to launch their party on April 1 (fool’s day). Then only will it make sense to their ‘fool’ members.” Said Amukwiyu: “As members of a political party, we must foster a sense of common purpose and collective destiny among the people of the region and country. This could be achieved by combating retrogressive tendencies of tribalism, corruption, ethnicity, nepotism, sexism, chauvinism, regionalism and personality cults. After all, it is only through these fundamental principles that we are bona fide members of our mighty Swapo party and leaders of our respective structures of the party throughout the region.” Nujoma cautioned that the ruling party would not allow opportunists to disturb the peace and tranquillity that prevail in the country. “We must therefore remain vigilant against reactionary and divisive forces at work who want to divide us along tribal and regional lines as being propagated by those disgruntled elements. We must continue to mobilise all Namibians to join the Swapo party and encourage them to live by the principles and political programme of our party.” Nujoma said “imperialists” on the African continent are bent on mobilising opportunists, upstarts, political renegades, disgruntled and misguided elements and harnessing them to divide people and in so doing reverse their freedom and independence. He noted that such attempts are made with a clear purpose to perpetuate economic marginalisation and under-development in Africa. “Our country Namibia is no exception. These days, it has become a habit of some treacherous and disgruntled elements to tarnish the name of the Swapo party and its leadership. The aim of this exercise is to discredit the Swapo party and mislead the Namibian people into believing that the Swapo party is bad,” said Nujoma. According to Nujoma, such “elements” do not represent the interest of the Namibian people, most of whom are allegedly confiding in the Swapo party and its leadership. “The Namibian people must see these opportunists as they are. They are the enemies of peace and social progress,” he stated. The Swapo party is reported to have recruited more than 1 000 members in the Oshikoto region last year and equally lured former CoD candidates for the regional council elections in the Omuthiya, Onyaanya, Onayena and Omuntele constituencies. Dr Nujoma addressed close to 2 000 Swapo supporters at Tsumeb over the weekend.
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