By Chishimba Chishimba
Main opposition political parties have welcomed Sam Nujoma’s decision not to seek re-election as SWAPO president at the ruling party’s national congress next month.
Congress of Democrats (CoD) president, Ben Ulenga, said in an interview yesterday that Nujoma has played a big role in Namibian politics and hoped that he would be replaced in a democratic manner.
Ulenga said it is important that democracy prevails in all organisations, not only in SWAPO, as there should always be time to change leaders.
He pointed out that there is ambiguity in the way matters are being handled because Nujoma remains head of the ruling party while Hifikepunye Pohamba is Head of State.
“However, Sam Nujoma has announced that he will not stand, and I hope this will be the case, so that SWAPO could now proceed and choose the leader democratically. I know in the first place that it is a matter for SWAPO to work out how they elect their leaders,” he said.
Republican Party (RP) leader, Henk Mudge, said the fact that Nujoma would relinquish the SWAPO presidency would bring to an end squabbles, thus save the country’s image from being dented.
“We hope Nujoma is not going to be involved so that he could let Pohamba do his work freely. Nujoma had serious influence and this brought about a negative image not only in Namibia but also from foreign countries,” Mudge said.
He said Nujoma and others played a big role in the liberation struggle and it is now time to look forward as the country has reached a totally different phase.
And National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) president, Kuaima Riruako, said in politics there is always a time to go, adding that leaders should not wait to be told to leave.
Riruako hopes that Nujoma meant well when he announced that he would not seek re-election because it would not be in the interest of SWAPO if he started “calling shots” from the background.
“Julius Nyerere (late retired Tanzania president) left politics, so did Nelson Mandela. It is better for one to go without being told to do so. I know it is an internal matter for SWAPO,” he said.
On the other hand, Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) president, Katuutire Kaura welcomed Nujoma’s decision to leave the SWAPO presidency.
Kaura said there would be peace and that Nujoma should remain a statesman from whom advice can be sought, as opposed to squabbling, which can breed chaos.