By Kuvee Kangueehi
Swapo Party vice president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, says he is puzzled and amazed and cannot understand why some people would want to dissociate themselves from the rich history of the Swapo Party.
Speaking at the official opening of the 4th Swapo Party Congress yesterday, Pohamba said he was moved and taken back by songs and the spirit of the delegates at the beginning of the congress.
In an apparent reference to some former Swapo Party leaders who left the party a few weeks ago to form a new party, Pohamba said he cannot understand why someone who started Swapo and has been part of it for many years can leave the party towards the end of their lives.
Pohamba said the people that defected from Swapo Party have betrayed the patriotic men, women and children who sacrificed their lives for the party and country.
“Many sons and daughters of the Namibian soil lost their limbs and eyesight for the ultimate objective to free the country and therefore we cannot betray their sacrifices.”
Pohamba also quoted former Robben Island prisoner Andimba Toivo ya Toivo who said the “struggle was long and bitter”.
He noted that when he looked across the room he remembered many faces, which were part of struggle and rich history including Ya Toivo.
As Pohamba spoke, Ya Toivo stood up and raised his fist to show his commitment to Swapo Party. Ya Toivo, who was recently rumoured to be contemplating moving to the RDP, has dismissed such rumours calling on those spreading them to desists from using his name.
Pohamba said the collective objective during the next four days should be to build.
“It should be a platform to uplift, enhance and strengthen, nurture and cultivate the best, most enduring, most ideal and lasting values that are central to our national growth, development and progress.”
The President warned that the congress should not be seen as an opportunity to underscore divisions but rather designed to consolidate and solidify unity.
“The congress should give more life to how we conceive, organise, structure and practise politics in Swapo Party and in our country on the basis of enduring principles.”
He said the delegates should not waste this opportunity in casting aspersions, playing to the gallery or trying to divide the people on grounds of identities that should actually be cherished.
“Our diversity is, indeed, part of our strength and our uniqueness and I hope at the end of the congress, we will all be imbued with a renewed commitment to tolerance, inclusion and Namibian unity engendered to make our party and country stronger.”
He said today, Swapo Party stands ready to embark on the second phase of the struggle, namely economic empowerment of the Namibian people especially the youth and women.
He noted that the party and country require political leaders who have a deep understanding of current conditions in the country, a clear vision for the future and the ability to consider issues and act strategically.
“They must be leaders who are both politically astute and economically informed in order to address the pressing needs of our people.”
Pohamba reminded congress that a just society is where all citizens have access to basic opportunities to enjoy well-being and fulfilment of life.
“That includes access to decent education, employment, housing, health, land, other infrastructure and amenities.”
He warned that anything less will result in conflict and social strife with a high risk of destabilising political and social harmony.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula was expected to brief the congress on the progress the Government has made over the years and the challenges it faces.