Swanu’s State of the Nation Address

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Namibia is in a state of change. Our comrades both inside and outside Namibia are asking several questions on where we stand on many current issues. Our response remains the same. We cannot compromise our integrity as a party because if change is cosmetic, it will not materalize into putting bread on a worker’s table.

Our response is the same:

Peace and unity for our country.

The need to consolidate power through the people who suffered British, German and South African hegemony in our country.
The need to respect other parties and their programmes.

The need to reject tribalism, corruption and ethnicity.

The need to accept the vote of our people about who to lead them without complaint or bitterness.

The need to urge political parties to refrain from violence and violation of individual parties’ rights to sell their programmes to the people in a democratic system.

We have recently adopted clear positions to the new developments. We convened a very successful Congress that as usual was not entirely covered by the media for reasons that we have known for many years of our resistance.

Comrade Sondaha Kangueehi outlined our position very well in regard to December 10, 1959. Unfortunately, his statement was not covered by the rest of the NBC channels as we expected.

The NBC has been playing the same role of undermining SWANU’s integrity as one of the most progressive forces in this country. The print media have been doing the same. We are not concerned because we were the true transmission belt of change that resulted in the new social and political movement that paved the way for independence. This cannot be denied.

Our party credentials will indicate that we had our offices in China, Egypt, Tanzania, and Botswana and all over the world. We have been rivals to parties like SWAPO, African Nation Congress of South Africa, ZAPU of Zimbabwe and Frelimo of Mozambique for many years which never translated into animosity.

We had our own cadres trained for war, something that we decided not to share with the Nation initially. Some of these combatants are roaming the streets without jobs. We were detained and tortured both inside and outside Namibia for our convictions which qualify some of the SWANU cadres as former combatants.

A good number of our comrades did not return to Namibia with independence. Some defected us and joined a sister liberation movement to die on the battlefield. Some died in jails in Africa. But as a Revolutionary Movement we never complained. Why?

“To die for the nation is to live for ever.” That is what the late Comrade Uatjindua Ndjoze, the unsung hero of the Namibian Revolution, said. We strongly believe that he ought to be given a proper burial at Heroes Acre which he deserves – Namibia shall never forget him.

Our party supports the efforts of Dr Ngarikutuke Tjiriange to solve the combatant issue. However, it should not be confined to a single group of combatants if a permanent solution is to be found. National issues must not be confined to parochial thinking.

SWANU wants to pay special tribute to Comrade Munjuku Nguvauva, a true hero of our revolution who never wavered. He joined SWAPO in 1984 after so many years of service to SWANU through the Mbanderu Council.

We pay tribute to the Ovambanderu Community for a good example displayed at Okahandja during the state funeral service. During the time of mourning and hardship, they collectively buried their differences and focused on a job at hand. It was a good display of leadership and maturity.

SWANU urges them to display the same spirit in their difficult job of finding a successor to a beloved Comrade. They should not be influenced by selfish political intentions. They must retain their integrity and independence as a progressive force once led by Kahimemua Nguvauva who died as a martyr during a difficult period.

We want to pay special tribute to the PLO and Hamas for a clear stand taken against American imperialism and Zionism. Namibian parties have become so small to remember that the Sahawari People’s Democratic front is still fighting Morocco for their rights. Namibians are quick to forget that the people of southern Sudan are still yearning for independence. Namibians are quick to forget that what Zimbabweans are going through is a scheme well designed at Lancaster House that created civil strife between ZANU and ZAPU.

Namibians are quick to forget that Palestinians are still refugees in the Middle East and that they are being bombed by American and Israelis everyday.

Today, we have welcomed yet another African-American Ambassador to Namibia who is part of a world system of slavery that humiliated Africans.

We expect her to show a different face other than serving a cruel George Bush regiment that has become a disgrace to the world. She must show compassion and determination to emulate the spirit of Martin Luther King Junior who visited all the ghettoes in the USA during the Civil Rights Movement. Many African-Americans grew up in ghettoes just like us here and that is an experience that we must share with them.

Namibians are unable to understand the war in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Gaza and Iraq. In particular the American role. As someone representing the most powerful nation on earth, she must explain. She is a resource that the Namibian media should utilize to explain the American position. That is her responsibility.

We see women and children being bombed and killed like flies by the USA firepower. America should account to the world.

It is time for SWANU to salute the Namibian nation.

SWANU will go into the next election campaigns with the same message:
– State subsidized water for communal farmers.

– Free education for the most deprived communities like the San and street children.

– Peace and harmony between Namibians of different ethnic groups.

– Strong message to the ruling party to run the state on the basis of the fact that Namibia does not belong to any individual party. “The concept of a SWAPO-led government” is archaic and does not have any meaning in a democratic state where civil rights imply self-governance at all levels.

– Strong message to the Namibian Election Commission that everyone has got the right to start a political party. Politicians should not be intimidated by security agencies about where to campaign, who should speak, under what conditions, what time of the day and what message is being communicated and by which media institutions.

– SWANU strongly believes that we must leave the NBC alone to serve its function as mandated to it by the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia and policies. Its problems must not be eclipsed to conclusions about who is running it. Currently, the NBC is running a good service under peculiar conditions of competition with other service providers locally and internationally. And also despite its financial limitations.

Everyone will never be satisfied. Their problem is a domestic one that must be solved domestically between them and their Minister. It is time for a Standing Parliamentary Committee on Broadcasting and Communications to be established to ensure that guidance is provided to these institutions (NBC, NCC, New Era Publications, Nampa, Telecom, Nampost, etc) that are established through Acts of Parliament.

– Strong message to the voters that we must first think of our country before voting for individual parties and their programmes that are sometimes divisive, ethnical, tribal and hegemonic.

– Respect for the weak, elders, children and poor who can not afford water, electricity, health services and education and through social displacement in a society where the rich is getting richer while the poor is getting poorer.

-. The need to explain the two cosmologies of government in a single country where a racist private sector is never regulated to provide incentives for entry of the previously disadvantaged people into the national economic sectors such as tourism, financial services, manufacturing, commercial agriculture, information technology, air transport, mining, construction and engineering.

– The nation must address the criteria set by the Development of Namibia (DBN) to transfer taxpayers’ money to Bank of Windhoek to oversee the Small Grant Fund for SMEs. This fund was created because local Namibians do not have access to funding from commercial banks because of their racist criteria. Today, this fund has become the monopoly of a commercial bank to enrich itself and deprive Namibians of entry into the business sectors.

The bank is using the very same restrictive criteria that led to the establishment of the DBN. The public needs clear and concrete answers as to why a commercial bank was chosen to administer a public fund.

– Lift the stupid ban on The Namibian newspaper because it simply shows that we are a nation that does not tolerate criticism as well as understanding the role that this paper played during the hard struggle for independence. If we believe that we are solid in our conviction, The Namibian newspaper or Windhoek Observer does not stand a chance to overthrow this government!
– Revisit the Caprivi detainee issue that has become a problem to our young nation state. We doubt the ability of our justice administration system to effectively and decisively deal with this issue simply because it is a political problem that needs a political solution.

The current court attempts to employ the legal system to put this issue to rest are tantamount to squaring a circle. The answers are with the State President Comrade Hifikipunye Pohamba to decide if the state will continue to keep these people who have already been in custody for close to a decade. We need a solution. The state must find a way to bring this matter to its final conclusion.

We are concerned about the famine and drought in the Northern and Southern regions. We are concerned about the attempts by the European Community to control our export to Europe. We are concerned about the declining price of beef that is designed to create poverty on communal land.

We are concerned about self-enrichment and corruption. We are concerned about tribal hegemony advocated by stupid politicians that may lead us to civil strive just like in Kenya.

We are concerned about the inability of our system to find bursaries for our own children who are roaming the streets without jobs and hope for the future.

We are concerned about the plight of former combatants on both sides of the spectrum. We are concerned about money wasted on paying lucrative salaries of parastatal CEOs at the expense of a poverty-stricken bleeding nation that Comrade Evalistus Kaaronda of NUNW has bravely been trying in vain to alert the nation about.

We are concerned about the little support given to the peasants and rural communities who should become the breadbasket of the nation.
We are concerned about the high interest rates and charges imposed by the commercial banks and Bank of Namibia in particular on its own nation.
We are concerned about the slow pace of economic growth that is normally reported as growth against the background of inequality, inflation, and increases in the fuel price, a failed education system, consumer apathy and growing labour unrest.

SWANU is here to stay. SWANU will never want to criticize government without offering concrete and progressive solutions. It is our mandate to be part of our hard-won nation state and solutions. If the boat sinks, the nation will sink. We are confident that our party will be represented in Parliament after 2009.

That is the SWANU agenda that will inform the next election. The only thing that we have is our integrity, moral strength and credentials that we shall never compromise to anyone. We stood firm.

– Compiled by the SWANU Directorate of Election headed by Dr Rukee Tjingaete chaired by the President of SWANU Usutuaije Maamberua.

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