By Anna Ingwafa
Namibia’s oldest political party SWANU has ventured into unchartered territory and areas deemed as ruling Swapo Party strongholds in the north where it addressed paltry crowds.
One of the meetings that drew a few people took place at Ongwediva on Saturday.
With less than 20 people in attendance, the Swanu leadership consisting of its president Usutuaije Maamberua, secretary general Tangeni Iijambo and secretary for mobilization and elections Rukee Tjingaete presented the party’s key policy aims and strategies.
On rural and agrarian transformation, SWANU stated it will plan and implement an aggressive policy of agrarian transformation that will move away from the current reform strategy advocated by reformists.
“We are not reformists. The people’s transformation plan will make provision for agricultural subsidies, training and funding of farmers, land ownership transfer to communal farmers, enhanced reforestation programmes including substantive investments in alternative sources of energy, all within the broader context of land transformation,” said the party.
The party promised to put up a specific policy designed to support a green scheme project in the northern regions that experience perennial floods.
Alternative water sources will have to be found for farmers living in the Kalahari Eco-System in the Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions.
SWANU said it recognizes the level of poverty in the rural areas and if elected to power, its government would construct houses in the rural areas, assist with ploughing, assist with start-up livestock, reduce water tariffs, increase provision of water in all areas and put up industries.
“Life in rural Namibia continues to be a life of misery and torment in most cases. Human capital flees towards big cities where a new cycle of poverty manifests itself through lack of employment and limited facilities and social amenities to cope with the city population pressure. The state is not investing enough in the rural areas at the rate of migration to the cities. Swanu will address this problem as a matter of urgency.”
On the issue of genocide and reparations, the party says that the political dimension and input have been ignored by almost all political parties with the exception of SWANU.
“Given our historic obligation and mandate, SWANU cannot sit idle watching Germans forcing down the throat of the Namibian people a so-called hundred and sixty million, pretending to be sufficient compensation for the loss of blood and wealth,” it says.
SWANU declared its position that the apology of the German Government would only be acceptable if backed by concomitant legislation of the German Parliament through an Act of Parliament.
“The extermination order of General von Trotha came from the highest office in the country and therefore we demand an apology to be reciprocated through an Act of Parliament instead of a junior minister sent to Namibia,” it says.
In its policy document, SWANU says that if reparations are not forthcoming, SWANU shall call on the citizens and all powers it will marshal, once in government, to expropriate assets including land in order to compensate the victims and descendants of the genocide.
The party criticized the education system in the country saying the precarious situation might lead to the destruction of the Namibian society.
“Our education system is mainly producing human capital destined for the streets and not for the labour market. The escalating crime and juvenile deviancy in our country are directly related to the failure of the education system to produce the demanded human capital. It is rather feeding the ever-increasing unemployment queues,” it says.
SWANU further promises to make primary and secondary education free and give affordable loans to every student at tertiary level, as well as all institutions of higher learning.
On its economic policy, it states that the party is guided by its tri-partite ideological underpinnings of socialism, revolution and democracy in establishing a state in which the economic resources are properly managed and equitably distributed.
“These three ideological pillars are meant to assist in bringing about meaningful, fundamental and effective transformation in the standard of living of the broader masses of the Namibian people so as to guarantee the future for our coming generation.”
It states that the public service under SWANU the government would provide jobs to all Namibians based on their experience and qualifications.
Job discrimination on the basis of political party affiliation and ethnicity or gender will be treated as a criminal offence and corruption.
The SWANU leadership after the public meeting went to assess the flood situation in Oshakati and visited flood victims at Oshoopala reception centre.
SWANU president Maamberua said as a political party they have a responsibility to know what is happening regarding the flood situation in the north.
Based on the observations made, according to Maamberua, a report will be written to donor agencies that the flood situation in the north is not government propaganda but a reality. The report will hopefully speed up assistance because the environment in which people live is not conducive.
He noted that this was not the first time for him to visit victims in a different situation. He made a similar visit a year ago to the farm Otjiku where people were evicted from the farm and compiled a report about it.
SWANU secretary general Iijambo appealed to the Ministry of Health to assist the flood victims with social workers in order for them to be counselled due to flood trauma. He said the situation in the camps is leading to depression and stress for many reasons.
Maamberua and Iijambo, being University of Namibia employees, are still waiting for Unam’s response following an earlier announcement that Unam employees should refrain from active party politics.