The ruling party Swapo yesterday warned its members to stay away from the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement or risk being thrown out of the party.
The plan to deal with anyone showing sympathy towards AR was hammered out this week after lengthy deliberations between the party’s 14 regional coordinators in Windhoek this week.
Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu, announcing the outcome of the meeting at a press conference yesterday, said Swapo has observed with concern concerted efforts to sow disunity in the party, and consistent attacks on President Hage Geingob.
Amukwiyu was seemingly hinting at an article in a local weekly newspaper last week in which AR co-founder Job Amupanda criticised the perceived selective manner in which the party was dealing with its members.
“Now, therefore, we have come together since yesterday [Tuesday] to thoroughly deliberate on these matters and map out ways to mitigate, refute these claims and repel such attacks,” he told journalists gathered at the ruling paty’s headquarters in Katutura yesterday.
Amukwiyu explained what the party expects from its rank and file, as well as the obligation of each member to abide by the rules and constitution of the party. He said all members are obliged to abide by the party’s resolutions, decisions and directives without exception.
“A member has to be of exemplary conduct in a spirit of comradeship towards other members of the party, contribute to the strengthening of the organic unity of the party and to the political consciousness of its rank and file, to oppose factionalism, defend the party and to be sincere and honest,” Amukwiyu, who is also an emerging businessman, said.
He said the rules apply to every member, including the “educated” ones, in an apparent reference to Amupanda, who is understood to be studying towards a PhD.
He repeated President Geingob’s recent suggestion that AR was struggling to pull crowds for its demonstrations.
AR recently held demonstrations against the proposed construction of a new parliament at a cost estimate of N$2.2 billion – saying the country had other pressing issues that should enjoy priority.
“These elements go around renting crowds from political rejects and canon-fodder of the yesteryears to claim a resounding success,” Amukwiyu said.
“We urge all loyal Swapo members to get out of AR. Everything that this group has been doing is contrary to the aims and objectives as well as policy position of our mighty Swapo Party,” he said, adding that AR is a party within another party.
“It does not happen within political parties, it does not happen in a church or mosque, neither in private companies.
“Any Swapo member with self-respect will do the honourable and noble thing, that is to quit before she/he is shown the door.”
Amukwiyu said “colour revolutions” – which is a term that was widely used by worldwide media to describe various related movements that developed in several societies in the former Soviet Union and the Balkans during the early 2000s – have destroyed nations such as Libya, Syria and Ukraine.
On the sidelines of yesterday’s press conference, some regional coordinators told New Era that they know which party members have been sympathising with AR and such members’ behaviour would be monitored.
AR co-founder Dimbulukeni Nauyoma hit back at Amukwiyu, saying lies are being manufactured against the movement ahead of the ruling party’s elective congress next year.
“The Swapo code of conduct reads that the leadership must move with the representation of the majority. AR moves to the issues that concern the majorities,” he said.
“It’s shocking that they are asking people to move out of AR because there were no membership cards issued – this is not a political party.”
“I’d assume that they are also telling people to denounce their church alliances and to get out of their HIV social support groups. There’s a constant message of us starting a political party, but this is just political constipation of the 2017 congress of which we are not interested in,” he concluded.