Frank and open discussions are expected at the second Swapo Party policy conference that kicks off in Windhoek on Sunday, with ministers in particular expected to report back to the party on policy mandates assigned to them in 2012.
Self-congratulations would be put aside as the party takes stock of its performance and determines whether policy interventions adopted some five years ago have had a positive bearing on the lives of Namibian citizens.
It is likely that Swapo would look to align its policies to the goals of the Harambee Prosperity Plan, which was initiated by President Hage Geingob after the 2012 policy resolutions had already been adopted.
Geingob’s economic advisor, Dr John Steytler, is expected to deliver a presentation on Harambee, a plan he helped to spawn.
Harambee seeks to accelerate existing government developmental plans and makes the fight against poverty its overall objective.
There would also be presentations on the Swapo Party ideology, by former NHE CEO Vinson Hailulu. Land Reform Minister Utoni Nujoma is set to deliver a presentation on the land question.
Works Minister Alpheus !Naruseb is due to deliver a presentation on the business model for Swapo enterprises, which currently hold shares in MultiChoice Namibia, MWeb Namibia, Namibia Protection Services, Kalisata Mining Enterprises and NamHealth. Kalahari Holdings, Swapo’s main company, owns subsidiaries, such as Namib Contract Haulage, New Dawn Video Production, NamPrint and Ndilimani Cultural Troupe.
The issues that were interrogated at the first and last policy conference included the New Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework (NEEEF), which government is currently pushing to implement, amid mixed reactions from the public.
NEEEF in its current form calls for any new white-owned businesses to avail at least 25 percent shareholding in their business to previously racially disadvantaged groups.
The ratings agency, Fitch, subsequently downgraded Namibia’s economic outlook from stable to negative, partly because of the perceived negative impact of NEEEF on foreign investment.
Government has remained firmly in its trenches on the issue, with President Hage Geingob adamant that those who benefited from national resources under the dark days of apartheid must now share with the rest of their compatriots.
This year’s conference is also expected to produce insights into how government is addressing unemployment and poverty, economic growth and income distribution, the delivery of quality healthcare and quality education after the 2012 conference demanded solutions to these challenges.
The promotion and sustenance of moral values, gender equality, land acquisition and distribution, environmental sustainability and protection, inner-party governance, generational transition, nation-building and youth development were also discussed in 2012 with a view to addressing these concerns.
The party’s think-tank was due to fine-tune the technical aspects of the final conference documents, following which the politburo and central committee would consider the documents for presentation at the party’s elective congress.
In terms of inner-party governance the party has since its last policy conference amended its constitution, which helped enhance gender equality in the party through what is called “the zebra list” of elected party officials.
Thirteen policy papers were presented to the 2012 conference by the think-tank. It is not clear how many policy papers would be presented at this year’s conference.
The policy positions adopted at this year’s conference are expected to be discussed at Swapo’s elective congress in 2017 with a view to adopting them for implementation.