Don’t play with fire – Geingob warns

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop-President Hage Geingob has warned Swapo Party members that the country could go up in flames if the peace and stability that prevails is undermined.

Geingob was addressing a well-attended Swapo star rally at Keetmanshoop on Saturday where he warned that development can only be achieved if there is peace and stability within the country and cautioned that people should not get bored of peace.

He said some people ridicule him and the party when they talk of the importance of sustaining Namibia’s hard-won peace, but maintained that the country cannot afford political chaos and social unrest, as has happened in many countries that are now in ruins.

“When we say that after our independence we must maintain our peace, you are being ridiculed that you are just hand-clapping people, who must go and eat peace. Don’t play with fire, comrades!”

He pointed to countries such as Syria, Iraq and Libya, saying in those countries certain factions disrupted the peace, with dire consequences for the people of those countries and warned that Namibia cannot afford to find itself in a similar situation. “Look at Libya. The Americans went there to remove Gaddafi and thought they are going to bring peace…

“But what do we have today? After many years people are starving there, children are running around with hunger and nowhere to sleep. Is that what we want?”

He said there are individuals that are hellbent on destroying Namibia and promised the sizeable audience in the stands that he would not sit back and watch such destructive tendencies to go unchecked, but would defend “what we fought for”, cautioning his detractors that it is easier to destroy than it is to build.

He also called on Swapo members to revisit the party constitution and to familiarise themselves with the objectives of the party, so that they are properly guided in their actions.

He said Swapo does not believe in or support discrimination and that the party has a principle that no one shoud be left out – unless they are “troublemakers”.
“No one is left out, unless you are a troublemaker, and [then] it’s not Swapo that’s leaving you out, you are leaving yourself out,” he said.

Geingob also hit out at individuals who have declared his administration a failure after just two years into his five-year term.

“I was elected, so allow me to finish my term. You can’t interfere while I’m just in my second year next week. I still have three years to go, now you want to say Hage has failed. How did the government fail?” he asked.

Geingob also touched on the land issue, saying the Swapo government did not take anyone’s land, but was nevertheless committed to solving the land issue.

“Ancestral land was taken in 1904. Was Swapo there? I don’t hear people say the white people own the land. They just have problems with other black people…

“Why do you think that Swapo will be against you getting your land back?” he asked.
On development, Geingob said although much was done after independence, much more still needed to be done, but he observed that the scale of poverty and inequality in the country was not brought on by Swapo or himself, but by the erstwhile colonisers.

“When we are saying is it’s not Swapo or Hage who brought this poverty, it’s historical poverty. People say we just want to blame apartheid, but apartheid must be blamed. Why not? We have structural inequalities here and it comes from apartheid.”

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