Windhoek-Former Swapo parliamentarian Bernadus Clinton Swartbooi announced his resignation from the party yesterday, saying his recall from parliament is a huge weight lifted off his shoulders. “If I could take out my heart and show you the extent of freedom I feel, and if you could be shown the pictures of how peacefully I sleep after I had been recalled, you will be surprised about my deep sense of happiness,” he said to a packed Commando Hall in Katutura.
Amid ululations and whistling, Swartbooi made this colourful announcement: “I hereby publicly announce without any fear or contradictions, that I proudly, loudly and publicly, leave the Owambo People’s Organisation [OPO] … when you meet me next time, I am neither an honourable nor a comrade. I am, I was, I will be, till death do me part, Bernadus Swartbooi.”
“I am free now from OPO – our leaving OPO does not mean when the time comes to represent Namibia, our Owambo people should be left out, they are part of us.
“We cannot be divorced because that OPO has betrayed the Owambo people also,” he said.
Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba yesterday said he is yet to receive an official communication of resignation from Swartbooi, or Henny Seibeb, who also announced his resignation from Swapo at the same event.
“We did not receive anything yet. If they have resigned they will know how to send them to us. That’s not what is important – if they so announced publicly, that’s what they have done. When or how they will send it is not really important,” Mbumba said.
Swartbooi said he had long ago ditched his membership card. “I threw it away already,” said the former governor of //Kharas, who was last year fired by President Hage Geingob as deputy land reform minister, following remarks he made about how land is being distributed in Namibia. He has been a member of parliament since 2015.
“It’s not a sad moment for me,” said Swartbooi.
“I want to thank the dictators of Swapo for granting us freedom and pulling us out of parliament. We will go do the work of agitation even more sharp and publicly. We will expose their corrupt deeds,” he threatened.
Swartbooi said he was not surprised by his recall from parliament this week.
“I am not surprised where I am today. I expected it. In fact, I worked for it. Many of you will be saying I will go hungry, and asking how I will feed my family. That’s an irrelevant question because other Namibians also have the same concerns about where they will sleep and how they will feed their family.”
He was nevertheless emphatic that the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) would not be turned into a political party.
His fellow LPM campaigner Henny Seibeb also announced his resignation from the ruling party. Seibeb once served as personal assistant to former Swapo secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana.
Swartbooi lashed out at President Geingob whom he accused of failing to collectively address pressing issues, unlike his predecessor former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, saying: “We have a 75-year-old child in State House.”
He also said he was recalled from parliament, and dismissed from the deputy minister post, for simply fighting a just cause, yet Geingob continues defending other political leaders who made public tribal remarks. Swartbooi was referring to Omusati Governor Erginus Endjala who issued a public apology after a voice recording of him making tribal remarks went viral. Omaheke Governor Festus Ueitele also had to publicly apologise after a voice recording of him making tribal remarks was circulated on social media as well.
Swartbooi said while Namibia is acclaimed for its good constitution, its political leaders are the “most intolerant and most undemocratic beings which reflect a deep sense of their lack of internalization and lack of acceptance of the ordinary”.