Two centres of power divisive, say Swapo wings

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-The Swapo head office in Windhoek was a hive of activity yesterday after Swapo members – including senior ministers – came out in large numbers to denounce the emerging concept of two centres of power, saying the very idea spawne hostility among members and is not conducive to forging a united party.

The two centres of power concept that some people are advocating for is a hostile proposal, one said.
“Down with the two centres of power. We are not for two centres of power… We can’t walk on two roads. Even the Bible says you cannot serve two masters. We must give both powers to Hage [Geingob], he never even ruled for a five-year term as party president,”

Swapo Women’s Council (SWC) secretary Eunice Ipinge said during a joint meeting of the SWC, Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) and Swapo Party Elders’ Council (SPEC) yesterday.

As the three wings of the party, Ipinge said they want to make it clear that they do not support the concept of two centres of power. They are solidly behind Geingob and his team, she said.

Critics of the ‘two centres of power’ concept say the principle of inner-party unity and democracy was established by founding president Sam Nujoma and former president Hifikepunye Pohamba.

Hence, they called on delegates to the 6th Swapo congress to support and vote for one president for the party and country. “That is His Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob and his identified team, which he can work with. We must ensure continuity and a cohesive party-to-government relationship as the ruling party and avoid the idea of two centres of power and other machinations that will destroy our party and its government,” Ipinge said.

She was joined at the main table by SPYL secretary Ephraim Nekongo and SPEC secretary Mukwaita Shanyengana.
After the joint conference, they stood outside the Swapo offices singing party songs and chanting in support of Geingob, who later addressed them in a closed-door meeting.

Minister of Youth, Sport and National Service and Swapo Party presidential hopeful Jerry Ekandjo was quoted by the Windhoek Observer last week as saying the concept of two centres of power was not new to the ruling party. During a recent politburo meeting acting party president Hage Geingob, however, argued against what is widely considered a deeply divisive move.

Ipinge said they have done their research and where the concept of two centres of power was implemented it proved not to be a good experience. She said the three Swapo wings were thus urging national and local leaders to shun such divisive politics.

“While it is democratic to challenge an incumbent president, who deservedly must stand for the party presidency, because he is State president of the Swapo Party, comrades must do so with maturity and in a manner that will strengthen our party. We are all democrats. Part of the game is winning and part of the game is losing. We hope that those that lose will accept their fate and embrace the winner,” she urged.

Swapo will host its highly anticipated 6th ordinary congress from November 23 to 27 in Windhoek, where delegates will elect the party president, vice-president, secretary general, deputy secretary general and members of the central committee for the 2017-2022 term.

Ipinge said as leaders of the three main contingents of the party, they were united in urging members to embrace democracy and the challenges it presents. “Democracy is about choices. Yet, once the race is over, we urge all our members and the entire rank-and-file of the Swapo Party to rally behind the Swapo Party president and the incoming team, as one party, with one president, so that we can face our political rivals at the ballot box for the presidential and national elections in 2019 as a united party.”

Ipinge also warned party members against falling into ideological traps and propagandistic misgivings, often couched in the language of vibrant democracy, when it is indeed a manifestation of chaos in the making.

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