The Central Committee of SWAPO has convened in its much awaited assembly to nominate the candidates for the top four positions in the governance of the party and by extension the Land of the Brave. This was in line with the party’s constitution that there be elective congress every five years, the last one being in November 2012 which elected Hage Geingob as Vice-President of the party under then President Hifikepunye Pohamba. Consequently Geingob became the party’s presidential candidate and won the 2014 national presidential election by an overwhelming majority. In 2015 Pohamba resigned the party presidency and as per the constitution of the party, the Vice-President was tasked to serve as Acting-President till the next congress.
Over several weeks, as part of the contestation for the party presidency and other political power insecurities, the country witnessed an unprecedented onslaught on the constitution of the Swapo party, causing the erstwhile harbinger of our freedom and independence to limp from one crisis to the other, and leaving the rank and file across the land gasping for air, with their fingers in the hair searching for an understanding about what is going on, and when, in fact the dismemberment of the party began. It is neither good nor in the national interests to see that the persons who are expected to defend and protect the foundations, values and precepts of the party now literally violate and desecrate them not once or twice but as a matter of routine. The hubris with which the top leadership of the governing party in the last two years undermined the intelligence of the rank and file, is beyond any explanation. Everybody knows that the party leadership’s conduct has brought the party the leadership into disrepute, but they speak about this at the back of their hands, for fear of recrimination. What we see is more mob hand clapping than sober countenance in both politbureau and central committee meetings.
With the exception of those who are beholden to the president for the positions they hold and to evade arrest for crimes they have committed. Already, more and more people are peeling away from the president when they realize that they are on the wrong side of history. At the moment, they are clapping hands and keeping their eyes and ears wide open, yet as soon as they are away from his bullying glare and admonitions, they speak a different language about the state wherein Namibia is due to the current leadership.
Many good party members, especially those holding good positions, concluded that speaking out against what they know is wrong would be an unnecessary risk, from the point of view of self-preservation. Politics is always about the motive of survival and the instinct of self-preservation. The road to power is littered with the corpses of the idealistic and the uncompromising lot. Very few people are ready to introduce new and unnecessary risks into their careers, especially when the majority of the officialdom is not elected but appointed. Those people who act out of self-preservation are the first to jump ship when it gets hot under their feet.
Many people fear that changing guard, that is removing Geingob, could destroy the party. Picking fights with the President and possibly tearing the party into two or three may set off an existential crisis that could render the party too vulnerable to external factors such as opposition becoming more muscular and internal encumbrances such as corruption skeletons that are too smelly and making the wardrobes collapse under their weight in a young and small country that needs the cohesion and unity, however cumbersome, of the party that brought us all thus far and without which life is unimaginable in our land. They hate the idea of being seen to tear the party apart.
In a body politic wherein the executive organ of government is superior and cabinet the most coveted place, disunity is inevitable in the high echelons of the party for as long as there is the perception that the president can make or unmake people’s political career and remove their livelihoods.
President Geingob and his team have made so many cardinal errors of judgment, especially in the management of human relations, that the ideological alignment and the moral rectitude that sustained his predecessors, are rapidly slipping away.