SwapoÔÇÖs ÔÇÿself-glorifying assessmentÔÇÖ scoffed

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Analysts scoffed  the ruling SWAPO party’s seemingly self-glorifying performance assessment which saw the ruling party comfortably placing itself above average on achieving its party goals set at the 2012 policy conference.

Various analysts spoken to by The Villager noted that the judgment passed does not tally with the reality on the ground in many aspects.

Revelations from the ruling party’s policy conference held last week saw the ruling party concluding that they have at least reached a 75% implementation rate on all the laid down policies for the party formulated at the 2012 policy conference. 

Forming the nucleus of the ruling party’s policy conference of 2012 was a general consensus to lift most Namibians out of abject poverty.

The party also resolved to deliberately come up with policies that encourage including the previously disadvantaged and the previously advantaged Namibians in the mainstream economy.

There is also the thorny issue of land distribution, which the Swapo party promised to deal with but alas, the country is still tied down with very little progress on the matter because ‘the willing buyer, willing seller’ has not yielded the results expected either during the lengthy period after independence or after the policy conference of 2012.

 Before the policy conference of 2012, whose results are being scrutinised now, both former presidents Sam Nujoma and Hifikpunye Pohamba, and the incumbent Dr Hage Geingob have all publicly admitted that the ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ model has not achieved the expected results. 

Among a plethora of “achievable’s” expressed in the SWAPO manifesto of 2014, the party’s commitment to the provision of free tertiary education has eluded Namibians with the University of Namibia (UNAM) students protesting again this year to be allowed to sit for examinations despite owing the university.

Renowned researcher and labour consultant, Herbert Jauch, said the ruling party, which also subsequently is the government of the day, still has a long road to walk in terms of dealing with the challenges in the education system. 

“At tertiary level we are far away from free education. We have seen this year how students were banned from writing exams if they have not paid their tuition in full, both at UNAM and at NUST (Namibia University of Science and Technology). There were several students that were prevented from writing. This is a clear sign that we have not achieved free tertiary education. The fees are a big problem for many students from poor backgrounds,’’ said Jauch. 

Political analyst and university lecturer Phanuel Kaapama posited that the ruling party’s commitment to delivering its promises in tertiary education was questionable given that there has not been a policy in place for the realisation of the goal

“Free tertiary education has not been achieved. Before something is achievable, there is a policy in place to implement the goal and so far, there has been no draft on free tertiary education,” he said.

The analyst also submitted that despite the noted high number of women parliamentarians, Namibian women were yet to fully play their part in economic activities at equal footing with their male counterparts.

“There have been resolutions on political representation in the context of parliament, which have been achieved , where we see a high number of women parliamentarians, but when it comes to participation in economic activities, it is still a long way to go in relation to economic activities,” said Kaapama.

While SWAPO’s sixth resolution that promises the redistribution of land is still far from being implemented, Jauch said: “We must just not guess like what seems to be happening now when it is claimed that 70 % was achieved. What needs to be done now is that with each policy there should be clear indicators on how to expect the results.”

Jauch submitted that to counter the confusion, there should be a high level of harmonization between what the party wants to achieve, and what government does in order to avoid arriving at crossed roads or contradicting each other since SWAPO is the ruling party.

Commenting on the possible confusion between the HPP and the party aims, Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), Graham Hopwood, concurred that it would be more sensible if SWAPO’s policy recommendations were to be aligned with Harambee, and to inform the formulation of NDP5.  

“However, by their nature party policy recommendations are often more ambitious than government policies that are eventually adopted by the executive. Governments have to work out what is possible in terms of what funds are available. Therefore it is inevitable that some party policy recommendations will be delayed or never implemented - particularly if they have not been carefully researched and costed,” he added.

Hopewood further delivered that it was too early to judge what proportion of SWAPO’s policies have been achieved and since Government still has a five-year-term and therefore still has time to implement many policies.

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Additional reporting by Kelvin Chiringa and Aili Iilonga