I like to describe President Hage Geingob as a modern leader, a leader who understands how the modern world works and where it is going to.
A leader who truly believes in democracy is accessible and likes to engage people.
However we have seen in recent months how some people have misinterpreted his welcoming nature and openness for weakness.
Some people thought they thought knew him too well to not only stop respecting him because they have seen his bad qualities; they thought they knew him so well that they can topple him.
This is why there is a saying in English that that familiarity breeds contempt.
For months we saw the President’s critics reel off a laundry list of unsupported accusations with an air of absolute authority.
They united in a movement strategically stacked against President Hage, united in endless lies, the character attacks, the distortions of the President’s and his agenda.
When they realise that they could not play him like an instrument, they thought they could read him like a book.
That’s how they went on to the unit in their twisted caricature of the government and the President as portrayed in the media and social media, that only gives voice to those devoid of an iota of truth when wailing about government and the President.
Theirs has been on the following, ‘ to taint the President through innuendo, throw enough dirt at him so that those with lack of understanding of the politics of the day develop an instant negative association with his name.’
With some government tender big money people hovering in the shadows, the outfit united in spending inordinate sums to paint a nasty picture of President Hage, with a group of propagandists with sophisticated techniques hellbent at tarnishing the image of the President and his administration.
Any impartial individual, having studied the dynamics around this force, wouldn't help but see that the hyperbolic level of hypocrisy shown was rather mindboggling. But it went past hypocrisy now, it went way beyond, and its force was frightening.
They tried to capture the party with their rotten agenda. They worked hard on the regional level; they worked hard in their sordid agenda to push their way through.
They bred a cloud of mistrust and suspicion among cadres in the party and were damn sure on getting their way.
Along the way some of us started asking ourselves questions like; Is it too late for the Swapo Party to rid itself of these rotten apples? Are the party’s best days of unity and being principled behind it? Can the under siege and sickly party be saved? One of the Swapo elders the other day stated that “The Swapo Party is all we have got, but the truth is we are on the brink of losing it to economic opportunists and power-hungry forever.”
Judging from all the chaos from the regional level up, it certainly felt that we are that close to the beginning of the end of unity in Swapo.
Then the reckoning day came, we all know what happened and now is the question of the way forward. How do we do we prevent things like this from happening in the future again. If there is something we can take from the road to congress is the lessons learned.
The President was exposed to so disrespect and insults. Then you ask yourself what made people feel that they could speak about the President with so much contempt and demean him with such haughty impunity? As much as we know these were a corrupt, tribal and power hungry bunch, I feel that certain preconditions allowed them to exist and breed.
Right at the outset, I would like to beg my own strong sympathies being in the direction of too much freedom of speech. With all due respect to all that believe in freedom of expression, because I’m one such, I think on some level we tend to misuse our right to air of our thoughts and express ourselves.
Generally speaking, to an educated mind in the right earnest, beliefs do not exist for their selves. They exist only because they a form a pathway to reach something or somewhere.
But in so much as, we Namibians, use them as tools of power of politics in this country, that we inhabit , the same beliefs that teach power become a battleground for hatred and animosity. And a lot of the times we tend to forget that it is the right to air our views and thoughts that help define us and determine what type of human beings we are.
As we witness recently during the campaign in the run-up to the congress, many people will be judged from how they exercised their freedom of expression. The democratic system of government we have just allowed us to express ourselves adequately, in progress just painting an indelible picture of our thoughts and who we are.
For example, as expected in this country of ours, people enjoyed unlimited heights of freedom of speech during the campaigns and by so doing they showed us who they really are.
Some people thought they could just about say anything, and this led to people throwing insults and unfounded accusations to others.
What many forgot is that not many things said can be unsaid or soothed with a few apologetic utterances. Some of the things said, were reckless and some downright suicidal to the point that some have now rendered themselves unfit to be part of a running administration. That’s when we don’t use our freedom of expression wisely, that’s when this freedom and other freedoms become a liability to our personal progress.
During the campaign on more than one occasion the President reminded his opponents that the campaign is within one party. Whatever they were going to say about each other should not be in the extreme to the point that there would no room to hug and hold hands after congress.
While Armas Amukwiyu was a bit careful in his campaign speeches and overall approach, the like of Pendukeni Ithana and Petrina Haingura thought they could seize the moment, and in so doing caused themselves irreparable damage.
They spewed so much bile and venom in their campaign speeches alright, but boy didn’t they look like idiots when they were forced to swallow their solid words in their speeches after the results were announced.
In the aftermath of congress and the highly anticipated reshuffle, of course, reconciliation is the best policy for any leader who is a unifier like President Hage.
But suppose on some level the President decides to institute the policy of what I call reconciliation without association, I wouldn’t hate him for it. For those who would not agree with the party’s sanctity of entering through the front door and respecting its culture, I have nothing, but contempt.
For, these are the people who refuse to accept the traditions of the party and are attempting to create the future of this country in a vacuum. They invite doom, because their construction is not based on the right of destruction.
Their so-called construction based on apparently restoring Swapo has meant power politics at its core. They fail to understand that Swapo as a political Party cannot begin to envision its future without a proper embracing of the past and respect its traditions.
Politics in all its myriad formats form a part of belief as that creates a certain culture and traditions. Of course, the definitions of culture or traditions may differ, but one thing that remains is that culture is what makes us cultured.
It is what tells us that politics is a means not an end and that any dealings with each other for the sake of betterment of the party and the country at large within the party should be dealt in a respectful manner for we are all comrades. It is what deals with the handling of minds and moulding of hearts for the future of the party. Then, what were they denying?
President Hage is as much part of the history of Swapo as he takes from its traditions having