Firing Iivula-Ithana, Ekandjo a pathetic move by President Geingob says Helmut Angula …as analyst predict a looming negative force of instability
A possible revenge against President Hage Geingob from former home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, and former youth and sport minister Jerry Ekandjo will have negative consequences on the Swapo Party and the national economy, Helmut Angula has warned.
Angula who contested Geingob’s faction in last year’s congress labelled last week’s presidential decision to chop-off the two as “pathetic” and ill-timed as the party braces for elections.
Speaking with The Villager this week, Angula nevertheless pleaded against retaliation and revenge on Geingob saying it would distabilise the business environment and create suspicion in the economy.
He could also not predict whether Swapo will suffer a split as was seen when Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) was formed.
“I don’t know from the heart and mind but I strongly advise that it will not help us address our economic problem. It will only further (ruin) the national economy. What will happen actually is, if those affected try to mobilise and regroup then there will be revenge, that revenge will end up in an economic boycott where businesses will be interfered with. It means the financial institutions will shy away from giving any credit,” he said.
However, Angula has come out to state that the latest purge of Iivula-Ithana and Ekandjo is set to distabilise the revolutionary movement as seeds of division have been planted.
Such a situation creates obstacles for a party that is gearing to canvass for support against rival opposition forces.
This, however, will not be the first time that Swapo has faced a crisis and still managed to sail past its rivals at national-polls level.
“It is a cause for concern within Swapo, indeed. It is going to stabilise because again whereas we are supposed to mobilise for the national forces to tackle our economic crisis, we are re-enforcing division and suspicion. There is no talk about how to mobilise the mass in the resettlement areas and shanty towns. How to clean up to avoid the epidemics that are confronting us.”
“In those days it could be recalled that whenever there was one symptom of cholera somewhere in Engela, we quickly said that somebody came from Angola or Zambia but these things are in the capital. I don’t see the leadership mobilising at party levels. It’s about who disrespects me, who says something about me. Not about who is not performing,” he said.
Angula has said there is a concentration towards consolidating power which is not helping Swapo as a party.
The politician rather pointed out at more pressing issues affecting ordinary Namibians and has called for “unity of purpose”.
“It should have been at least the time to motivate people to create and make land available for irrigation. You see that the rains are not there. There will be a shortage in crop production,” he said.
And what would be the way forward?
“Well, there are not so many wise men that are left who are energetic. Our mature leaders, maybe are very old now. They just sit and watch and do not help. Those who are having the power are more aggressive in showing the power they have,” he said.
While there is speculation that the founding president might not have taken the firings lightly, Angula said he could not rule out the possibility of his displeasure.
“I do not now, I have not seen him since after congress but you will be surprised, I mean, who is happy? Especially if you talk to veterans, people who have invested all their lives in the building of Swapo. Who can be happy to see Swapo being cast into junk? It has never been in our minds that it would come one day?” he said.
Business tycoon-cum-politician, Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun sounded not pleased with the shake up that claimed the scalps of the two ministers, who happen to be her known-allies.
“Go and ask the president why he did that,” she told The Villager.
However, prolific political analyst, Hoze Riruako reasons that the president could have been better-advised had he not fired his minions, but rather reshuffling them to avoid stirring up a hornet’s nest within Swapo.
“The party is already fragmented. On the surface, things appear to be well but when you go a skin deeper you will see that there are different camps within Swapo. I think what the people were voting for was unity,” he says.
Despite Ekandjo and Iivula-Ithana having conceded congress defeat and urging their supporters to rally behind the president, Riruako says it appears now that the president did not take them for their word.
“If I was the president, I would be cognizant of the fact that 2019 is around the corner and 2020 is also around the corner when we will have the national assembly elections. In all that, one was hoping that the president would go through this election with the same popularity that he enjoyed throughout. With the firing of these two senior Swapo cadres, there is going to be a negative force in Swapo.”
“They have two years to work at it to make sure that come 2019 their voice is heard, that is my fear. This thing is going to have a backlash,” he says.
Riruako is however not convinced about the odds being in favour of such a force in wrestling power off Geingob.
“The political base of Swapo is mainly dominated by the northerners and these are the same people that have been fired. In my opinion 2019 and 2020 will not be the same as it would have been had the president kept these people on board,” he opines.