Swapo faces a defining moment
Events unfolding within the ruling party since the announcement of the Electoral College results last week point to a party that might have created a leadership vacuum by accident.
Over the weekend the party launched its election manifesto and introduced their sole candidate to the forthcoming elections in November Dr Hage Geingob, but one must admit the proceedings were done on a sub-par attendance from the usual Swapo we have all gotten used to.
Here is a party that is going through a transition from being driven by the liberation stewards to the young Turks but is the process unfolding in a manner that will steer the party foward and maintain a strong bond between the new leadership and the old guard. The simple answer to this judging from the last weekend event is no.
Swapo by nature has been one of the few liberation movements in the Southern African Development that has managed succession politics to the best of their ability. In their way of moving foward, Swapo has always been blending youth and experience.
Whenever a transition within Swapo was done, it was well managed and a leeway created from the Swapo Youth League to rise bit by bit. This was the way Swapo managed their democracy. Whether the outside world liked it or not it created cohesion and a better managed succession plan.
Meanwhile to put that aside, Swapo might suffer the risk of losing all its senior members because the bulk of them do not feel like they are being given an opportunity in the ruling party. It is one thing to admit that at one point the fathers will make way for the sons but when the fathers are literally pushed out the challenge is that the house might burn and the fathers might keep quiet just to prove their worth.
It is rather challenging for the ruling party going foward that the Tangas group and the liberation group has been ejected from the revolutionary party at their guidance and advice would have made a big difference in nurturing the young turks. Swapo for the first time in a long time faces the reality of having a premature cabinet that has never experienced the pressure that comes with such responsibility because the party list has a good number of people who have never been to parliament.
Swapo also faces a very difficult balancing act of convincing the ejected old guard that they are more Swapo now when they are outside the circle than when they were inside. Infact Swapo leadership of current needs to dig deep into their hearts in a manner that accommodates everyone.
If soul searching is not done in time to bridge the gap, the party will have a scenario where the old guard that remains in firm control of the party through the Central Committee might as well make it difficult for the young Turks to flourish till 2017.
How the party explains the absenteeism of senior officials to an event of such magnitude is beyond comprehension but anyone with an outside eye can read that the old guard is communicating something and the young Turks are portraying that all is well.
The notion of pretending everything is well in a house where emotions are boiling will result in the whole house burning down while others are hiding fire extinguishers.
This is a defining moment that the party needs to create comfort for both winners and losers.