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Swanu Was Never A Herero Party – Tangeni Iiyambo

By: Justicia Shipena

The former president of Namibia’s oldest party Tangeni Iiyambo says the party had clean audit reports since his helm.

This comes as Swanu elected Evilastus Kaaronda as the new president at the party’s congress this past weekend. Before becoming president, Kaaronda was appointed the party’s secretary-general last year.

“Over the past five years that I have been at the helm, we had clean financial audit reports. Of which some were even qualified,” said Iiyambo.

According to Iyambo, Swanu was suffering financially “despite getting parliament funds because of the one seat,” he said.

Speaking to The Villager on Tuesday, Iiyambo said Kaaronda would take the party forward.

“I just handed over to my secretary-general, who is a bit younger and will take the party forward.”

Iiyambo narrated that he did not dream of becoming a politician.

“I don’t regard myself as such permanently because I believe in change. I have other ambitions and things that I want to do and pursue that I couldn’t do while I’m politicking,” he said.

Touching on his future at the party, he said he would be on the advisory team.

“I will probably chair the advisory council of the party. I will work very close to where I have brought the party so far,” he added.

He describes himself as a unifying president or a unifying figure.

“I believe I have done several milestones for the party, and I have brought it to where it is today. Bringing people together is another milestone.”

Iyambo added that he would carry his national responsibility through other means. “And not only through politics,” he expressed.

He further said he felt he had brought the party some kind of glory. “Henceforth, it will move on with dignity, accountability and responsibility.” He added that he is leaving the party in excellent shape with policy and programmes.

He said that a section of leaders wants to remain in power forever.

“In my case, I’m futuristic, and I believe in change. Nothing should remain constant. The population is also huge. How can one person be at the helm of an entity forever? It is somehow unacceptable,” Iyambo emphasised.

When quizzed about the faction of Herero and Owambo in the party, Iiyambo said there had never been one.

Last year, a rival faction led by the former president Rihupisa Kandando passed a vote of no confidence in Iiyambo and reportedly elected Charles Katjivirue as the new leader. The divide is believed to be along tribal lines.

“Swanu is never a Herero party. It is a national union. So it is for all Namibians. Of course, previously, Ovaherero leaders led it, and most members are Hereros, but it is the only party in Namibia that is for all people.”

“In the beginning, it was founded by different ethnic groups.”

He said he believes the notion that Swanu is a Herero party is false and should not be advanced.

Also speaking to The Villager, the party’s new president, Kaaronda, said he plans to bring forth things people need.

“It is more doing and less talking.”

Kaaronda said he would also like to address the issue of unemployment in Namibia.

“We believe it can be achieved through a modernised industrial agriculture initiative,” he said.

Additionally, he also stamped that the party has no faction between the Ovaherero and Owambo people in the party.

“We have good representation from the northern part of our country. I don’t think Namibians, in general, believe in tribalism. If any member of Swanu deserves to lead Swanu, they will lead the party.”

Justicia Shipena

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