Swapo Party has been in existence since 19 April 1960, and this year we are celebrating 27 years of its existence. Under normal circumstances, this day ought to be celebrated the same way we celebrate the Independence Anniversary. Yes, the Independence Anniversary. One may want to ask why these two days should have equal importance.
It is the Swapo Party that brought independence to Namibia. It is the Swapo Party that gave Namibians the right to be counted. It is Swapo Party that brought democracy, where one man eventually carried one vote.
It is the Swapo Party that gave Namibians their full rights and it is the Swapo Party that today, continuously guarantees the life of every Namibian and visitors alike. It is the Swapo Party that ensured all are protected from External and internal harm. It is the Swapo Party that ensured all political parties continues to participate in the political landscape of our beautiful country.
It is Swapo Party that guaranties every citizen their freedom of expressions and freedom of association. It’s no ﬂ uke to call on ALL patriotic and loyal citizens to jointly assist me in thanking yesteryear political leaders, at whatever level of the Party they rendered their services. Thank them again for giving guidance, wisdom, and encouragement and above all, the reminders continuously give courage, now that the Party appears to be under siege.
The history of the party cannot be articulated to a wider audience without mentioning the appreciation that citizens have for those we rendered their ﬁ nancial and material support towards the attaining of the hard won independence. “Every time you gave food or money however small during the liberation struggle to a PLAN combatant,” they would say, ‘Owa kondjela oshilongo sho ye ngaho (you have contributed to the liberation struggle of your motherland),’ says Peter Shimweefeleni Kauluma.
Special mention goes to the Nonaligned Movement, Angola and Zambia, Nordic Countries, Cuba, Russia and the United Nations through its various agencies who provided material and humanitarian support in those difﬁ cult days of the liberation. Namibia is equally indebted to the different African brothers who supported use through the African Union and SADEC forerunner of Sadc.
The friendship created from the struggle days continues to shape the existence of the Party and the Namibian government. There is fair trading amongst these nations with business malpractice being rarely reported on by the day’s vigilant and agile media sector. The relationship with China as “all weather friendly” is not that well documented during the liberation struggle, but she proﬁ ts from the independent Namibia more than any other. Namibians would not have bothered much if the “all weather friends” were not involved in all sorts of crimes in Namibia.
The elders, who are rich in wisdom and guidance skills, in our homesteads at the village have been imparting their services to the current serving political leaders. This has allowed power to be transferred through a democratic process from one generation of leaders to the next. Our constitution and indeed our tradition as a party is to engage with each other at whatever level to ensure that the objectives, policies and programmes of the party are implemented for the beneﬁt of all Namibians regardless of colour, gender and age.
SADLY, HOWEVER, I tend to witness the growing indiscipline of the youth who defy orders and instructions from their fathers at will. I tend to see an impatient group of youth who want to get relevance in the party by attacking their leaders left right and centre. I see a group of young politicians getting power hungry and thinking of destabilising the Party. They claim they want to change the party from within. They want to assume control through attention-seeking tactics against the objectives and values of the mighty Swapo. A child will remain a child carrying the banner of the family through hell and through sunshine.
A disciplined child will surely protect what the family had built from generation after generation. A disciplined child will surely engage his father privately when dealing on matters of the house and the family. A disciplined child will not go to the next homestead to discuss the family problems; neither will he discuss them at the local market place. A disciplined child will never lecture the father how he must run his family. The moment you want to detect the way you are being led in public, that’s what they call rebellion.
And as a child, your companionship is cherished by everyone in the family, but that alone will never entitle you to disregard your father. The fact that you are a darling of the grandfather hasn’t elevated you above your father. That’s the African tradition and that the Swapo Party way.
The grandfather will never send you to discuss family issues with your next door neighbours. The grandfather will never encourage you to dishonor your father. In that way, he is maintaining his integrity, legacy and personality. He knows doing that will derail the smooth transition of family power that comes naturally with age and wisdom gained from yesteryear experiences. The current youth, however has no exposure to the Swapo of Namibia (as they joined Swapo Party) politics as they happened during the days the party was formed to the very years that we attained our independence.
They were never foot soldiers during the war, and they have never ﬁ red a war bullet in defence of their resources, dignity and peace which comes with political and economic independence. The current generation although still being led by those whose age during the liberation struggle was ripe enough for them to join the other in the tranches, they chose to ignore the need to participate that time, in the politics and programmes of the Party. Their political CV only starts with positions in Swapo party hierarchy. There is no mention of their names their involvement in the liberation struggle. Their association with the party came when the Swapo Party extended a hand of reconciliation to all.
Our warm and comforting hearts as a party has made some of our members misleading other cadres on the interpretation of the Party Constitution and the Swapo Party tradition on the channels and way of addressing any perceived problems within the family. It has been the way things have been done in Swapo, and it will be the way things will be done in Swapo Party. And every constitution is developed to ensure that all are protected and above all, the name and existence of the Party continues till the end. Any threat to the name and existence of the party should be severely dealt with.
Even if it means to amend the same document that should “guide us” is the only option, let it be. The name of Swapo Party and its existence should NEVER be allowed to go under siege. The Party has trained cadres who are more than ready to defend it. After all it’s the ONLY political home started by indigenous Namibians and grew into a world recognised brand.