Swapo 2017: What Have They Done
This is the third part in a series where The Villager will analyse what each of 11 Swapo Party top four candidates have achieved ever since they joined politics. The Villager is doing this because the outcome of the Swapo Party elective congress next month will have a bearing on the future of the country. We also welcome readers' views on the leaders. If you have any views, write to the editor at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We spoke to two analysts to talk about what they think the Swapo presidential candidate, Nahas Angula, can do differently this time around. Below is what they say:
Carola Engelbrecht - Citizens for Accountable and Transparent Society political and rights activist
It’s fascinating to see that on The Namibian front page Angula rejects the “lone wolf” tag.
Nahas Angula is a bit of a mystery man. It’s tough to know what he is thinking.
He created this other persona of himself, “citizen Nahas”.
He started writing things, not as a minister or Member of Parliament, he writes in his private capacity, and he called himself “citizen Nahas”.
I was wondering what this is. If you are an elected person and things go wrong in the country, you are supposed to speak from your position.
What you think personally and what you do in government should be harmonious. He has a split personality.
On the other hand, is Angula the SWAPO member, the Member of Parliament, the prime minister, the minister of defence, minister of education and he starts writing things as “citizen Nahas”. To me, that sounds weird.
He does not have the guts to say what needs to be said. Geingob speaks his mind all the time like Donald Trump.
Even if (he) make mistakes but at least we know who Hage Geingob is.
We don’t know who citizen Nahas is and who is Nahas Angula, the politician?
That’s the mystery. Who is this guy? During his tenure as minister of education, he brought us this Cambridge system which has not been a good system.
They threw the bath water with the baby because the old regime had to go and they wanted to show they will change everything.
Whether it's good or bad for the country, it does not matter we have to change for the sake of change. The teachers were not prepared.
They were trained in the old system and overnight (there was) the new system, and there are supposed to make a success of it, and they are struggling for decades.
Even the issue of changing time. He was the one who brought in that system because he was the minister of education.
I read from Nahas’ mouth today in The Namibian, “I stand for certain values such as sharing, social justice and pan-Africanism”.
He is very pan-Africanist. Geingob is also saying that, but he is also a man of the word. Nahas is a very reserved person.
That’s why we don’t know him. So we will not know what will happen once he is the president because during his tenure as prime minister he was not sparkling.
Nahas has a very not so great history while the Swapo was in exile.
There is a book from the first general secretary of the SWAPO youth league in exile; he is now in exile in Sweden he can’t come back soon, he says, they will kill him. In his book, he wrote how cruel Nahas was.
For instance, he would tie children to a tree in the sun and leave them there the whole day without food and water, and he would beat them.
Cruel. I just want to give that as a background. I must say, he is a bit scary at times. I don’t know whether you know about the Lubango dungeons in Angola where those Swapo who were in exile who were not dark enough, who didn’t have the right surnames, were accused of being for South Africa and put in dungeons.
When this issue was raised in parliament, I think it was Hidipo Hamutenya who raised the problem, and then Nahas just got up ice cold, he said, “Yea sorry for these people they were casualties of war.”
Finished. No regrets, no sorry, no apology, nothing. And these people are still suffering.
Nahas is the one who is very adamant about this thing that it must be buried. We need a different kind of a leader in these modern times. If he is a pan-Africanist, then pan-Africanism is clashing with contemporary reality. Nobody can stand on their own anymore.
I do not know what he means by his pan-Africanism, he says he has values, but he has not shared with us what his value is. We know that Hage Geingob loves money, he loves wealth, he loves spending.
What will Nahas bring that will change because he didn’t bring any change as a prime minister, minister of education, then he was a minister of defence, I think (that) might be suiting him the best. He speaks like an AK-47.
Very difficult to understand, so how will he represent us in the international world?
He seems to be a product of the cold war, more of the Russian military education.
One positive thing about Nahas Angula is that he has never shown any corrupt behaviour. That is, of course, a very big plus, that he is clean, he has never been implicated in any deals like Hage. But being honest, corruption-free, does that make you a national leader, a president? I have my doubts.
Ndumba Kamwanyah - Political analyst
As you have mentioned already that he is a long-serving member and he has served leadership positions in Swapo itself and also in government including the higher position as prime minister; you should give it to him to be able to serve as the president of the party. But you also have to know that being president of the party is ceremonial. The kingmaker there is the secretary general. He will have to have a strong secretary general. For the most part as the president of the party, he will be mostly ceremonial to some extent.
But the question that we should ask about Nahas Angula is about the issue of flip-flopping. Is he running for a good reason? That’s the question we need to ask. Is he running because there was fallout, between him and Geingob? Because he was disappointed after Geingob did not consult. Why is he running? Suddenly, the last minute that he decided to run, I think much as he has the potential he should not just run as revenge. He has a history of flip-flopping. Remember that the last time when he ran with the late Hidipo Hamutenya, he withdrew at the last minute at the congress. Those are the issues that should be clear. So he needs to convince the delegates that that are not the issue this time, which he is serious.
We have to figure out what is in the minds of the roughly 600 delegates. What I see here is that I doubt they will vote from the perspective of service delivery. I don’t think that they are going to vote based on their conscience; I think they are going to vote from the consciousness of their constituencies.
Whether they belong to one block or another block. I also think they are going to go by where they see there is a future for them. The politics of the belly included with fear, and that’s the trouble with the delegates. If they will be brave enough and stick to their conscience and view the candidates based on service delivery, then we will have a good outcome.