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Politics

Inside President Hage’s Politburo Talking Points

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The Swapo Party Politburo is currently underway in Windhoek, Monday the 20th of February 2017.

-By Hage Geingob President of Swapo & President of Namibia.

  • Let me welcome all of you to the first SWAPO Party Politburo meeting of the Year 2017 and also wish you all a Happy New Year.
  • We are calling this year, the year of rededication. As a nation, we are rededicating ourselves to our core national value, which in turn are SWAPO values as well.
  • This is the year we rededicate ourselves to the ideals of our SWAPO Party as per the SWAPO Party Constitution.
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to unite the people of Namibia, irrespective of race, religion, sex, or ethnic origin into a democratic, vibrant and peace-loving nation;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to defend and protect Namibia’s hard-won freedom and independence;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to foster a sense of common purpose and collective destiny among Namibian people;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to combat retrogressive tendencies of tribalism, ethnicity, nepotism, racism, sexism, chauvinism, regionalism, personality cult, etc.;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to instill in the Namibian people a spirit of patriotism and to develop in them the consciousness that they are the masters of their own destiny;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to educate the people to uphold, with honour and pride, Namibia’s emblems which constitute the symbols of the country’s sovereignty, the constitution, the national flag, the national anthem, the coat of arms, etc.;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to promote the development of the culture of the Namibian people through the reconstruction of the nation’s system of education, the encouragement of cultural exchanges with other nations as well as incentives to Namibians who show potential for technological and artistic creativity;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to ensure that Namibia works, on the one hand, in close cooperation with other African states, to advance the cause of African unity and, with all the other states to promote world peace and security, on the other;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to fight under development, poverty, illiteracy and disease;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to promote accelerated economic development and to create a balance and interlinkages between the primary and the secondary sectors of our economy in order to promote self-reliance and the upliftment of the standard of living of the vast majority of the Namibian people;
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to invest by way of acquiring shares or otherwise in any viable business, venture or enterprise; and
    • Let us rededicate ourselves to establish companies, close corporations and any other business organization, either wholly owned by the PARTY or the PARTY in partnership with either organizations or institutions, with the view to generating funds necessary to ensure the smooth function and operations of the PARTY.

Comrades, this Year 2017, let us challenge ourselves as leaders, as cadres, as functionaries; to reignite the entire Namibia with the flames of unity and patriotism. Let us rededicate ourselves to eradicate the scourges of poverty, hunger and corruption so that we can build a strong, united and unbreakable Namibian House. Together we stand, divided we fall. One Namibia, One Nation.

SWAPO united, SWAPO victorious, Now hard work!

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The enlightenment of Theo Ben Gurirab

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The quest for independence started long before the formation of the Swapo Party.

Today as I sit in retirement from public life, I spend my time with family. The younger generation comes up with questions on the family tree or what happened to so and so in the 1960s or in the 1980s.

Some want to enquire about their parents, others want to understand the family tree.

I spent 27 years (1962-1989) outside Namibia. Today I read a lot and compare notes with some of the older generation who are alive.

Well, of course I miss the daily routine of set programmes, chairing meetings, planning, engaging visitors to Parliament etcetera.

Role in the liberation struggle

I didn’t get involved in the struggle for liberation as an honourable or even as a member of the Swapo Party. Swapo was founded around 1960, by then I was at the teacher training and secondary school institution at Augustineum in Okahandja for a year.

Augustineum and Dobra had the largest number of student intake in the country that time and they were led by the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches respectively.

Amidst us were names like Hidipo Hamutenya, Hage Geingob, Ben Amadhila, Libertine Amathila, Apollus Biko and others, who became part of my growth.

Around that time, 1959-1960, Africa was beginning to speak louder about countries that were gaining independence, particularly from North Africa. We were excited to read and hear about the decolonisation of Africa in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, later Ghana, Mali and Guinea.

We would trace the African map of decolonisation from the North to the West and somehow became eager to have it in the South. Names like Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere were sticking on us.

Somehow that wave stopped in central Africa in Zaire (now DRC). We were baffled. But the fact that it was moving towards the southern direction left yearning for more.

Fortunately, events in South Africa had a strong impact on us as a number of our seniors studied in there. Among them was Fanuel Jariretundu Kazonguizi, who later became the President of Swanu.

He had gotten to know of prominent men in the formation of ANC such as Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and others. During the school holidays he would make time to share his experiences with them, and that mixed with what we were hearing from up North and West Africa. I can even feel the excitement today.

The names of the likes of Jomo Kenyatta, Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo were beginning to resonate as well around us.

Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda would label the Central African Federation of South and North Rhodesia as well as Nyasaland which were all under British colonial rule as, “the stupid British Central African Federation.”

That coming from a ‘white man’ was like a catalyst to a revolution. He would speak on radio in English and it was foreign to us. Afrikaans was the language then.

By the end of 1960, we had an increase in the number of students coming from Northern Namibia because of the church linkage with the North, and that’s when we got to hear of people like Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo and their exploits at the Omaruru farm.

My hometown being Usakos where the main railway was, I became fascinated by what we heard of Andimba, and considering he would stop-over my hometown on his way to Omaruru, the urge to stand up like him grew.

In that hometown, there were stories told of a great man, one railway police officer, Simon Kaukungwa who later became known as Simon Kaukungwa, was a notable figure for the Ovambo People Organisation (OPO now Swapo). I knew Kaukungwa before I knew OPO, and by that time, my mind was far ahead of Namibia’s own story.

The two main emerging political parties SWANU and OPO begun talking against the Old locations set-up and the concentration of black people. There were advocating the same things and that further played with my young mind.

There was also growing common sense between the church leaders and aspirant political organisations. Somehow the church supported our belief as we regularly met in unity to plan on how we can act.

We would talk of how the SWANU and OPO, now Swapo would speak the same language and not contradict the story. We had to petition to the United Nations with one tone. I was not politically conscious that time, but my brain was being washed on the language against the common enemy.

We had to know of the difference between apartheid and colonisation, and our engagements during sports activities at the school institutions allowed us time to discuss what was happening in other countries, such as the mobilisation of the ANC in South Africa and the birth of the Pan Africanist Congress. We were linking what all these people were saying, Nkrumah was saying ‘Africa must be free’, we enjoyed it but did not know that it required organisation, not just an expression, but ideology, a political program, individual program, individual conviction.

The police were not taking us seriously as young people, by the time we moved to finish studies in Walvis Bay in 1962 as a bunch, all these things were imprinting themselves in our minds.

I was now aware of the presence of black people across Africa. All this time, we thought we were the only blacks living with whites in our land. We were quick to embrace one of our traditional leaders, Hosea Kutako and then got to know some of our leaders from the South, whom we never knew. And these knew what the land issue meant.

The church linked us to their mother churches in Holland and other countries and connected some of our colleagues particularly those coming from the North as some church leaders would travel between the North and the UK, Germany and Holland. So there was a growing sense of common purpose between the church, traditional leaders, students, growing political aspirants.

The people such as Ben Amadhila were already part of OPO and were a step ahead some of us in being linked to some activities of the people who left the country and had an opportunity to go to the UN as petitioners where they met in person the likes Kwame Nkurumah, Julius Nyerere and President Abdul Nasser. Those connections filtered to us, through sympathetic church leaders.

When Swapo was founded, Walvis Bay was the most active branch although the HQ was Windhoek. The vigour was there. We found ways to link up with the comrades who were in Europe and the US.

The UN became the information centre since more information was being disseminated and through the grapevine we learnt that countries like Ghana and Tanzania were preparing training facilities for our people to go and prepare for war of liberation. Remember they had just been liberated.

And we had learnt of the big wars that had taken place in previous years in Namibia, even before our own parents were born. We were told our people had risen up against the Germans who had taken our land and confined us to places alien to us, and we linked that with the contract labour system. We learnt that the countries that were now independent had fought themselves through. We came to realise the consequences of defeat of the Hitler regime in World War II.

In my case, the Erongo region, my hometown, Usakos and Karibib felt the success of overcoming the Germans in the World War, and I was eager to feel it the whole country.

There was a growing desire to follow the footsteps of our forefathers who had encountered severe treatment than us.

People started sharing their frustration and anger about what the white people were doing to us. The Namas, the Hereros were all affected and shared experiences of victimisation.

These individual pieces enlightened us. It was a political awareness that grew out of social awareness about the common interest of the majority.

The clouds gather

During September 1962 school holidays, I and my colleague decided to leave the country. We met one man who had been with Hifikepunye Pohamba in Tsumeb who cooked up a story that we were not from Namibia and had come to Namibia as small boys and now our parents had died and we wanted to go back home to Nyasaland.

The paperwork was done after our leader Nathaniel Maxuilili gave us the greenlight but he was worried on how we were going to leave the country. This clever fellow who was close to Pohamba got us a ‘pass’ to leave Walvis Bay and travel out of Namibia to Nyasaland, ‘our home country’.  The regime checked our papers and records and we were clean.

My name was Peter Maxulila born in Blantyre Nyasaland and he produced a document that looked legal as if issued by the regime to allow us to travel.

It was easy for the Herero fellows to leave the country and go abroad. They would just say they are visiting their relatives in Botswana, and from there they would link to Francistown and leave the country. For some of us we had to compromise.

As we left we passed through Windhoek and spent some days trekking prominent Swapo and Swanu personalities to give us money because we were going to pass through South Africa and we wanted tips on what to avoid in South Africa.

A popular name was Brian Geingob, the acting Secretary General of Swapo, who called himself Brian Bassingwaighte. He assisted us greatly with an introductory letter outside Namibia so that they know we were not Nyasaland people but Namibians.

It was on a Sunday when Joshua Hoebeb was playing the trumpet, that we left by train through Upington, then Mafikeng, until we reached Francistown.  We arrived safely, not arrested or molested by the regime.

Four days later we were in Francistown where we met Peter Nanyemba, Peter Katjavivi, Fernand Meroro and two other guys whom we had met in Windhoek and had left a few days before us.

I knew Nanyemba from my days when Ben Amadhila had introduced him to me when we were working to raise pocket money at the factories. So we easily gelled for the week we stayed there.

If you successfully reached Francistown, you were virtually West bound because it a had strong underground colony. ZAPU in Bulawayo Zimbabwe, ANC was operational, Swapo was strong there and also the Zambian party UNIP of Michael Tembo would congregate between Bulawayo and Francistown through regional representatives. Michael Mawema was a popular name of Zapu, he would allow us to visit Zimbabwe. Nanyemba would take us into Zimbabwe by train for fun.

Until today I don’t know why Nanyemba got arrested in the train, when we were supposed to keep a low profile.

When Nanyemba was arrested, one fellow called Brian wrote a letter that he asked one South African, a former college mate in South Africa, to deliver to New York to Mburuma Kerina at the UN about the Namibian students arrested by Rhodesian police. It was very convincing. There was petitioning and there were released and in no time we linked up in Zambia to go to Dar es Salam towards the end of September. It was the first time in Dar es Salaam when I was with Libertine Amathila and others that we got to witness independence when Nyerere took over. Just that feeling was enough to boost the cause.

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I don’t need to be everywhere- Sam Nujoma

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The Office of the Founding President Dr. Sam Nujoma has explained his absence at the opening of Parliament by President Dr Hage Geingob.

This is not the first time the Founding Father has skipped key events particularly of national importance and it was made worse when the Director of Ceremonies observed his absence during the welcoming remarks.

But Dr Nujomaís spokesperson John Nauta said his absence was nothing out of the ordinary.

ìHe is an old man. He needs to rest. Yes, he was invited and accepted the invitation but temperatures later on soared and because of the tent set-up and his age, he felt the heat was not going to do him any good and thus decided at the last minute to cancel the schedule. You could see even the politicians who attended the ceremony struggled with the heat. What more for an 86-year old?î said Nauta.

The Office of the Founding Father further rubbished rumours that Nujomaís continued absence at key events was a sign of rifts within the top stratum of the party.

ìIf he is there you say he is controlling, if he is not there you say he is remote controlling or sabotaging. That is cheap politics. Some even say he is not well, whenever he is not in attendance. The Founding Father in this case is not a member of parliament, so he is not compelled to be there. It is his personal decision and in this case it was the heat that stopped him. If anyone doubts his health, let them walk in anytime, I will take them to him,î added Nauta.

He furthered that Nujoma has not been interfering in any forms of government or party business, dismissing a link with the AR Movement. This month in the High Court, the ruling Swapo party accused Elijah Ngurare as the ideological father of the Affirmative Repositioning movement.

That Ngurare had addressed the ARís legal consultative forum on July 4 2015 at the NTN in Windhoek, attended by over 300 young professionals, and then travelled to Etunda Farm to meet with the Founding Father on July 06, who was meeting the Cuban Five, had left the Party in awe over the relationship Ngurare was trying to paint between the Founding Father and AR.

Reacts Nauta, ìThe Founding Father welcomes anyone he feels at Etunda. It is his house, just like your own house, it is your own choice who visits you and when. There is no link whatsoever and the (founding) President is not angry at anyone. Give him a break; people must stop interpreting his appearance or non-appearance to suit their own political positions.î

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