Credentials of Swapo top candidates questioned

Tujoramajo Kasuto

Political analysts have poked holes in the credibility of the nine candidates who are running for Swapo Party’s three top positions, namely Vice President, Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General.

Going through the candidates, the analysts are in agreement that Swapo has a leadership crisis.

The group that seems to be campaigning together and share messages on their respective campaign pages are said to have been prematurely conceived as there is an alleged dark cloud of corruption hanging over some of them.

According to Ndumba Kamwanya the group also lacks ‘’relevant political history’’.

He said the online strategy employed by the group is nothing but slate politics, basically saying if you vote for me you must also vote for the other two. The group that has been posting their profiles on each other’s pages is Saara Kuukongelwa Amadhila, for Vice President, Armas Amukwiyu, as Secretary General and Evelyn Nawases-Tayele as Deputy Secretary General.

He said, in a way, the camp operates like a ‘’political slate where if want to be the VP, but my SG and Deputy must be so and so. It is clear that there is some sort of camp or coalition among the candidates’’.

The group market Kuungongwelwa Amadhila as representing ‘’organic unity, competence, generational progression’’. But, Kamanya disagrees saying her progress has not been organic since her appointment as Director General of the National Planning Commission. ‘’She was put in government and groomed to become that and end up where she is. It is not organic that she ended up where she is, and it is not organic in the sense that she was not actively involved in grassroots movements and was not an activist. She does not represent this, as she was purposefully and internationally placed where she started and there is no organic growth,’’ he noted.

For Professor Joseph Diescho, she has ‘’No demonstrated conviction in any leadership values, no empathetic tendencies with people in pain. Not a people’s person by any stretch of the imagination’’.

These comments were taken from an online comment by Diescho about the three Vice Presidential candidates.

According to Diescho she has her fingerprints on ‘’shady and dodgy family businesses’’ which disqualifies here to steward Namibia.

The self-exiled professor commenting on Netumbo’s ambitions to retain the Vice President position says the incumbent while having the most experience among the crop of wannabees ‘’a leader in her own right, she has not demonstrated before’’.

‘’Netumbo is the most decent, the least corrupt and the most charismatic of the lot. Whether she has demonstrated a conviction in some fundamental values and ethics of leadership is a measure where she deserves the benefit of the doubt,’’ states Diescho.

On the candidacy of Pohamba Shifeta, he comments that in ‘’all fairness a non-candidate. Some sound adult advice that he stays in the lane of perpetual ministerial ambitions might be about the best counsel he deserves’’.

On Nawases-Tayele projecting herself as a messenger for Intergenerational harmony, Kamwanya says in his understanding, he does not see harmony between the two generations, but saying ‘’harmony needs to exist in terms of purpose, beliefs and ideologies but we haven’t seen it at party level or have we seen any candidate including Nawases herself speaking about those values’.

‘’She needs to clearly specify what some of those values are. We cannot just use terminologies and terms without defining them. I think that is where she needs to make it clear, so the delegates can understand what she means with generational value,’’ he said.

To him, there is no way that Amukwiyu can be an institutional memory of the Swapo Party, ‘’because he is too young to understand the party’s institutional memory, and he has not been party long enough to have a long institutional memory on which to build’’.

Analyst and historian Henning Melber states that it is clear that we are battling for influence over the party’s future by ‘’new formations determined to replace the old guard.

Asked by the seeming coalition or a slate between Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, Amukwiyu and Naweses-Tayele, Melber replied ‘’it raises questions about whether the manner in which these campaigns are carried out fosters trust and confidence’’.

‘’Vague promises can never replace a concrete policy programme. Nothing of this kind of propaganda seems to be substantiated. Campaigners throw around meaningless slogans. Their support would be more meaningful, credible and serious, if it would be based on measurable statements: how do the candidates achieve the declared goals?’’

What the candidates seem to offer judging from messages on their campaign posters, Melber says is a low level of political culture that exists.

Melber notes that, if policy makers in the dominant party are elected on the basis of such pseudo-programmes, Namibians should not be disappointed when all that is delivered in the future will remain more promises.

On the question that Kuukongelwa-Amadhila is ‘’unfairly vilified’’ for unproven corruption and favouritism allegations, Kamanya says she must accept responsibility for what went wrong and why various projects failed under her leadership.

‘’What she needs to explain is what she did to prevent these things when she was in office in those various roles.’’

Similarly, academic and analyst Hoze Riruako stated that based on the split and support for

Kuugongelwa by the two SG candidates who are very close to the current president, as well as the lack of presidential endorsement, it is most likely that the president is supporting the coalition behind the scenes.

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