Jackie Wilson Asheeke

The social media comments of Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary for educations Hofni Iipinge are destructive. He taunted newly elected local leaders by stating that they can do nothing without the Swapo controlled central government. He is doing a victory dance on the heads of people in Namibia who are desperate for support and reassurance from a stable government. He implied that Swapo would frustrate elected officials of other parties by blocking program funds meant to help the suffering Namibian people.

Such statements tend to indicate that Iipinge has no idea of how political power works. Control at the local level is vital to maintaining control at the national level. Where does he think the Swapo votes at the national election came from – heaven? How are election events coordinated and support mobilized?

Iipinge defines himself as someone with a “mandate to protect and defend Swapo’s leadership.” His goal is not to grow and strengthen the party or help the Namibian people have a better quality of life, but only to defend Swapo ‘leaders.’ OMG.

Somebody needs to teach this young man a few things. Leaders on all levels have a mandate to defend the constitution of Namibia as a priority. Secondly, they have an obligation to promote the general welfare of the people. They have an obligation to defend the sovereignty and independence of Namibia, not Swapo ‘leaders.’ This cult worship of political personalities must end.

No individual leader is more important than helping the people live in these times of massive job losses, pandemic, and poverty.

This country’s economy is circling the drain to disaster. Entire sectors are dead and may not to the same profitable levels in the short to medium term (Travel/tourism, construction, etc…). Namibia faces an economic meltdown. Does Iipinge not see this?

Why is Swapo not mentoring and educating their young ‘leaders’ about political savvy? This young man could be parroting things that he heard somewhere in the inner halls of the party. Surely the party is grappling with how to manage the alarming political changes in the political landscape over the last two years. This young man lacks the experience to analyze comments he may have heard. It cannot be on Swapo’s serious agenda to punish the destitute people of this country (and their children), to try to weaken opposition political parties. Surely, the struggle for justice has not fallen apart to that extent.

The SPYL official admits in the media that someone insulted him online and he “got angry” and reacted by making the taunting statements. He missed the class: “Being a leader 101”. He must grow a tough skin. There is no space to let a temper tantrum eclipse political cleverness.

There is no doubt that the newly elected leaders are about to have a serious wake-up call about how things work in bureaucracies. The slow speed the government moves to get things done (in most cases) would allow a snail to pass the finish line before us.

There is no doubt that this reality will frustrate the newly elected firebrand populists. They will fail initially in realizing projects they promised their constituents. This has less to do with Swapo blocking them. It has more to do with a lack of budget coupled with the usual lethargy that permeates the Namibian service providers.

The idea that Swapo politicians at the national level will redirect needed state funds for services away from areas where Swapo did not perform well at the polls must never be considered. In any event, there is no money to ‘redirect.’

And yet, Iipinge says this is what will happen.

Certainly, Swapo faces a dilemma. New and energetic personalities have hit the political scene. If they win more converts and threaten to accomplish more in a year than Swapo did in 30 years, that could present an image problem. And yet, ordinary people are struggling and need help. Why should human beings go one more day in a tin shack or without municipal services or a home of their own because of political rivalries? We must be better than that.

Iipinge must take a walk around the poorest parts of Windhoek. Then, see if it is ok to threaten to block potential programs to help desperate families in order to damage non-Swapo politicians.