Professor Joseph Diescho (Shakawewe: 26.06.24)

Namibia’s political leadership landscape is becoming a theatre of absurdity. There is something very unfortunate, weird and downright distasteful about Vipuakuje Ivan Muharukua’s return to Swapo’s leadership saga. The whole event that played out in Katutura on 25 June 2024 bespeaks a politics of dishonor, a politics without principles, a politics of personal greed and hubris, a politics that has no regard for other people’s intelligence,  a politics of Me, Myself and I, and a politics of banality.

To have political ambition is one thing, but unfounded arrogance with no rectitude base and no followers is another, and should be discouraged. Ex-honorable Muharukua is a private citizen with no authority to summon the media to address the nation whereas in essence it is about contorting himself before a suddenly adoring Swapo   operators and wannabes who, by the looks of things, orchestrated the event in aid of who knows what!

Ex-honorable Muharukua was the Harrasser-in-Chief of Honorable Swapo MPs such as Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah whom he now describes as an angel with clean hands holding the key to heaven, and others whose neemus will not be mentioned. It is an absurd heaven for a few and not all Namibians. It is Muharukua’s heaven which he appears to have been promised to enter come 2025 — either by way of economic reward or some governorship in a village that speaks his language. This is the nature of our politics (mos)!

Our politicians forget that politics in general is about conviction and principles and political leadership is about honor and truthfulness. Political leaders who stay alive in history are men and women known to have stood for something noble, something bigger than themselves and served others with conviction, commitment and consistency, even in times of adversity and controversy.

Sadly, our politics is about: ‘What is in it for me’ and nothing else. In fact, it is not in the interest of a self-respecting Swapo as a liberation movement to be part of shenanigans of the politics of the belly, where individuals stomp the ground with tails between their legs to beg for favors and positions through oozy hand clapping and dancing.

Swapo should call out positionpreneurs who pretend that they have no past. Who can believe and trust a man who burns his parents’ home in exchange for a backroom in the house next door? Swapo is better and bigger than a resettlement camp for aagaluki who were never there.

For what it is worth,  William Shakespeare once wrote: ‘To Thine Own Self Be True’. Honorable McHenry Kanjonokere Venaani, the leader of the Popular Democratic Movement  (PDM) which Muharukua abandoned for ambitious reasons is one of the most stable personages in our national politics today. He has been consistent, patient and still remains true to himself. After all, political leadership is not always about being the chief,  but serving a cause. Equally, credible political leadership rests on the leader’s integrity. 

Given the volatility of our politics leading up to the most consequential presidential  and parliamentary elections since 1989, we are likely to witness more political acrobatics, flip-flops, ping-pongs and yoh-yoh tricks as people try to position themselves and worry about 2025 and beyond. The chances for political violence are higher this year than ever before as politics increasingly becomes a zero-sum game.

The stakes are very high. The next month’s are truly harvest time for traditional healers (sangomas especially in Caprivi who are believed to have more potent stuff) false prophets called men of God, fortune telling palm readers, dream interpreters and indeed political party coordinators. The rest of us will stand, hungry, in long queues, to vote, and wait for the promised increased old people’s pension grant money. Till the honorables or horribles come back five years later — with more promises!

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