Veni, vidi, vici – Job Amupanda

The Latin phrase veni, vidi, vici translates roughly to: “I came; I saw; I conquered.”

According to the historical writings of Appian, it is a Latin phrase attributed to Julius Caesar. He used this phrase after he had achieved a tough victory in one of his many wars of conquest. The phrase is fitting for Job’s rise to the Mayorship of Windhoek.

Over six years ago, Job Amupanda burst on the scene with his colleagues in the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement. They took radical, bawdy steps. They made aggressive demands for things that should have been handled decades before but were not (and still are not.)

After a pat on the head at State House, Job saw the lack of results from promises made and hit back. AR went after their own agenda. The three AR leaders, including Job, were precipitously (and temporarily) expelled from Swapo. It was a flashing red light that the party of elders had no idea of how to manage the new wave of political leaders that could not be co-opted or silenced.

However, with the AR wake-up call still ringing in their ears, Swapo leaders with legal egg on their faces still failed to come up with a way to evolve. Arguably, they remain unable to stop themselves from expecting party members of tomorrow to act like it is 30 years ago in a Swapo camp during the struggle. Swapo is hemorrhaging young, intelligent, vibrant, leaders and members. The current leaders have no plan to harness new talent and use it to make Swapo 2021 relevant.

When Job and AR stepped into the political ring, people laughed and threw eggs at them. Few saw this young man’s huge potential to strengthen the Namibian nation. Several who quietly saw his potential were threatened by it and sought to dim his light. They failed. Many scoffed when he proclaimed a few years back that he would be mayor of Windhoek. And now, here we are.

Regardless of whether you like what Job stands for or approve of his methods, this young, diminutive man called out what he saw as unfair, incorrect and untenable. He speaks his truth to power. He speaks for tens of thousands who are generationally impoverished. Those who admire this young man are marginalized and beaten down into silent fury and submission. He and those who support him built a movement and left the Swapo party. Job set sail for the new normal.

The ruling party, still trying to recapture 1990’s glory, let the AR ship sail from a Swapo port and said, “good riddance.” The leader making that statement will rue the day those words tumbled from anyone’s lips.

Job is one of the leaders of the future and Swapo let him slip through their fingers. Many in the party still do not realize the potential of this young man. He and others like him could have been given real power to develop the Swapo of the future. But those of the Swapo of yesterday were too threatened by this and unable to harness Job’s energy.

Job and several up-and-coming leaders like him (we need more women in these ranks!) are speaking about what Namibia needs tomorrow, not what it accomplished yesterday. Their words resonate with the masses of the Namibian people who are under 40 and make up the majority of the nation.

Whether the wave he is riding will continue to rise is a consideration for future analysis. But, right now, the coalition built (shame on Swartbooi for missing this bus) for the CoW Council is the tone of the times. There will no longer be a super party controlling everything – those days are done. The country has been run like that for 30+ years and the results are mixed. It is time to try something else. Job represents ‘something else.’

It is uncertain that he will succeed against entrenched municipal trolls in small offices all over that building who run the city’s bureaucracy. They are used to doing things their way and see change as a threat. He will be, once again, swimming against the tide to achieve a single item on his wish list. He is up to the challenge.

Job came into the limelight with strong, aggressive demands. The new mayor saw the harsh task he faced and kept moving forward, though the deck was stacked against him. The AR activist conquered as he takes up the chair as mayor of Windhoek.

We wish him well.

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