Job eyes SWAPO presidency
Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader Job Amupanda has told the Windhoek Observer that he is considering contesting for either the SWAPO Party presidency or vice presidency posts at the ruling party congress later this year.
He made this explosive revelation during an interview this week, in which he lashed out at the current “generational dictatorship” engulfing the party.
Amupanda, who was recently elected as the African Youth Commission (AYC) Commissioner for African Diaspora and External Affairs, said the youth should be blamed for allowing the “nonsense” of being governed by “old people” to continue.
“We are taking blame for allowing a gerontocracy, which is a country governed by old people, to emerge in our country. We have allowed this nonsense to continue. We have been exploited by the same generation for more than 9,855 days since independence. But it is the generations of youth before us that are to blame. We are now forced to do what they were supposed to do years back,” Amupanda said.
“The SWAPO old guard is not interested in the youth. Just check how we are treated. It is always about them and their families. They have allowed zombies in leadership to present tokenism of youth involvement, but everything remains just for them and their families.
“The young people are there, even those with potential, but many of them are afraid. They think with their stomachs. “Not only are they scared of the Tanga power-mongers, they are also terrified of losing.
“That is why I am considering contesting for either the SWAPO presidency or SWAPO vice presidency, to put a stop to this fear and this generational dictatorship,” Amupanda said.
“They create self-serving stories of SWAPO tradition, to advance people who are approaching 80, while SWAPO history has a record of Sam Nujoma becoming SWAPO president by age 30. I can lose, even get only one vote by myself, but the message would have been made. I meet all requirements under the party constitution. Someone has got to stop this gerontocracy dictatorship.”
Amupanda’s comments this week follow weeks of sustained revelations in various media that several members of the so-called SWAPO old guard are again gunning for leadership positions at this year’s ruling party congress.
These include 71-year-old Helmut Angula, 75-year-old Nangolo Mbumba, 73-year-old Nahas Angula and 64-year-old Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who have all been linked to the SWAPO vice presidency race.
If Amupanda, who is 29 years old, officially throws his hat in the ring for the SWAPO presidency, he will be the first to publicly challenge the incumbent, Hage Geingob, who is 75 years old.
SWAPO old guard should ‘let go’
This week, political analysts also came out strongly against elderly and retired politicians, who have publicly expressed their ambitions to run for the position of SWAPO vice president, saying that they should let go of power and pave the way for young blood to take over.
Deputy Director at the University of Namibia’s Centre for Professional Development, Teaching and Learning Improvement, Ndumba Kamwanyah, said the old guard politicians should let go.
“It is time for the old guard to let go and pave the way for new blood. They fought a good battle, they marched, and they sacrificed their time and energies. They won us independence, and led and guided an independent Namibia.
“Under their leadership and tutelage, life for many Namibians has immensely improved, so they have done a good job,” Kamwanyah said.
“Now 27 years after independence is the time for the Moses generation to pat themselves on the shoulders for a job well done and let the Joshua generation take over the remaining challenges of fully developing Namibia.
“At that advanced age, there is so little one can do, even if one has marvellous ideas. Twenty-seven years of independence is long enough for the party to have groomed and moulded young people to take over the mantel.
“I am really surprised at the rumours that some old guards may return to politics. It is a disservice to the party, and puts unnecessary pressure on them to think that the SWAPO Party will not survive without their service. They just need to let go and trust their younger comrades.”
Kamwanyah said the old guard can still play a huge role in advising and coaching their younger comrades.
“There are many measured cadres that can take the party to new heights. We don’t have to mention names here, but they are there.”
Nandi-Ndaitwah told the Windhoek Observer last year that women are ready to take up all leadership positions in the party, including the presidency, once Geingob’s tenure ends.
She also said that should she be elected as SWAPO’s presidential candidate in future, she would not refuse any party assignment.
Angula, who is retired from politics, also told the Windhoek Observer last year that he was not interested in contesting the SWAPO presidency in 2017, citing, among other reasons, the fact that he will be too old to become Head of State, should he win.
However, he recently told another weekly that he was interested in the SWAPO vice presidency post.
DTA Treasurer General, Nico Smit, argued that Namibia should not expect the current crop of older SWAPO politicians to mentor young leaders.
They have all been part and parcel of SWAPO administrations since independence. They can rightly be characterised as the SWAPO old guard. It is their thinking and style of leadership that has characterised SWAPO and Government over the past 26 years, and thus having them as candidates for the Swapo vice presidency, is unlikely to result in a vibrant, new way of doing and thinking, which Namibia sorely needs,” Smit said.
“It is quite obvious that SWAPO’s leadership has done nothing to prepare a new cadre of leadership, and this is for two reasons. Firstly, leadership succession in the ruling party is not an open and transparent process; it is always cloak and daggers.
“Secondly, it is not rational to expect the current crop of SWAPO leadership to prepare and mentor young, aspiring leaders, who will end up challenging the old guard for their positions of power and authority.”
Smit further said that history has shown that Africa’s older leaders are not up to the task of addressing Africa’s problems and finding lasting solutions that will take all of the continent’s people to prosperity, while adding that DTA leader McHenry Venaani has proven himself as a leader.
“There are equally, if not more, capable individuals outside SWAPO that can lead Namibia… Young leadership brings dynamism and a new way of looking at problems. Young leaders are also more likely to be more in tune with the youth of our country, who make up the largest portion of the population,” Smit added.
SWAPO’s incumbent Secretary General, Mbumba, told the Windhoek Observer last year that he will not stand again for SG post at this year’s ruling party congress.
Geingob is currently the age at which his predecessor, Hifikepunye Pohamba, retired from politics.
After serving 47 years as SWAPO leader and three terms as Head of State, Dr Sam Nujoma gave up power at the age of 75, in 2005.