Political analyst and leading academic, Professor Joseph Diescho, has thrown major shade at President Hage Geingob, describing him as a quintessential executor of a dreamer’s vision.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer on Wednesday, Diescho argued that Geingob was the best executor of other people’s policies and plans, particularly when he served as Prime Minister under Founding President, Sam Nujoma.
“The vandalism of the constitution of the party is happening under his watch. In my bosom, I believe that Geingob is a quintessential executor of a dreamer’s vision. Maybe we were at fault to expect him to have a vision,” Diescho opined.
“People who are good at executing another leaders’ dreams are good at that and are dangerous when you expect them to have their own dreams because they cannot see beyond their own personal glory and they tend to interpret any questioning or difference as a personal attack on or rejection of them and their knee-jerk reaction is to silence dissent,” Diescho said.
He said having a vision is about making life better for people, not just for oneself, adding that vision is a desired future state where all are happy, not to have power to hurt others.
“You see it is one thing to want to be president, and it is quite another to be a good president,” Diescho said.
Political analyst, Henning Melber, agreed with Diescho, saying Geingob was the best performing Prime Minister soon after independence, but his agenda changed slightly when he came back to politics between 2004 and 2005.
“President Geingob has, in my view, so far been the best performing Prime Minister in Namibia, at least during his initial periods in office from 1990 to 2002. He took a lot of initiatives then and seemed open to civil society activities.
“When returning into Namibian politics as from 2004/5, eager to get back into power, his agenda slightly changed and so did his policy approach. I am afraid this has not been for the better as regards to his strategies and outlooks.
“I rather think Geingob invented and played with the Harambee Prosperity Plan as a populist tune. I do not think that the party’s internal struggles are a hampering factor, unless some comrades are really mean and want to ensure that Geingob does not score with his blueprints.
“I rather assume that the ambitions do not match the true political agenda, which is more status quo-oriented than committed to fundamental transformation in the interest of the ordinary people,” Melber said.
Deputy Director of the University of Namibia’s Centre for Professional Development and Teaching and Learning, Ndumba Kamwanyah, however, applauded the president for his Harambee initiative, which he said must be supported.
He argued that the president was eager to alleviate poverty in the country through the Harambee Prosperity Plan, but he is unfortunately being held hostage by the current infighting and politics in SWAPO.
“Harambee is a big deal for Namibia. It has very impressive features such as transparency and accountability, effective service delivery, economic transformation and youth development all of which are important for our economic development.
“This is the first time for Namibia, that a president is initiating such a bold intervention, including creating a poverty ministry. Are all these initiatives working? That is a different question. But I see it as a problem-solving zeal on the part of the president and such efforts should be applauded and encouraged.
“But unfortunately all the good things he is doing for the party and the country are held hostage by the infighting politics,” Kamwanyah said.
Diescho argued that the SWAPO Party and the country’s economy have been “falling apart” since Geingob took over power in March 2015.
He said the president was mostly concerned with his personal and family glory.
“Observing the political game from outside, one discerns that this is the first time that the party leadership is being accused of acting in manners at variance with the precepts of the party’s Constitution. It is true that President Geingob is in violation of the party’s Constitution.
“There is no evidence that the Swapo Congress held an elective congress to elect him as president. The records show that when President Pohamba stepped down, the leadership of the party deemed it both fit and necessary to retain its vice president as the acting president till the next congress in 2017.
“To feel either awkward or diminished by the title of acting president and therefore cause other senior leaders to dissemble and defend what is detrimental to SWAPO is deplorable,” Diescho said.
He added that Geingob needs to reflect more on the crisis of leadership in SWAPO.
“The president is his own worst enemy in a number of ways. He tends to personalise what ought to be normal democratic exercises both in the party and in the country.
“His rushed constitutional amendments to increase the number of MPs in the National Assembly from 72 to 104 and the National Council from 26 to 42, the addition of a vice president position and a bigger Cabinet, when the nation has not grown exponentially to justify such ballooning of members of the National Assembly who, for the most part, have nothing to do, speaks volumes about his leadership.
“To be fair, different people are given different tasks in the lives of their people. There are those who are gifted to dream big and have vision for the people and the future. Then there are those who are gifted to execute the visions and instructions of the dreamer,” Diescho said.