• 15
  • Nov
Windhoek Observer outgoing News Editor Nyasha Francis Nyaungwa (NFN) sat down with former Cabinet minister Kazenambo Kazenambo in a no-holds-barred interview.
Kazenambo spoke about independent presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula whom he described as an opportunist hell-bent on spoiling and disrupting an orderly system. The ex-minister said he is disappointed by Itula’s campaign which he said is personal against the incumbent President Hage Geingob.
Kazenambo, who is famous for calling for a non-Oshiwambo speaking president, also spoke candidly about Geingob’s first term in office which he said has been nothing short of a disappointment. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
NFN: What is your impression of Dr Panduleni Itula’s election campaign thus far?
KK:  With all due respect, Itula’s politics of standing as an independent presidential candidate while claiming SWAPO membership is unprecedented, disruptive politics. His candidacy is a smokescreen, it’s personal.  Itula does not have a problem with SWAPO, so it is a personal protest against Hage who is implementing SWAPO policies. This does not make sense for me and therefore I believe Itula’s campaign is tribal-oriented.
Like it or not, Itula’s politics undermine and destroy the core fabric that has kept SWAPO together over the years. It deepens and widens disunity in the SWAPO Party and distorts and corrupts the general political system in Namibia.
The Itula political conundrum qualifies as the most effective destabilizing factor ever deployed and employed against the SWAPO Party and Namibia since independence.  This is so because Itula is not an independent candidate, but an unruly SWAPO member, corruptly abusing whatever loopholes both in the SWAPO Party and Namibian Constitution to destroy SWAPO from within.
In global politics, an independent candidate contest elections on their own, independently without clinging on to any political party membership or alliance.  Itula’s bid for the presidency, while the SWAPO Party to which he purports to belong has fielded a sole presidential candidate in the person of Dr Hage Geingob, is not only weird but rather a serious development with the potential to unsettle the peaceful and stable political system and environment of Namibia.
Itula is not an agent of change as claimed.  If he is still a SWAPO member as he claims, how will he bring change if SWAPO is to win the election and remain at the helm of the government in this country?
SWAPO is a political entity governed through the will of the collective, and it is the will of the collective which Itula is working against by fielding himself.  How will he work with SWAPO, in the unlikely scenario that he wins the presidency?
What concrete changes will Itula bring which the SWAPO leadership and general membership have not attained so far?  In real politics, Itula’s candidacy is like being given a cat in a bag in the dark without knowing what you are receiving. 
As of this interview, Itula has not pronounced himself on key public policy issues that hold this nation together. His take on some of the controversial and critical topics which face this nation, but which the SWAPO Party and its leadership have successfully navigated over the years to keep this nation together, is not known.
Can Itula inform this nation as to how he is going to address critical issues around national reconciliation, genocide, ancestral land, Kavango marginalization, Ex-SWAPO detainees, the missing list of resettled farmers, black economic empowerment and NEEEF, struggle kids vs those who were inside Namibia during the struggle, among many other issues? 
How will independent Itula respond to those imperialist and reactionary forces that have haunted SWAPO and its leadership because of the Lubango Dungeons issue? Is he going to hand over the Founding President Dr. Sam Nujoma to the International Criminal Court for trial on so-called crimes that some claim to have been committed during the liberation struggle?
Henk Mudge recently pointed out that he was considering taking the SWAPO Party-led government to court on the issue of ex-SWATF and Kovoets fighters. Is Itula working in cahoots with Mudge to undermine and destroy the SWAPO Party’s legacy?
NFN: Why are these issues of concern to you?
KK: They are important because in nation-building you compromise to make balances, to accommodate everybody. You have to balance leadership to balance a culturally diverse country. On one hand the rich feel that they are being heavily-taxed and on the other, the poor feel that they are being heavily-taxed and are left with nothing to survive on.
On taxation, Itula must come up with clear policies that accommodate everyone. You do not just use populism in nation-building.  Let us not throw the baby out with the bathwater because of quarrels at the last congress.  Let us not personalize issues because you like Itula whose flavour is tribal. We cannot deny that his campaign flavour is tribal and unprecedented.
People from the two Kavango regions are saying we have been marginalized since independence, there has been no development. Hereros are saying they have been left out of the national cake, and the genocide issue has not been addressed to their satisfaction. How is he going to address all these things including economic mismanagement?
What is his stance on the nationalization of mines and companies which was tried and failed in other countries?  Will he continue with the mixed economy in which the government has collaborated with the private sector through the establishment of companies like Nampower, Namwater, Namcor, and the Development Bank of Namibia and the Agricultural Bank of Namibia?
NFN: Would you say this mixed economy has served Namibia well?
KK: Honestly speaking it has been a challenge, it is not a joke. Some of us have lived in countries where everything was eventually nationalized. We lived in Zambia, but nationalization took its toll on that country. We lived in Angola where people experimented with issues of nationalization, socialism, communism, one-party state, and life presidency.
We saw how people were queuing for bread, but our people are not queuing for bread even in the rural areas, so we should not be reckless.
This country has achieved a lot. Firstly, this country has achieved peace and stability which is unprecedented in the region. We are reaching 30 years of independence, it is not a joke.  As a nation, we must reflect and say there are nations in this world that have collapsed before they reached 30 years.
As a collective - the opposition and the ruling party - we must say that we have made it for 30 years. This country is still governable.  We still have law and order, our courts are working, our Parliament is working, our executive is working, and these are the cross separation of powers, the checks, and balances.
They may not work to the satisfaction of everyone, we still have many challenges but our investment policies are still working. Investors are still flocking to our country at an individual level and multinational level because we have not destabilized investment policies; we have not personalized investment laws.
I have not seen Geingob or heard investors coming here to see the president, maybe the issue of Erindi is just one example in terms of how it was negotiated, but our ministry of trade still drives our investment policies.
NFN:  What about Trekkopje mine in which the president was personally involved?
KK: I have got no information on that, l did not follow that one, but my point is that our country is still orderly managed. The rule of law is still intact. It still has a challenge in terms of development. From a developmental point of view, we still have a long way to go, but it is a work in progress.
NFN: Which candidate has excited you the most during this campaign and why?
KK: There is none and l will tell you why.  This campaign is not issue-driven, it is personality-driven. I have not heard any candidate being vocal on the issue of Genocide which remains unresolved. Neither Geingob, Swartbooi, nor Venaani are being vocal about the issue, their stance is not clear. No one is vocal about racial genocide, which is a very sensitive issue that affects all of us not just a section of this community. Nobody is addressing me on that one. What are their positions on ancestral land or Okavango marginalization, all I see and hear is personal politics.
The only thing that Itula has said that is true is that one day in the future we might all stand as independent presidential candidates.  If SWAPO does not deal with Itula now, in the future we will have thousands of independent candidates.
NFN: Why are you against the idea of independent candidates?
KK:  This issue has no future in our politics because it is a protest outside established institutions; it is a bad omen.  Luckily, come 27 November it will be crushed. There is a lot of excitement now, but come the 27th it will not be enough to win the vote because it is not issue-based. It will be short-lived.
The Nujomas of this world emerged because we wanted independence. This independent candidate thing is an opportunistic application of a job through the back door.  It is for someone who failed to gain entry through the front door, now they are trying to sneak in through the back door.
An independent candidate is not based on institutions, efforts or policies, but they are driven by frustration, anger, quarrels, and personal hatred.
If Itula claims that he is independent, independent of what? Is he independent from Geingob? The fact is he is a SWAPO member who is a spoiler; he is spoiling an orderly system of participating in elections. He is a spoiler who will end up in the spoilt box. The man is just hallucinating he will be carried away in a spoilt ballot.
NFN: Who do you think is going to win the presidential election?
KK: President Geingob
NFN: By what percentage?
KK: He will not get the 87 percent that he got last time that is for sure. I do not see him getting the vote that he got previously because of the SWAPO internal quarrels.
NFN: But the squabbles have always been there. Look at the 2012 or 2004 congresses and so on, some of which led to the emergence of CoD and RDP.
KK: The quarrel is not the same anymore. Geingob is going to win firstly because he is an incumbent; it is not easy to defeat an incumbent president. The incumbency apart, he is well known all over, in the villages while Itula is not known and Swartbooi is not known, he is only known on Facebook.
Geingob has a national appeal, good or bad, he has that national appeal. He is not going to get the 87 percent because the non-Oshiwambo speaking minority has walked away. He will not enjoy the popular vote from the Hereros. Last time they voted for him because they thought that he is a unifier, but Hereros will not vote for him because he represented zero of their interests. He never represented them on genocide so only the SWAPO die-hards and loyalists will vote for him.
The Namas are not going to vote for him because of the same reasons. The Damaras because of the way he handled Justus //Garoeb will not vote for him. Geingob is not a representative of the people that expected him to represent them. He is a representative of SWAPO guys who will vote for him because he is a SWAPO leader.  Personally, I may or may not vote for him.
NFN: As someone famously known for advocating for a non-Oshiwambo speaking president, the country got a non-Oshiwambo speaking president, are you happy with a non-Oshiwamnbo speaking president’s first term in office?
KK: My calling for a non-Oshiwambo speaking president was a philosophical call, a national call based on experiences on how Africa works in nation-building. I said that we have been having Ovambo presidents but as a party that purports to represent diverse interests and communities we must be flexible and open up not on a quota basis like they are misinterpreting it. I never mentioned Geingob.
NFN: Fair enough, but it was clear whom you meant and we got a non-Oshiwmabo speaking president. Are you happy with how he has led the country?
KK: It’s not a question of happiness but a question of whether the man addresses community interests. Does he? How do I become happy if the person who happens to be there is a non-Oshiwambo speaking president but he doesn’t address the issue of diverse communities?
This nation is in a crisis from a nation-building perspective. Even Kwanyamas as we are talking now are praying to whomever they pray to, that Netumbo becomes the president not because she is a woman but simply because she is a Kwanyama.  Here we believe that a Herero must become a leader so that I can ‘eat.’  Everything boils down to eating here.
When I called for a non-Oshiwambo speaking president and a female president I was not thinking about eating, I was saying philosophically as a diverse nation let us open up but this has been reduced to eating.
The majority of people who are supporting Itula are Ondongas because they are saying that they have been marginalised since the time of ya Toivo, Nahas Angula, Shipanga, and Nanyemba. They feel now is their chance through the back door with Itula.  Let’s call a spade a spade; this is a tribal country, why are we being hypocritical about it? Even the Hereros among themselves  don’t see eye to eye.
Nujoma arrived on a honeymoon of the liberation struggle; he never did anything to contribute to nation-building. The only thing that he did was to deliver independence. As far as bringing communities together, he did zero. What did he do? During his time Kwanyamas and Ndongas were fighting over borders.
NFN: But you said the country is better off than other countries that are about to turn 30. Does this happen by itself?
KK: I am not contradicting myself. For a leader to build a nation he or she must know the aspirations of the people that he leads. It is not about Geingob, Pohamba or Nujoma. For you to build a nation you must know the fears and expectations of the white people in this country. What are the fears and expectations of the Mbanderus of this country, what frustrates the Namas, what are their problems?
If you look at all these leaders they know nothing about these cultures so how do they represent the cultures of the people that they don’t know? The moment you point to these issues and say “comrades let’s address the issue of the marginalization of the Kavango”, for example, they say you are a tribalist, you are a trouble maker but all they are doing is postponing nation-building.
Even Itula doesn’t have any clue about these issues. He is just on a honeymoon followed by a few Ovambo and these tribal Ondongas.    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • 15
  • Nov
The shortage of vaccines, antibiotics and selected ARVs across the country’s public health system is expected to ease in four weeks, Ministry of Health and Social Services Executive Director Ben Nangombe has told the Windhoek Observer.
  • 15
  • Nov
Þorsteinn Már Baldvinsson is temporarily stepping down as director of Samherji while the company waits for the results of its internal investigation into the workings of its subsidiaries in Namibia.
Investec Asset Management Namibia Managing Director, James Hatuikulipi has resigned from the asset manager after he was fingered in a corruption scandal involving fishing quotas worth millions of dollars.
Press Secretary in the Office of the President Dr Alfredo Hengari has revealed that President Hage Geingob had already written letters to dismiss disgraced ex-Justice Minister Sakeus Shanghala and former Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Bernard Esau.
SWAPO Secretary-General Sophia Shaningwa has told the Windhoek Observer that the party’s leadership is still to meet to deliberate on the political future of disgraced former ministers Bernhard Esau and Sakeus Shanghala.
  • 08
  • Nov
Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein says the government is taking the necessary steps to ensure that Namibia has enough water and will never run dry.
Namibia is currently facing its worst drought in close to a century, and there are fears that the water supply situation will only get worse as there have been no concrete plans by the government since independence to ensure the security of supply.
  • 08
  • Nov
President of the Republican Party, Henk Mudge has abandoned plans to vie for the country’s presidency.  Instead, he announced that his party will rally behind independent presidential candidate, Dr Panduleni Itula.
  • 08
  • Nov
About 130 Tsumeb Municipality employees are set to go on an indefinite strike as early as this Friday if the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development does not rescind its earlier decision not to grant them an annual salary increase for a second year running.
The anticipated 2019 Presidential Candidate Debate featuring all 11 presidential hopefuls was in the balance Thursday night after some of the candidates including frontrunner, President Hage Geingob, refused to take part.
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The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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