Pohamba joins Malema fray
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, perturbed by the news that the young radical South African politician Julius Malema who was recently evicted from the ANC is coming to lecture in Windhoek next week, has cautioned Swapo functionaries to keep a healthy distance from the event in the interest of relations between Swapo and the ANC.
Namibian Sun understands that an administrator at the Swapo head office, Henny Seibeb, was yesterday summoned by Swapo Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and cautioned about his involvement in the Malema visit.
Seibeb yesterday refused to comment on the matter, but has confirmed that he is no longer part of the committee organising Malema’s arrival in Namibia.
“I am no longer involved in that event. You can speak to those that remain on the organising committee,” Seibeb said.
Iivula-Ithana yesterday requested Namibian Sun to email her questions regarding this subject but she had not responded at the time of going to press last night.
Sources at the Swapo office said Seibeb, a long-serving full-time administrator at the Swapo headquarters, was allegedly presented with the alternatives of choosing between his job or the Malema visit.
‘Juju’, as Malema is known by his ardent army of followers, was expelled from the ANC recently but his continued popularity earned him an invitation to deliver a keynote address at the Chris Hawala memorial lecture slated for July 5 in Windhoek.
He was invited by members of Swapo and the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), although this was done in their private capacities, to commemorate and honour the revolutionary ideals of Hawala, a young Swapo radical who died in a car accident a few years ago.
The fact that people affiliated to the ruling party have invited Malema has created unease in Swapo and President Pohamba is reported to be totally against the idea.
Pohamba is particularly concerned by the fact that the invitation of Malema by Swapo members, albeit in their private capacities, could be seen as worshiping the man who has been pushed into the political wilderness by the ANC.
It is now feared that Government might refuse to allow Malema entry into Namibia to attend an event that organisers say is meant raise funds for the younger relatives of Hawala who depended on him for their basic needs.
It is also feared that with his lethal tongue, Malema might make comments that bring the ANC into disrepute while in Namibia - in which case it could dent the relationship between the two former liberation movements.
Malema completed a circle from being a staunch supporter of South African President Jacob Zuma to becoming one of his sharpest critics.
He is expected in Namibia days after he told Zimbabwean newspaper Sunday Mail in an interview that Zuma should cease to be the facilitator in Zimbabwe because of his strong views against President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF.
But one of the remaining organisers for Malema’s visit, Job Shipululo Amupanda, described the behavior of Swapo elders as ‘unfortunate’.
“It is unfortunate that we’re heading in that direction as a country,” he said.
“Just when we were rated as the best in terms of media freedom and ranked as one of the vibrant and robust models of democracy in Africa, this is the treatment we are getting …”