Geingob tells Shanghala off

The Swapo president told his former blue-eyed boy to take care of his ‘situation’ before telling Swapo, from jail, what to do.

12 April 2021 | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

President Hage Geingob on Saturday suggested that former justice minister Sacky Shanghala, whose trial over Fishrot corruption allegations is slated for next week, has no moral standing to advise Swapo on what to do to avoid perishing.

Last month, Shanghala wrote a 31-page document titled 'A Modern Economic, Social and Political Programme - Namibian Socialism' from his jail cell in which he warned the party to evolve or risk becoming irrelevant in future.

Insiders say Swapo leadership was not impressed by Shanghala’s warning, especially when he is perceived to have been at the centre of bribery allegations which have tainted the party’s image since Fishrot emerged.

Transactions seen by and reported in the media have shown how Swapo functionaries received payments linked to Fishrot, allegedly to buy votes in favour of certain candidates at the 2017 elective congress.

The bribes were paid in exchange for lucrative Namibian fishing quotas to Icelandic company Samherji, whose payments ended up in the accounts of companies linked to Shanghala and his co-accused in the matter.

A week ago, Shanghala and his Fishrot co-accused Bernhardt Esau were suspended from the Swapo central committee after a politburo meeting held to discuss their fate.

The move to suspend - instead of expelling - the pair surprised many in the rank and file of Swapo, because the constitution of the party clearly states that if a central committee member misses three consecutive meetings of the central committee without valid reason, they automatically cease to be a member of that structure.

Shanghala and Esau have been behind bars since November 2019 and thus have not attended any central committee meeting held since.

Outdated

In his write-up from jail, Shanghala said the ruling party's current political programme is outdated and not comprehensive by design.

Ironically, the party over the weekend held its first ever interactive public debate titled ‘Socialism with Namibian Characteristics’, which is said to give birth to honest conversations.

Geingob on Saturday said the conversation was not inspired by the Shanghala’s advice but that the party is doing what it must.

“Let him take care of himself first. He must take care of his own situation there [in prison]. We have to do what we are doing here today, let him do what he must do,” he said.

Where is Swapo’s youth?

During his presentation, Geingob expressed disappointment with the conduct of the party’s youth and stressed that tribalists cannot be revolutionaries.

The president added that Namibia was supported by the Soviet Union and Cuba, yet young Namibians show no solidarity for Namibia’s trusted allies.

“Where are the youth of Swapo? I don’t see you. Are you demonstrating against the blockades? Those people died for us. You should demonstrate or make a statement instead of gossiping around. Instead we are even more anti-China, what did China do to us? I don’t hear or see in your writings you talking about those issues. Who do you associate with when you call yourself revolutionaries?” he asked.

He also questioned their choice of revolutionary role models and for being too quiet.

“Not Karl Marx, not Lenin, not Castro and not the Chinese Mao Zedong; I only hear people talking of Thomas Sankara from Burkina Faso. Yes, that is the level when people talk of revolutionaries. When there is a problem in Venezuala or in Cuba, I do not see young people demonstrating or doing anything. You wonder where is the revolution.”

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