Swapo scrambles for unity

The Swapo Think Tank has been urged to come up with relevant strategies to change the fortunes of the party.

18 October 2021 | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKES

In its quest to return to its former glory days in the country’s political arena, the Swapo Party has embarked on a frantic unity crusade.

The party’s secretary-general, Sophia Shaningwa, over the weekend during the opening of the Think Tank’s workshop, said the party was facing a disturbing trend with voters punishing the former liberation movement at the polls last time around.

Shaningwa currently holds the unenviable record as the secretary-general under whom the party performed the worst at the polls since independence.

For the first time since President Hage Geingob’s slate, dubbed the ‘Harambee faction’, took control of the party, Shaningwa has admitted that there is a need to unite in order to save the party.

According to Shaningwa, the Think Tank should desist from delivering ‘paper deliverables’ or ‘vocabulary contestations’, but relevant strategies that should change the fortunes of the party.

“Can we survive in a world of disunity amongst ourselves? How do we deal with the disunity in the party? How do we rehabilitate ourselves as a family of Swapo Party? Do we have any benefit if we continue with disunity as a party?” a visibly worried Shaningwa asked.

Peacemaker

She has been going around in recent months extending olive branches to former political adversaries from Team Swapo in a bid to bury the hatchet.

Party veteran Helmut Angula was roped in to “share his wisdom” with the Think Tank.

According to Shaningwa, bringing in the likes of Angula was necessary because “the party can no longer afford to throw away powerful minds because of divisions”.

Angula had served as the ruling party’s spokesperson before the 2017 elective congress but fell out of the ranks when he lost in the running for the vice-president position.

During his run with Team Swapo, Angula, who was one of the loudest critics of the current Swapo leadership, insisted that they were forced to organise themselves to “save Swapo from collapse.”

The composition of the party’s Think Tank is yet another indication that Team Swapo and Team Harambee factions are eventually disintegrating.

Diversity

According to political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah, the SG’s opening speech was a surprising turn of events.

“It is really the first time that we have seen top leadership admitting that all is not well. The media and analysts have been saying this but they have been on the defence. She is clearly acknowledging that there is a problem and that it will not be address by having one-sided camps,” he said.

Kamwanyah added that the composition also gives the impression that Team Swapo and Team Harambee are dying natural deaths with the party moving towards the centre.

“That is what you see with Think Tank, you can see some Harambee members but also many that there are really other people who are rather neutral. But I am not sure if it is a good thing for the party to move towards the centre. Because you don’t want to have just only Team Harambee in your think tank because you will get biased recommendations. You want diverse perspectives,” he said.

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