To survive, Swapo must unite

20 December 2019 | Columns

For a party that lost so much ground in the just-ended elections, Swapo should do everything possible to unite its rank and file.

But the early signs are that divisions continue to widen in the party that is now gasping for the oxygen of political relevance.

On Wednesday the party's Rundu Urban district executive recalled Isak Kandingu, Toini Hausiku and Anastacia Shinduvi as councillors at the Rundu town council. This is a continuation of the fight against the same councillors late last year, which was temporarily halted by a meeting chaired by party president Hage Geingob.

During the recent local authority elections of political office-bearers, cracks of disunity were as glaring as daylight. Just this week, party unity hovered high on the agenda of a Swapo central committee meeting, but 48 hours later, party functionaries were being recalled in the most humiliating manner.

We may not have all the details, but the stench of vengeance in the recall of these councillors fills the air.

The hidden hand of factionalism is protruding in the Rundu case, as is the case elsewhere in these office-bearer elections across the country.

As long as Swapo continues to preach unity on the one hand, while purging members on the other, the once revolutionary party is sure to keep losing the strength and appeal it once had.

The reason why so many Swapo supporters gave away their votes to the opposition in the just-ended election - evidenced by the party losing votes while its adversaries picked up massively - is partially because there is a sense that those in charge of the party have been practising exclusion politics.

The party has done little to quash this kind of feeling and, in fact, its recent actions intensifies the sense that those outside the faction that is currently in charge have been declared persona non grata.

And as long as that feeling persists, unity will remain a pipe dream in a party that once united against an enemy that gripped our nation.

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