If ever Meme Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana or PII fails to get an election, she should take comfort in the story of the Children of Israel who failed to enter Canaan when the Land of Milk and Honey was within reach.
However, unlike the Children of Israel who never stepped their feet in Canaan as punishment, Meme PII can only be eliminated by competition.
It will not be an easy end to a courageous struggle for one of this country most courageous women and mother of the revolution.
This makes her anger real; her bitterness understandable.
“I have been CEO of the party . . . now they come just to take and take . . .” she told the Swapo Women’s League in Windhoek about two weeks ago.
And in yet another meeting in the north with some business people, she complained that she was being side-stepped as the secretary general of the party who should handle every communication from the executive to the structures.
This is where politics get dirty. It’s the time when those who give their lives for others are pulled back when they have a foot in the doorway.
Yes, Meme PII, these people want to ‘just take, take’ from you but have you asked yourself whose post you want to take? Should Hage also cry about people who just want to take, take and take?
Refereeing and playing
Meme PII is in a very difficult position being a vice presidential aspirant and CEO of the party. All the nominees are supposed to pass information through her office for dissemination to the structures.
Some of this information includes strategy and meetings for her other two rivals – Hage Geingob and Jerry Ekandjo - as well as the President’s messages to the party structures.
That’s where her main concern is with President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s ‘message’ to the structures to support his ‘candidate’.
The message, Meme PII feels, should have been sent through her because she is the CEO of the party.
“The whispering and lobbying can take place, but let us use that on authority to instruct the structures. The incident I’m condemning did not go through my office and therefore people cannot say it is an instruction from the party structures.
“I feel truly unfairly treated when there is a message conveyed to the co-ordinators working under me without my knowledge. That is an abuse of the system.
“If there is a decision made, it should follow the structures namely the central committee and politburo and then I, as the secretary general, distributes that decision,” she complained during her meeting business people in the north.
This is desiring to be both a referee and a player Meme PII. You are an interested party and therefore your rivals should not let you in in their strategy. With a party gripped by so much anger and bitterness who knows where back stabbing, can come from.
In fact, you were supposed to step down as the central nerve of the party in all fairness because you are also running for the vice presidency. As Minister of Justice, we know you know that when one finds themselves in your situation, they graciously recuse themselves. In politics, however, they talk about stepping down. You can’t be a referee and a player. Indeed, we were surprised that you honestly demand this. And still feel abused. We also feel by demanding to be consulted on what Jerry and Hage do as part of their campaign is an abuse of the system.
This should also be the same with Hage who should step down as vice president for now because as it is, the post has been declared vacant. If it was not vacant, there would not be this tight contest for the post.
We are not sure whether appealing to an all-woman organ of the party is the right strategy. After all, history has shown that women can never back other women no matter how much they pretend such willingness.
This would sound like narrowing the campaign and excluding the broader societal spectrum. While we do not agree with Petrina Haingura’s strategy of isolating herself from an organisation she is a leader, we certainly applaud her for being honest and casting her lots with a candidate she thinks will do for her. At least there is no pretence in what she has done.
We also wonder whether the majority of those business people in the north are delegates to the elective congress too. They can endorse any one but in the end, it ends just there – nodding and nothing else.
The King Maker
But again, Meme PII can still have a political life if she emulates Prime Minister Nahas Angula’s 2004 example by selling off her votes to the highest bidder.
Without the backing of the Muppets - sorry Swapo Party Youth League – and the endorsement of the Pohamba, the road appears to be narrowing ahead.
But she could be the kingmaker because she holds the spoiling vote – that is if either Hage or Jerry fails to hog the desired winning vote.
By agreeing with either of the two strongest contenders, Meme PII can be guaranteed of a warm place in the sun when all has been done.