STATEMENT BY HIS EXCELLENCY HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, PRESIDENT OF THE SWAPO PARTY AND OF THE REPUBLIC OF NAMIBIA ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE 2014 SWAPO PARTY ELECTORAL COLLEGE.
29 AUGUST 2014. WINDHOEK
(Excerpts from the speech given by his Excellency President Hifikepunye Pohamba)
It is a great pleasure for me to officially open the 2014 Electoral College of the SWAPO Party. The Electoral College or “The Pot”, as it is also known, is an important mechanism within our Party in the selection of cadres whose names will appear on the Party List for the National Assembly Elections.
Over the past few months, different wings, organs and structures of the Party have been electing the cadres who have now been sent by such structures and wings as delegates to this College. I am proud, and we should all be proud, that the process of selecting delegates to this Convention has once again, demonstrated the depth and durability of intra-party democracy within the SWAPO Party.
The process was conducted within the spirit of vibrant and healthy debate, which resulted in the choice of tried and tested cadres of the Party to participate in this Electoral College. In the final analysis, the SWAPO Party as a whole, as well as its wings and structures, have emerged stronger from this democratic exercise. I wish to wholeheartedly congratulate all the delegates on their election to participate in this Electoral College, for their loyalty and their dedicated service to the Party.
This Electoral College is taking place following the historic and forward-looking amendment to the SWAPO Party Constitution, making provision for the 50/50 gender representation on all wings, organs and all structures of our Party.
With this Constitutional amendment, the SWAPO Party has paved the way for greater recognition and empowerment of Namibian women. It is no small success that the selection of the wings and regional delegates to this College was done on the basis of 50/50 gender representation. There is no doubt that gender balance within the organs and structures of our Party will infuse new energy, vitality and diversity of ideas and experiences in our decision-making processes. This is a welcome and timely innovation that will strengthen and revitalize the SWAPO Party in the immediate, medium and long terms.
We must join hands and work in unity of purpose and action to ensure that we have a successful Electoral College. The successful conclusion of this process will be an important milestone in our preparations for the up-coming General Elections later this year. The process must, therefore, be guided and conducted within the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the SWAPO Party, the SWAPO Party Code of Conduct and the Revised SWAPO Party Rules and Procedures for Elections of Party Office Bearers at Legislative and Government Levels.
By its very nature, the process of electing candidates to the Party List will be competitive. I call for a vibrant and healthy conduct of this process as delegates canvass for votes and for support. The hallmark of this Electoral College must be our commitment, as a Party, to democratic principles. The Party List for the National Assembly Elections is limited by the number of seats in Parliament. Therefore, not all of the delegates can be accommodated on that list.
What is important to note is this: after the completion of this process, there will be no losers or winners at the Electoral College. The ultimate winner will be the SWAPO Party and its broad membership. The winners will be the Wings, Organs and Structures of the Party that nominated the delegates who are participating in the Electoral College.
My message to the Comrades who will be elected to the list for the National Assembly Elections is this: You must be ready to work hard, to mobilize the masses, be they SWAPO Members or non-members, to vote for the SWAPO Party in the upcoming elections.
Being on the list is not the end in itself, but the beginning of a spirited campaign to convince voters to vote for the SWAPO Party. Similarly, those who do not make it on the list this time around, should continue to campaign for the Party to win more votes during the coming elections. It is worth keeping in mind that the harder we campaign, the more seats the SWAPO Party will gain in Parliament.
As a Party, we must continue to focus on the big picture and the broader vision that the SWAPO Party has for our country. We must continue to emphasize and popularize our Party’s strategies to develop our country economically, expand the delivery of public services and amenities to our people, modernize our physical and communication infrastructure, and create a secure and better future for our beloved country through hard work and proper planning.
In so doing, we will ensure a landslide victory for the SWAPO Party and thereby receive a convincing mandate from the Namibian people to govern our country over the next five years. Nothing should be left to chance, or taken for granted. We must prepare ourselves, and we must prepare ourselves very well. That is the key to victory.
Namibia has gained a well-deserved reputation in the SADC Region, in Africa and around the world as a beacon for democracy and, for conducting peaceful, free, fair and credible elections.
Our country is also renowned for the peace and stability that we have maintained since independence. It is our duty as Namibians to jealously guard these important treasures. Therefore, no institution or individual should do anything, or cause anything to be done, that would tarnish the good name of our Republic.
The SWAPO Party will soon launch the 2014 Election Manifesto, which will articulate our vision for continuing the development of our country. The Manifesto will outline the policy initiatives and the measures that the Party will put in place in order to fulfill the mandate of governance that we seek from the voters during the elections.
Let us move forward, and work as one, to make the SWAPO Party a more effective organisation for efficient policy implementation, service delivery to our people, and socio-economic development in all corners of Namibia.
I wish to say this to the Comrades who are going to be elected and placed on the List by this Electoral College as SWAPO Party candidates for the National Assembly: Once elected during the General Elections, you will become National Leaders, serving all the people of Namibia, as a single constituency. That will be the duty on your shoulders, to serve all our people to the best of your abilities and to diligently carry out all the duties that will be assigned to you by the Party and its Government.
I wish you all a very successful Convention. I am confident that the SWAPO Party will emerge stronger from this democratic exercise.
NOW, Hard Work!
I thank you.