The ruling Swapo party failed to live up to its billing when it witnessed a meagre audience at the manifesto launch over the weekend.
The masters of ceremonies during the first half of the event, Laura McLeod had to send some dignitaries to the stands to fill up the remaining seat in the nearly empty stands by Swapo standards.
The event also failed to attract the attention of Swapo heavy weights that are still fresh from losing at the recent Electoral College.
McLeod had to maintain her composure until the Vice President Dr Hage Geingob, the founding father, Dr Sam Nujoma and the President of the nation with his first lady, Hifikepunye Pohamba and Penehupifo Pohamba arrived to the poorly attended event.
Despite the poor attendance, President Hifikepunye Pohamba seemed to be in a happy mood as he spoke about the overwhelming support the party has received from the Namibian people adding that the party has emerged victorious in the general elections since Independence.
“We have always accepted these electoral mandates unequivocally. The Swapo party has a methodical approach to doing things. This is one of the reasons we have emerged victorious, both during the struggle as well as in the democratic elections here in Namibia,” he said.
He launched the manifesto alongside the party’s campaign for the 2014 general elections. The manifesto was launched under the theme consolidating peace, stability and prosperity to safeguard the future for the poor, improve social safety nets, foster development and also create a better living for the rural fold.
“The Swapo party views this manifesto as a social contract between the party and the Namibian people. Through it, the Swapo party is once again recommitting itself to serve the nation. We recommitting ourselves to govern in a transparent, inclusive and effective manner, and to maintain peace and stability in the country,” he said.
He added that the manifesto outlines the party’s achievements over the years and the strategies for a fast moving social and economic development which improves service delivery across various sectors.
“We stand ready, and we will work harder to implement strategies contained in the 2014 Swapo party election manifesto. We are confident that we have identified and articulated the priority areas that are critical to the achievement of our national development agenda. We are confident that specific actions that we propose overcome challenges and the interventions that we will make, will produce the desired outcomes,” he said.
Adding; “What the nation should know is this: the Swapo party will not be starting from scratch. We already have a strong foundation to build on a foundation underpinned by experience and practical knowledge about governance and implementation of government policies and programmes”.
He reiterated the need for peaceful campaigning within the party and in Namibia and requested for support for the party’s presidential candidate, Dr Hage Geingob. A leader who has been tried and tested and has been a part of the party’s central committee since 1970.
“For many decades, he has been part and parcel of the leadership of Swapo. He is not a new comer. He became a member of the Politburo of the party in 1980. For 20 years before our independence, Swapo prepared him for leadership. He is a man I have known since 1962, I am sure he will build on the foundation that has been laid over the past 24 years to strengthen democracy and consolidate the gains of our revolution,” he said.
A rather humorous Pohamba also took a firm stance on the call to recognise former kovoet members as liberation struggle saying, “Once someone came to me to ask me that we should recognise the former kovoet members as liberation struggle veterans by awarding them with similar veterans’ status when we opened the Ministry of Veterans Affairs. I said to them never will this happen, in fact I plead that there will never be a time that this will happen? They can be Namibian, they can receive medical attention like everyone else and they can go to the relevant ministry to register like all the other people but they can forget about liberation war heroes’ status,” said a resolute Pohamba.
Pohamba also advised the nation to adhere to the principles of tolerance and understanding which has made Namibia a beacon of peace and stability.
“To all swapo party members, supporters and sympathizers, I would like to say this once again: in preparing for the elections we should not leave anything to chance. We should not take anything for granted. We must prepare ourselves and we must prepare ourselves very well. That is our key to victory,” he said.