Swapo expulsions ‘dangerous’
A political analyst has compared the looming expulsion of Swapo youth politicians from the party to that of firebrand South African politician Julius Malema when he was booted by the African National Congress (ANC).
However, political commentator Nico Horn said the beleaguered Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) politicians will be a stronger force than Malema and his camp when they were in the African National Congress (ANC) youth wing.
Swapo’s Politburo has recommended that the Central Committee expel SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dee Nauyoma for their involvement in the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) campaign, which has given the government until July 31 to address the land issue.
The Politburo also wants SPYL leader Elijah Ngurare expelled from the ruling party for openly supporting the land activists.
Horn said it is worrying that Swapo is contemplating dismissing the entire leadership of the SPYL from the party.
Horn added that even if the four leaders challenged the decision in court, the party would find a way through its structures and laws to finally kick them out.
“This is dangerous and this is like what happened with [South Africa’s] President Jacob Zuma who thought he finally got rid of Malema,” said Horn.
After his expulsion from the ANC in 2012, Malema started his Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party which garnered over a million votes in South Africa’s general election last year, winning 25 seats in parliament and provincial legislatures to tackle the ruling ANC head on.
Horn said the only difference is that the SPYL is well organised and its leadership is what all youth structures across the country consider as leaders.
“Ngurare and Amupanda are politicians. They have given their life and blood to the SPYL. They are not going to go without a fight.
“The four guys are very powerful and this puts Swapo in a very difficult position. However, it was a very brave decision to recommend their expulsion despite their popularity.”
Horn further questioned what Swapo will do with the recommended suspension of SPYL Deputy Secretary Veikko Nekundi by the wing’s national executive committee (NEC) shortly after the announcement of the possible expulsion of the four youth politicians. According to him, whatever happens, Amupanda is a recognised leader and it would be difficult for the traditional leadership of Swapo to ignore that.
“Through the (AR) movement they have laid a foundation that will go to war with them. But I think they will first fight the party and try to remain within the party.”
Horn however believes that the Swapo leadership is convinced that any formation that might come from these four will die a natural death, like the former two official opposition parties - Congress of Democrats and the Rally for Democracy and Progress.
“This is a different kind of youth vibrancy. The youth movement is different.”
Swapo acting president and Head of State Hage Geingob’s announcement of government’s willingness to work with Amupanda, Kambala and Nauyoma is a move contradicting the recommendations of Swapo’s Politburo, which he chairs.
South African-based social scientist Nixon Kariithi said the recent developments in Namibia could harm the country’s international reputation.
“Namibia has occupied a positive position in Africa and the rest of the world when it comes to economic and political freedom,” said Kariithi.
“Anything that can be seen to dilute this position will not be welcomed. If Namibia’s position is influenced by one side, let us say the radical one, it could be an issue of concern to investors.”
Kariithi said ideological tension within a ruling party comes with a risk of negative perceptions which could affect the country’s ratings among its peers.
He stressed that the risk could be higher when that ruling party is seen to give in to demands.
“Often the demands are not based on the country’s current economic policy, but based on a radical party ideology.”
Kariithi said the Namibian media have a crucial role to play in the search for solutions in the ongoing land debate.
“One of the roles will be to look around the regions at how some of the issues have been raised and solved. Debates about land have been in Africa for a very long time.”
WINDHOEK ELVIS MURARANGANDA