Swapo congress in full swing

23 Nov 2017 11:30am
By Charles Tjatindi
WINDHOEK, 23 NOV (NAMPA) – The Kuiseb 2 Hall at Safari Court was a hive of activity when hundreds of Swapo members took up their places for the start of the party’s 6th ordinary congress on Thursday.
The popular conference venue was turned into a sea of blue, red and green colours of the ruling party in anticipation of pertinent discussions and eventual elections of a new leadership.
The venue started filling up shortly after 08h00, with the sounds of Ndilimani Cultural Troupe belting out popular revolutionary songs that have become unofficial anthems of the ruling party.
The songs, however, got little response at this juncture; no ‘dance train’ or electric slide. Pensive nods were all the sitting delegates could muster.
It was only when the band got onto stage, ditching the compact disc that had kept the delegates busy, for a live performance, that the atmosphere was ushered into life.
The dance floor erupted with delegates, most of whom were almost unrecognisable in casual t-shirts and tracksuits, taking to the floor.
Suddenly the electric slide was resurrected, and so was the ‘mannetjie’ dance. Swapo was back.
In an almost rare showing, delegates engaged journalists present joyfully; sharing anecdotes and quips.
As the start of the official programme drew closer, the hall was fully packed with some delegates left to stand with their backs literary against the wall.
Pandemonium was, however, reserved for the arrival of President Hage Geingob, former President Hifikepunye Pohamba and Founding President Sam Nujoma.
A nostalgic, yet joyful mood engulfed the hall as the three made their way to the head table, where they would remain for the entire official opening ceremony.
Following the end of the campaign period, delegates appear to embrace each other openly; no segregation in sitting arrangements, no visible slogans or chants from the two camps, Team Swapo and Team Harambee as they came to be known.
Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Sankwasa James Sankwasa attested to the calm atmosphere at the start of the event in a brief interview with Nampa.
“There is no animosity at all here. Campaign period is over, now it’s hard work,” he said, word-playing on the party’s popular slogan.
Another congress attendee, Mandela Kapere said: “We are all one team, as such we stand together as one”.