Want some insight in Namibian politics? I am no expert but have 16 years (1995-2011) of writing on Namibian politics in The Namibian newspaper and can probably offer you a bit more than you know about the who's who in the Namibian political zoo. You will also find a few articles commenting on other issues of concern in the country. Hope you find it interesting. - Christof

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Succession: Shouldn’t We Also Think Outside The Box

CANDIDATES have strategies to win the race in Swapo but do they have the strategies to run the country? And do they have the qualities of a leader the country needs?

These are but two of the most crucial questions that Swapo and any delegate to the congress later this year must ask before deciding on the presidential candidate.
Instead too much time and effort is wasted on personalities and character assassination and who will benefit through tenders or prepare the State for collective piracy if their candidate wins.
Even though Swapo was known as the traditional hope of the oppressed and there is a feeling among some of its members that others have no right to poke inquisitive noses into its affairs, ignoring what is going on in the party is as good as cutting the thread that holds the country together. Swapo is the ruling party since Independence and therefore everything it does matters to outsiders also.
With the debate on succession thus limited to the Politburo, Central Committee and the congress, it should be the sole business of everyone else who thinks they are obliged to have a say to use available platforms to try and influence party members on the type of candidate to be elected. It is only right to do so even though it is not written in stone that the Swapo candidate will become the next President of Namibia.
It is a fact that the majority of Namibia has relegated the responsibility of choosing that candidate to around 500 delegates at the congress.
As for now the names of the party’s Vice President Hage Geingob, Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, Information Secretary Jerry Ekandjo, Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Deputy Prime Minister Marco Hausiku are all being touted as candidates to take over the party leadership from President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
All of the above have had their share of time in Cabinet and should by now have shown their capabilities.
Since Independence Swapo has hammered home the message of peace and tranquility. In fact even though former President Sam Nujoma emphasised economic independence towards the latter years of his rule, and Pohamba (being the continuation of programmes) reiterated these words, Namibia now needs a manager as President.
The next President should be able to steer the ship with very clear aims and be able to mobilise Cabinet, top ministerial management as well as the private sector with clear economic goals.
It should be someone who will manage Cabinet in such a way that ministers must present regular reports on progress of programmes undertaken but when they fail to deliver, sideways reshuffling should not be the option.
They should know that even though there are traits of servanthood in their leader, such a person will not tolerate laziness, lack of honesty, and will not hesitate to fire those who fail to carry out plans.
It means someone who is willing to take unpopular decisions in the interest of the nation and not a politically well-connected elite group.
When the second term of President Pohamba started, we were told that he had given each minister a set of goals/targets to achieve. The mistake he made was that those targets remained confidential between him and the ministers.
If he had gone the transparent route of revealing each minister’s target, he would have been more empowered when taking steps against a non-performing Cabinet member.
As it is now, he can keep track of the delegated work, but who says that he is in fact doing that? How do we know that his non-performing ministers face his wrath? And what type of wrath is it that we don’t actually see?
Also, our next President should be someone who will not generalise targets but zoom in on them with short-term deadlines. Even though we have Vision 2030 as an overall goal, there are many short term solutions which can make it a success.
Only a seasoned navigator can steer the ship in that direction.
We have many candidates, some of them even outside the group I referred to earlier.
Therefore, if need be, the delegates must start to think outside the box.

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