President Hage Geingob has faced strong criticism for telling people to go to hell and attacking state organs such as the Judiciary and the electoral commission.
The Presidency was at pains yesterday to explain Geingob saying “they can go to hell” at a Swapo central committee meeting on Saturday.
In a statement, State House said the comment was not meant for central committee (CC) members, and that “he was responding to another issue that was raised with him on the side”.
In a video recording that has since gone viral, the president can be heard saying “they can go to hell” and then laughing.
“Contrary to false allegations, at no point did the president say to the members of the central committee to ‘go to hell’. As a matter of fact, the president was responding to another issue that was raised with him on the side, and the response was in reference to that.
“It should be noted that the president of the Swapo party has esteem and affection for the very important institution of the central committee, and comrades in the Swapo party in general,” the Presidency said in a statement.
During a heated opening session of the CC meeting on Saturday, Geingob scolded members for their lack of morale, and told them to start hitting back at their political adversaries, as well as to attack administrative bodies, such as the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and the courts for humiliating or taking Swapo for granted.
This came after he said some Swapo members have “weak hearts”, walk like they are “dead” and appear “finished”.
He made these remarks when he opened Swapo’s central committee meeting in Windhoek on Saturday.
He said he has seen that some members are losing faith in the party and are no longer proud to wear Swapo colours, “because some thought apparently Swapo is now finished”.
As a result, “weak” members no longer defend the party as it is being ridiculed and humiliated by its political adversaries, with some calling Swapo “sellouts and puppets”.
Geingob commented on Swapo’s low morale as the party shapes up for its elective congress next year to elect a leadership which would lead the party towards the 2024 national elections.
He was especially disappointed in CC members after they sluggishly attempted to sing a party song praising him.
“This is not Swapo . . . even when you are walking, you walk like you are finished,” Geingob said.
He further criticised the party’s members of parliament for acting like underdogs during parliamentary debates.
“The parliament is controlled by those people [opposition parties]. This thing of being underdogs when you are not, must stop. You are being humiliated,” he said.
State House’s press secretary Alfredo Hengari yesterday said some of Geingob’s remarks at Saturday’s central committee were taken out of context.
Some key topics were reportedly discussed at the meeting, one of them being the genocide deal.
A source who attended the CC meeting yesterday said Swapo agreed not to force the genocide agreement via a vote if there is no consensus.
“We decided to leave it to parliament to decide on the way forward. Swapo will not push through the matter,” the source said.
A Swapo lawmaker said the ruling party could be open to further consultations with Germany.
“The matter could be referred to a parliamentary committee. If parliament decides to renegotiate the amount, then Swapo will not stop in the way,” the source said.
Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah thinks Geingob was right to be frustrated on Saturday.
He, however, says Geingob’s demand to be idolised through songs and slogans could be dangerous for Namibia’s democracy.
“That in itself is inching us towards a dangerous territory similar to other disastrous African countries,” he said.
He said Geingob’s remarks suggest that Swapo is no longer the vibrant and dynamic movement it used to be.
“It is important to note that the current central committee is Geingob’s own making. He opted for politics instead of quality and meritocracy. He wanted people who agree with him,” he says.
Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) executive director Graham Hopwood says Geingob is to blame for Swapo’s lack of morale.
“It is a leader’s job to build morale. The fundamental question he should be asking is why are Swapo members so low on morale and struggling to find positive things to say,” he says.
Hopwood’s remarks were supported by Swapo stalwart, former prime minister Nahas Angula, who says Geingob should motivate his followers if he feels they lack morale.
He says Swapo faces the challenge of motivating its members when they are confronted with socio-economic issues, such as the high unemployment rate, on a daily basis.
Angula says it is high time Swapo leaders shape up and reinvigorate the party, before it dies a natural death.
“Swapo was given the mandate to serve, and if those entrusted with that mandate are serving themselves, you cannot expect people to continue singing loudly for you,” Angula says.
He says if the current Swapo leadership is unable to steer the ship towards prosperity, he is available to help them do so for free.
Geingob’s staunch critic, Joseph Diescho, believes Swapo is divided because of Geingob.
He says Swapo has been decomposing under Geingob’s watch, “because of his rulership style of bullying and narcissism”.
“To belittle other members of the central committee because they did not sing his name is really disheartening. It only leads to lower morale,” he says.
“The party is limping into a near future without a reliable leadership that can direct followers to move into a direction with meaning and purpose. The humpty-dumpty hand clappers and dancers will gradually peel away from a leadership that is angry and self-destructive,” he says.
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ATTACK ON ECN, COURTS
Geingob on Saturday also launched a scathing attack on the ECN and the Judiciary, claiming they have taken Swapo for granted.
He said recent statements by former ECN chairperson Notemba Tjipueja that Swapo was wrongly declared as the winner of the Ndonga Linena constituency were “such a shameful thing”.
“Somebody saying that I mistakenly gave the votes to Swapo. Can you imagine that? . . . That is such a shameful thing. We don’t complain about the electoral commission. We don’t complain about the courts. We are being taken for granted. The country we fought for and freed. We are made to feel guilty,” he said.
The president has been condemned by commentators for his comments on the ECN and other administrative bodies.
Angula says it is not Swapo’s place to attack administrative bodies.
Kamwanyah says it is dangerous for a sitting president to criticise the workings of administrative bodies.
“Doing so is actually undermining them,” he says.
Diescho says Geingob’s remarks on the ECN shows “a serious lack of political sophistication on the part of the president by picking childish fights with institutions he should be thanking for strengthening our democratic values and defending the Constitution”.
Source link : https://allafrica.com/stories/202110040711.html
Author : Namibian
Publish date : 2021-10-04 12:00:52