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Ekandjo should retire gracefully – analyst

Written by on April 29, 2024

Political analyst Henning Melber says while Swapo veteran Jerry Ekandjo’s contribution to the liberation of Namibia is commendable, it is time for him to retire.

Melber’s comment comes amid Ekandjo’s recent criticism of Swapo’s governance, which Ekandjo says is weakened by factionalism and slate politics.

Melber said Ekandjo’s claim of disunity in Swapo is something Ekandjo himself contributes to.

“The factionalism he bemoans in Swapo is something to which he contributes. He is of course entitled to be dissatisfied with the course the party takes. But it reflects changes which seem to be accepted by a majority, including the party organs, to which he is a member,” Melber said.

Melber added that Ekandjo’s contribution to the local resistance deserves recognition, but times have been changing.
“I think he should retire gracefully. They are the respected past, not the future,” Melber said.

He further said party discipline includes accepting decisions made by the majority.

“Party discipline would actually mean to accept such majority decisions, even when considered misguided or wrong, rather than launching public attacks aiming to discredit the party,” Melber said.

He pointed out that Ekandjo portraying himself as a reformer is ironic given his role in promoting discrimination.

“While this speaks to his mindset and even Namibian democracy, his current vendetta or crusade should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Political opposition parties will certainly appreciate and enjoy his role, which is anything but constructive in a year of elections,” Melber said.
Ekandjo on Friday launched an attack at Swapo, claiming that the party is in the wrong hands.

Ekandjo accused the party of engaging in intimidation, self-serving practices and a lack of transparency in the past nine years.

In a press statement on Friday, Ekandjo said unity within Swapo has been compromised since 2015 and morale among party members has declined.

“A leadership vacuum has been the order of the day, with the spirit of a power struggle within the Swapo party filling the leadership space.”
He listed a series of issues plaguing the party, including a leadership crisis, tribalism and regionalism.

Ekandjo pointed to the Fishrot corruption scandal as a major blow to the party, along with “decisions made through established factionalism and slate politics” which have severely weakened Swapo.

He further accused the party’s central committee, of which he is a member, of committing “a suicidal act” by postponing the party’s extraordinary congress until next April.

Ekandjo also accused the central committee of showing “audacity, capacity for disrespect and undermining the party constitution” in its decision to postpone the congress.

Meanwhile, political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said Ekandjo’s criticism of Swapo has some merit as the party has been on a downward spiral over the last few years.

“He might seem like he is a bad loser because he wanted to compete for the party presidential position, but he is raising very crucial issues for the party to think about. The party has many times flunked its procedures and processes,” Kamwanyah said.

Kamwanyah added that it is important for any party or institution to stick to its constitutional policy, something he says Swapo has been steering away from.

“I think he has a point and Swapo has lost itself in terms of following and adhering to its own constitution,” Kamwanyah said.

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa was on Friday instructed by lawyer Richard Metcalfe, from Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys, to hold an extraordinary congress on or before 4 May or face a court challenge.

The law firm represents three Swapo party members, namely Reinhold Shipwikiineni, Peter Shituula and Joshua-Vaino Martins.

In a letter dated 26 April, they told Shaningwa that the central committee decision not to hold an extraordinary congress within three months after the death of president Hage Geingob was ridiculous.

Last month, the Swapo’s central committee decided that 19 April 2025 will be the date the extraordinary party congress will be held.

Swapo lawyer Sisa Namandje previously said there is nothing in the Swapo constitution that forces the organisation to hold an extraordinary congress this year.

Shaningwa, her deputy Uahekua Herunga and Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor did not respond to questions sent to them at the time of going to print.

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