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Seibeb, Swartbooi marriage crumbles

Written by on June 5, 2024

… LPM accuses Seibeb of flirting with Swapo

Former Landless People’s Movement (LPM) second in command Henny Seibeb says he resigned from the party after accusations that he was offered a job by Swapo.

Yesterday, sources within LPM told The Namibian Seibeb and secretary general Edson Isaacks are keen to go back to Swapo.

Seibeb and Isaacks resigned from the LPM and parliament yesterday after almost three years.

Seibeb’s resignation comes barely two months after he was forced by the party to apologise for referring to the LPM as a Nama party.

Swapo member and home affairs, immigration, safety and security deputy minister Lucia Witbooi told The Namibian yesterday they will welcome anyone to the party.

Isaacks said the separation has been some time coming.

“I have been accused of a lot of things that were never proven to be true. Fairness does not exist in that party and there is no administrative justice,” Isaacks further said.

Edson Isaacks


Speaking to The Namibian yesterday LPM leader Bernadus Swartbooi said Seibeb and Isaacks lack a sense of purpose and have demonstrated that they could never stand the test of time.

“It is not a five-year sprint, it is a long-term game. So, we are happy,” he said.

He described Seibeb and Isaacks as “very heavy burdens”.

“We have had to carry very difficult burdens for five years. We had to carry the person, we had to babysit. We couldn’t speak about those issues, because at that time that person was a part of us. We had difficult days with these people,” he said.

Their working relationships with the other party members have been strained.

“It was impossible to work with them. In the nature of leadership in an organisation, you normally don’t talk about those internal issues. But you would have found that I have kept absolutely quiet when accusations were made against me,” he added.

Swartbooi maintained that the party attempted to organise platforms to discuss concerns since January.

Isaacks maintained that he gave the LPM an opportunity to clear the air, but to no avail.

“I stopped going to party offices and for about three years we have not had any communication. The party is just a one-man show. I was never invited to any party processes, so I had to make a determination,” he said.

Isaacks argued that there were no discussions to find an amicable solution.

“There was no babysitting, he just did not acknowledge the contribution of what other people bring to the table. A team should consist of different skills and not one person. You can see he [Swartbooi] is delusional, a pathological liar,” said Isaacks.

Rui Tyitende


Political scientist Rui Tyitende said Seibeb’s resignation was not an unexpected move.

“Any keen observer of our politics would have foreseen the inevitable departure of Henny Seibeb. For the past five months or so, there has been a barrage of speculation about whether he is still a member or not, on account of his utterances to the media,” he said.

Tyitende described Seibeb as instrumental and a key thinker in the LPM and said he will definitely leave a void in the party.

“The motions he contributed to in the National Assembly were always evidence-based and thought through. However, for a party that has been experiencing an exodus of leaders at regional and local government level, the departure of their co-founder and deputy leader does not bode well for the third largest party in an election year.”

Tyitende described this as the “unfortunate toxic poison” that plagues many political parties, especially those that emerge from the ruling party, Swapo.

“Being an opposition party is not easy and being one with a leadership crisis and internal squabbles and bickering makes the task of running the affairs of the party more difficult.”

He questioned whether the opposition parties are mature enough to rise above their differences.

Political expert Johannes Coetzee yesterday said the fact that Seibeb was unaware that he had been replaced as chief whip raises several questions about the communication, culture and transparency of the LPM leadership.

“Why was Seibeb, who is part of the top structure, not included in the decision to replace him? And why should a deputy leader of a party read on the social media about decisions taken in which he should have been involved?”

Coetzee said there appears to be a faction in the LPM that can be perceived as undemocratic and displaying non-transparent behaviour that has the potential to affect public perceptions and voter behaviour negatively.

“If the decision was taken to empower young people, would Seibeb oppose such a policy? The position of chief whip is a substantial position. Is it so critical that a deputy leader of the party needs to be excluded from such a decision to the utmost benefit of empowering young people?”

Coetzee said the decision might not serve the best interests of the LPM, considering elections in only a few months and parliamentary discussions to follow during the tabling of the additional budget.

Hennie Seibeb

A source close to the matter told The Namibian yesterday Seibeb had plans to resign in January already, but was motivated by his counterparts to stay put.

“The only place that we as LPM members of parliament would see some of these individuals was at parliament. So, the relationship versus the party and every other person who is from the party in relation to those two individuals has completely broken down,” Swartbooi said.

Swartbooi denied claims that Isaacks and Seibeb would be fired.

“We have rather been seeking audience after audience, and we gave up. We just made a decision around the chief whip and that was enough to trigger people to jump,” he said.

He noted that decisions were made by the party last week.

“We have long known that these people are no longer with us. Since last year. It was just a matter of time that they would take the decision as they did, and that’s why we have a sense of relief and a sense of joy that we are clearing the party. The party is being cleansed from inside,” he said.

The post Seibeb, Swartbooi marriage crumbles appeared first on The Namibian.

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