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Bumpy race for State House

By Cde Nkrumah Mushelenga
There is a say that "History is the best judge whose verdict can not be ignored" I fully believe in this noble maxim. My blessing of this proverb was confirmed by the opinion expressed by Prime Minister Comrade Nahas Angula in an interview with the Sun Newspaper dated,02/11/2012. He was answering a question as to why he declined the nomination for Swapo Party Succession race. Comrade Angula said that "This is not my first time trying to vie for the top position," adding that, his first initial attempt has taught him "very important lessons". E.G. "One needs to have the support of a leader of that time, especially the president of the party" On the question whether he has confidence in the current nominees for the vicepresident's position, according to the Sun News paper, this was what he said. "We share the same political home, which is Swapo." He further went on to say that, 'but within the political home we have different types of personalities, and unless the elected leader ignores those institutions, he does not foresee a problem with whoever wins the race."

He talked about the packing order in Swapo, advising the winner that what she or he is required to do, is clearly stipulated by the Swapo Party Political Bureau, the Central Committee and the Congress. He then urged Swapo Party cadres, to have faith in whatever leadership emerges. The Prime Minister's answers to all questions were very reconciliatory, indicating the higher level of political maturity and the lower lever of personal political ambitions.

We are told that governance is about exercising power and decision-making and that the wellbeing of citizens depends on the choices made by those granted with the power to govern. It is also important that I, for one, have just reconfirmed my political decision that it is true, that although there are three presidential candidates, they are all party cadres who remain guided by the Swapo Party Manifesto and indeed the Party's aims and objectives.

"Since the burning issue is presidential succession and is covered by Article 21 sub article (a) and (b),and since both constitutions refer to he or, she, may I kindly request the three organs of the party to consider a female president during the next presidential election at party level," Nkrumah Mushelenga (29/05/2012).

Let us look at what democracy is all about. Some schools of thoughts describe democracy as a system of government with four main elements: A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; the active participation of citizens in politics and civil life Protection of the human rights of all citizens; and the rule of law, in which the law and procedures apply to all citizens.

In order to get to the bottom of what I want to clarify, allow me at this point in time to also look at what governance and the characteristics of good governance is all about. According some schools of thoughts, governance is about exercising power and decision-making and that, the wellbeing of citizens depends on the choices made by those granted with the power to govern.

The characteristics of good governance are said to be: accountability, transparency, effective and efficiency, responsive and participation. Since those are some of the international set indicators on democracy and good governance, I want to express an admonitory sentiment here. It is a fact that an abused democracy can be a mockery of democracy. The danger of propaganda can be ghastly.

For clarity purposes, permit me to use two synonyms: "misinformation or, half truth." The common element here is persuasion, and in each case the objective is to modify or reinforce the beliefs, attitudes and behavior of a particular group or audience.

Let us look at the influence of power concept. There is a saying that "Everything rises and falls on leadership. I am relatively buying this sentiment because a leader's ability to make things happen in and through others depends entirely on her or his ability to lead the community. As a Swapo Party cadre, like any other party member, I am seriously concerned with denial sentiment being expressed by some comrades after almost every Swapo member has been informed that such party organ nominated, or seconded the nomination of a candidate.

In fact, in politics, if the head of an organ speaks, it is taken for granted that it was a collective opinion or a collective decision of such an institution. To assist other comrades and to avoid making wrong decisions based on perception, personal views of our national leaders, particularly those heading party organs, should be distinguished from that of the organ. As politicians of a modern society, and being the curator of democracy, we are obliged to respect and adhere to the rule of law, procedures and the characteristics of good governance as stipulated under the four elements of democracy.

I am glad that phase one of my personal dreams has been realized soon after a female candidate was included in the presidential succession race. In Swapo, we have been talking about zebra color in a political term, amplified with 50% 50% gender based at all levels of political structures.

I can imagine how delighted are the majority of women and men in this country, because our Swapo Party has indeed demonstrated its commitment to democracy, and the characteristic of good governance. In fact this is what the brave daughters and sons of this country stood and secrifised for, during the bitter, protracted war for national liberation. "Their blood waters our freedom".

I am aware that there are some doubting sentiments being expressed by some few individuals that Namibia is not yet ready to be governed by a female comrade. Of course these are fictitious opinions. In democracy, every body has the right to express his or her opinions provided that such piece of opinion is guided by the principle of constructive criticism as provide for in the Swapo Party Constitution and that such critique is not intended to harm the credibility of the targeted presidential candidates. "History is the best judge whose verdict cannot be ignored."

I am overwhelmingly excited to see that three presidential candidates are long term serving national Swapo Party leaders. I am also impressed because all the three candidates have experiences in one area or the other, because of their various portfolio profiles both in the party and government structures.

The only difference is that, one of the candidates possesses several unique characteristic: 1. She is a female. For the first time in the history of the Swapo Party to have a nominated female presidential candidate for the party vice president
2. For the first time within the SADC Region to have a female candidate nominated for presidential candidate.
3. She is not only a female, but also a female combatant commander, who like any other male commander, at the battle field, provided military leadership in the battle field.
4. She is not only a female politician and academic, but also a female with a wide range of experiences in democracy, the rule of law, good governance, international relations, humanitarian laws, security sector and oversight bodies est.
5. She possesses the inbuilt abilities to mentor others; to inspire herself and others for selfimprovement; to influence the comrades for collective successful approach and she possesses the value of teamwork.

Success breeds success in a leader. Thanks to the values of democracy, today, although women are the majority in the African continent or, African countries, out of 54 countries in Africa, there are only two female Presidents in the continent, namely Ellen Janson of Liberia and Joyce Banda of Malawi.

Comparative analysis indicates that a female president does not only have the inbuilt natural abilities to provide the much desired democratic leadership to her country and her people, but also the natural given humanitarian element of solidarity which enables them to effectively and efficiently manage the bread and butter issues. Not only that, because it is an acceptable traditional norm in our African societies, females tend to think more on how best they can distribute the smallest food item among boys and girls, in the family, and also some times, within the extend families. These have drastically empowered them to effectively deal with youth upbringing, skills development, and equity distribution of our god given natural resources.

A case in point is that of Meme Joyce Banda, President of Malawi. When she immediately took over, she had at the bottom of her heart the concerns of the level of poverty of the majority of Malawians. Her first approach was to cut her salaries, a decision which was supported and emulated by her vice President.

It is and it remains a fact, that whoever wins the vice presidential elction, she or he is expected apart from her, or his functions, powers and duties as outlined in Article 32 of the Constitution of Namibia, to face head on the following national social-economic challengers; e.g. land and bread and butter issues, shelters for all, corruptions, unemployment, essential commodities prize control, human security, climate change, immigration and emigration and veterans social grants and projects issues just to mention a few.

My small advise to the comrades is that although government has spent a lot of money on the willing seller willing buyer approach, we are of the opinion that there is no legitimacy for the government to continue spending millions of dollars on individuals who have illegitimately acquired those properties through darkness. We should, before it is not yet too late, address the land issue through a national referendum.

We should be able to, through a referendum, decide the realistic Namibian based formula, to ensure that every body gets at least a plot for a shelter, which he or she can call her or his children's property. With regard to youth empowerment, let us adopt a bottom up approach. Development funds should be channeled through constituency structures, with central government playing oversight responsibilities.

"History is the best judge whose verdict cannot be ignored"



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