Welcoming remarks by His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob, President of the SWAPO Party, at the meeting of the SWAPO Party Politburo held today.
I would like to welcome you to this important meeting of the SWAPO Party Politburo.
This year, being the year of the SWAPO Party's Elective Congress, will be a year where SWAPO Party democracy will be tested.
It is a year where many of our cadres will actively participate in an open campaign to strengthen our democratic credentials.
Chapter II, Article IV, C (e) of our SWAPO Constitution states that a member of SWAPO Party has a right, "To elect and be elected to positions of authority subject to restrictions set out in this Constitution".
Therefore, those cadres that qualify to contest for elections have the right to do so as per our Constitution.
We are now launching our campaign. It should be a campaign of issues and not personalities.
It should be a robust campaign, characterized by the presentation of concretes proposals to take the country forward.
ISSUES CONCERNING CAMPAIGNING
In all democratic elections, it is common for factions to develop as respective candidates vie for support and ascendancy.
However, after contestation, everyone should rally behind the winner.
It is easy for everyone to rally behind the winner if the contestants played the ball and not the man - in other words focused on the issues and not the personalities.
When you play the ball, once the game is complete, players accept the result, shake hands and move on. When you play the man, you leave wounds and the game descends into bitterness, since wounds don't heal easily.
Therefore, the mantra we should adopt is to play the ball and not the man.
TWO CENTERS OF POWER
There are those that have held the belief that in Africa, we have a problem when it comes to practicing democracy. They believe we believe in the existence of a One Party State. In order to curtail the influence of Liberation Movements, they advised that we should ensure that there are two centers of power, one being the governing party and its government and the other being the opposition. After realizing the weakness of the opposition, they sought to enlist the press as the other center of power. We have experienced this.
b)Now the same people are advocating that there should be two centers of power in SWAPO.
NO TWO CENTERS OF POWER IN THE SWAPO PARTY
Many cadres, who are opposed to the existence of two centers of power in SWAPO, have asked for clarity regarding the preferred candidates whom I have chosen to work with, so that they can rally behind them.
I am pleased to inform you that in a short while, I will be announcing my slate, which I have drawn up after extensive consultations with senior party cadres as well as the Presidential Advisory Council, that being the Founding Father Comrade Sam Nujoma and Former President Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba.
THE RULES REGARDING SWAPO PARTY ELECTIONS
It is clearly stated that the President of the SWAPO Party can only be elected at the Congress. The Central Committee is in charge between Congresses with the responsibility to take decisions and implement the decisions of the congress. It is therefore for the Congress to reject or endorse the recommendations which the Central Committee brings before it.
On April 18, 2015, Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba indicated his intention to abdicate his duties as President of the SWAPO Party and handed over power saying, "I would like to inform you that, after consultations with the senior leadership of the Party, I informed the Politburo on the 13th April 2015, about my intention to hand over power and functions of my Office as President of the Party to the Vice President, with effect from tomorrow, the 19th April 2015, on the occasion of the 55th Anniversary of the founding of SWAPO.
The Central Committee having heard the desire of the President of SWAPO to relinquish the Presidency resolved, "To accept the decision of the President of the SWAPO Party, Comrade Hifikepunye Pohamba, to relinquish the Presidency of the SWAPO Party, thus the powers and functions of the Presidency were handed over the Vice President.
As I have indicated, cadres from many quarters have asked me to announce those cadres with whom I will work to avoid two centers of powers. However, this does not mean that people cannot nominate their preferred candidates or campaign. I am merely carrying out this exercise in order to guide those members who have asked me to reveal my slate.
I am now pleased to announce my slate for the SWAPO Party leadership, which I have drawn up following extensive consultations, as follows:
i) President - Hage Geingob
ii) Vice President - Comrade Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah
iii)Secretary General - Comrade Sophia Shaningwa
iv)Deputy Secretary General - Comrade Marco Hausiku
v)This is my preferred list and by announcing it, I have exercised my right to choose.
vi) Before I conclude, let me refer to the charge that we did not give the others a chance to research and nominate their preferred candidates.
vii) You may recall that at one stage, while we were sitting in Politburo, one of the comrades decided to inform the Chairperson that he wanted to avail himself to stand for elections.
viii) At another stage, another Comrade informed a Politburo meeting that although there was nobody to nominate him at that point, he would be nominated at the upcoming Central Committee meeting.
ix) With regards to the announcement of endorsement which some people feel should not have happened, let us take note that in all democratic systems around the world people have a right to endorse their preferred candidate.
x) Lastly, to allow people ample time to prepare, we have postponed nominations until the meeting of the SWAPO Party Politburo on the 12th October, which will be followed by a meeting of the Central Committee on the 22nd October.
Let me remind all cadres once again to play the ball and not the man.
Let us tackle the issues and not the personalities.
Let us stay committed to ensuring that we rally behind that leadership which will deliver on the promise made by SWAPO to the electorate.
SWAPO united, SWAPO victorious, Now hard work!.