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President Geingob's Remarks at the 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elders' Council

By His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob
President of the Republic of Namibia and President of the SWAPO Party

JULY 9, 2017
Outapi, Namibia

Closing Remarks by His Excellency Dr. Hage Geingob President of the Republic of Namibia and the SWAPO Party on the occasion of the 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elders' Council

Director of Ceremonies; Comrade Mukwaita Shanyengana, Secretary of the SWAPO Party Elders' Council; Comrades, Members of the Political Bureau of the SWAPO Party; Comrades, Members of the SWAPO Party Central Committee; Comrades, Members of the SWAPO Party Elder's Council; Members of the Media; Comrades and friends;

There is an African Proverb which says, "Those who respect the elderly pave their own road towards success". In SWAPO, we revere our elders and extol their immeasurable contribution to Namibia's independence and the subsequent peace and stability we have enjoyed for 27 years. In SWAPO, we will always respect our elders, since they are the roots of this 57 year old tree called SWAPO, and therefore they hold the key to the future success of our SWAPO Party.

It is with these thoughts in mind that it gives me great pleasure to be with you this morning, to provide the closing remarks for this 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elders' Council. Over the past three days, you have worked with a sense of urgency and seriousness that one can only expect from wise and experienced stalwarts such as yourselves. Your continued commitment towards the SWAPO Party ideals of solidarity, freedom and justice is indicative of the great sense of responsibility you have towards the Party, people and country and therefore I am proud to see that the 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elders' Council has concluded successfully, completing all set items on the agenda. The Congress has conducted elections and I would like to congratulate those cadres who have been elected. We are all aware that SWAPO has, and will always espouse democratic principles, and campaigns and elections are part and parcel of this process, ensuring that SWAPO maintains its ascendancy in the Namibian political sphere.

We all understand that during our elections, cadres rightfully vie for positions within the structures of the Party. This however, should not open the door for acrimony and animosity. Mao Zedong once said, "The differences between friends cannot but reinforce their friendship". I would like to paraphrase Mao by saying that "the differences between cadres cannot but reinforce their camaraderie".

Let us therefore take into account the fact that, although we may compete against each other during our respective congresses, we are first and foremost comrades - comrades who share a bond of blood, sweat and tears, etched in the soils that we liberated. Therefore, no difference should ever pull us apart but it should rather pull us closer together.

Comrades, The 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elders' Council has outlined an unwavering determination and strong will to spearhead SWAPO's drive in achieving our developmental objectives. We are faced with several countervailing forces that could hinder our plans such as the unpredictable global economy, income disparities, poverty, corruption and the ever looming specter of tribalism. We must therefore intensify our efforts to consolidate our position as a people centered Party, by bolstering the leadership and intellectual capacity of the Party. This is what the newly elected leaders of the SWAPO Party Elder's Council must focus on. As the roots of SWAPO, we depend on your wisdom and deep knowledge to sustain the life-force of the party and bring about the sprouting of new branches, which will ensure that SWAPO is a Party that will always bear good fruit.

As a Party, we have committed to our Vision 2030, supported through our National Development Plans and the Harambee Prosperity Plan. As a Party, we have committed to the pursuit of rapid and sustainable economic development aimed at transforming Namibia into a nation characterized by a competitive industrialized economy. As a Party, we have committed to improving the welfare of the Namibian people and resolutely and firmly defending our national independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity. As a Party we have committed to safeguard our peace and stability, contributing to regional, continental and global security in order to enhance Namibia's reputation in the region and throughout the world. Our newly elected members should put the objectives that I have just mentioned, at the forefront of their agenda over the upcoming period of their tenures. Personal interests should be discarded in favour of national interests, which should be the only priority. Let me state, that I have the utmost confidence in the ability of our newly elected members of the SWAPO Party Elder's Council to continue to act as a vanguard for the SWAPO Party principles and ideals. I also hope that our elders will take advantage of the platform availed by our SWAPO Party School, to impart the valuable knowledge and wisdom they possess, to younger generations of aspiring SWAPO Party leaders.

Comrades, The successful conclusion of the 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elders Council is a proverbial shot in the arm to the entire Party, giving us the motivation needed to overcome any differences or challenges that we are currently facing. We should be encouraged to pull together, in the same direction, as SWAPO, and strive to eradicate poverty, fight corruption and bring about prosperity for the Namibian people by transforming Namibia into an industrialized country.

Before concluding, I would like to share with you one final quote from Kwame Nkrumah who said, "The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart." As SWAPO Party cadres, we are united by the intrinsic forces of altruism, patriotism, Pan-Africanism and equality and equity. We must not and shall not, allow ourselves to be pulled apart by superimposed influences such as tribalism, regionalism, ethnicity and corruption. Let us therefore conclude on a high note, bolstered by our collective spirit and assured by a rejuvenated determination, a rejuvenated work ethic and a rejuvenated commitment, ready to steer the SWAPO Party and Namibia, towards a future of peace, stability and shared prosperity. With these few words, I now declare the 6th Congress of the SWAPO Party Elder's Council as concluded.

Long live the SWAPO Party, Long live the SWAPO Party Elders Council, SWAPO, United! SWAPO, Victorious! NOW, Hard Work! I thank you.


SWAPO Headquarters Mandume Strt
Windhoek, Katutura