By Josephat Sinvula
History tells us that by now Lucas Hifikepunye Pohamba is a lame duck President who had the misfortune of entering the Office as the “Reluctant Warrior” nominated and bolstered by the Founding President in 2004. He picked an anti-corruption agenda that endeared him to the civil society groupings and the majority of Namibians but at the end of the day it was a question of “where is the beef Mr President?” Action to match the words was lacking.
President Pohamba’s legacy will be that of the “reluctant warrior” who did not wish to rock the boat using the adage of “collective leadership” as an excuse. For instance, during his watch, questions of impropriety were leveled against his fellow Ministers with regard to the GIPF (Government Institutions Pension Fund) saga, grabbing and fencing off of Communal Land, including his own, in the Kavango Region as well as his daughter’s Chinese scholarship at the expense of needy and poverty stricken Namibians. The Reports of the Presidential Commissions of Enquiry held during the years of his predecessor have never been released despite his promise to do that when he took office way back in 2005.
His lame duck status is likely to become obvious following the nomination of Hage Gottfried Geingob, the Minister of Trade and Industry and SWAPO Vice President, Pendukeni-Iivula Ithana, the Minister of Justice and SWAPO Secretary General by the Political Bureau as well as Jerry Ekandjo, Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development and SWAPO Secretary for Information and Publicity to compete for the Vice Presidency of SWAPO at the Party Congress in November.
Hon Geingob is automatically in the race as the incumbent Vice President. It is therefore a moot point to advance the notion that President Pohamba nominated him. Naturally as the type of leader who does not wish to rock the boat, he does create an impression that Geingob needs to succeed him for reasons of continuity and political expediency.
Political pundits, however, have been advancing the view that Geingob is the preferred candidate of President Pohamba and that he recently summoned some Regional Governors at State House canvassing for support for Geingob but it is unlikely that President Pohamba would openly take such a risky political move before the outcome of the forthcoming SWAPO-Party Congress in December 2012.
Prime Minister Nahas Angula’s decision to decline the nomination during the Political Bureau Meeting is a tactical move to toe the line and it is bordering on blind loyalty towards the President but may change once he is nominated at the Central Committee’s meeting at the end of the month.
Geingob and Ithana can be likened to a “Brides Maid” and the “ambitious Biblical Virgin”. Geingob is an astute Politician and Administrator and has his core of intellectuals with some competent teams extracted from some Wannabe Johnny-Come-Lately Comrades, businessmen, technocrats, etc who may put up an ostensibly formidable campaign machinery although some of his detractors say that he does not have a “home based constituency” (It is a fallacy to advance the argument that SWAPO-Party is Geingob’s constituency because SWAPO-Party is a constituency for all Namibians). Iivula-Ithana is a shrewd politician who speaks her mind but has been labeled as an “unguided missile´ by her detractors and is also supported by some Wannabe Johnny-Come-Lately Comrades whose political credentials are sometimes questionable but she has not been tested as a Presidential Material Friendly leader yet considering that she has been associated with the loosely defined ‘Omusati Clique” for all the wrong reasons.
Ekandjo is the “Prodigal Son” and is likely to spoil it for both of them and he is the dark-horse of the race. He is known to be close to the grass root membership and leadership that has helped him to cultivate a loyal following and has used these structures as outreach foothold for his campaigns as one of the most popular leaders at Central Committee Meetings. This notwithstanding, some political pundits within the SWAPO-Party regard him as not “Presidential Material” friendly yet.
Angula is a symbiosis of a reluctant warrior, true blood and a dark horse all rolled into one and is profoundly loyal to his superiors (he did not wish to be seen as not supporting the President’s so called “nomination” of Geingob and hence declined nomination at the Political Bureau Meeting). If he is nominated at the forthcoming Central Committee Meeting, he is very likely to be supported by President Pohamba whom he catapulted to higher office after he backed him during the 2004 election with a wholesale wave of his supporters; so it is pay-back time! The Founding President is also likely to support him.
Nahas in this race is likely to run for only one term and would therefore be the compromise candidate as he is perceived not to carry any political baggage and appears to be corrupt-free and is a man of all seasons and that of the common man as far as social justice is concerned.
Josephat Sinvula is a holder of a B.Sc in Urban Studies & Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and MPA from Atlanta University (USA). He is currently a Ph.D Candidate in Political Science.