What does a SWAPO victory mean?

 

SWAPO Party’s war against the illegal and illegitimate occupiers of Namibia and their hated colonial apartheid laws and structures, was a war for freedom.

It is history that SWAPO and its formidable armed wing, the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) won the war and finally the democratic elections back in 1989. Independence followed on March 21, 1990.

Indigenous African Namibians were finally set free. They could go wherever they wanted to and set up business wherever they needed to and were given access to their land, which they could till. However, a part of commercial farmland remained in the hands of those, who benefitted from the former occupiers, Germany and South Africa.

As the late struggle stalwart, Ruth First, documented in her book, “South West Africa”, “The crowding of Africans into small Reserves has undermined their subsistence economy, while taxes have only increased their impoverishment.

“Labour regulations decree that a tribesman may enter a labour area and earn a cash wage, to pay his tax and tide his family over a short period in their rural slum, but that he must return home at the end of his labour contract.”

During those cruel and disrespectful times, the force of law backed such actions.

In other words, indigenous African Namibians, or original Namibians, were guests in their own land providing cheap and restricted labour.

At the same time they remained imprisoned in structured poverty.

“Thus, each reserve, town, or farming area (including mines) is an island surrounded by a sea of restrictions. Once a man is ordained to live and work in one area, there is little or nothing that he can do to change his situation. If he steps beyond the limits recorded in his passes, he risks arrest by the police, the detectives in plain clothes, the labour inspectors, who search everyone for transgressors.”

Ruth First recorded the above in her historic book, “South West Africa”, published in 1963.

The revolutionary movement of the masses of Namibia, SWAPO, led by its president Sam Nujoma, was formed on 19 April 1960.

The liberation movement stood its ground undisputedly in the van of the Namibian people’s struggle. The war for freedom lasted until March 1989.

“All the Africans of South West Africa, whether Ovambo, or Herero, Nama or Damara, were subject to the same exploitation. The workers in the migrant labour camps – unfit for human occupation – saw that unity across all tribal barriers was their only weapon against their oppressors.

Since that time Sam Nujoma has felt a deep commitment to this solidarity.”

Researchers, historians and authors Alfred Babing and Hans-Dieter Braeuer reported the above in their book, “Namibia”.

Why does this writer refer to the above now in 2014? Well, history seems forgotten as soon as the struggle was over and freedom had been achieved.

New developments cast their shadows. It seems that whatever the SWAPO-led government does, it is severely criticised that it is “corrupt and not doing enough for the people of Namibia”. Younger generations with the assistance of the media seem to expect a social welfare state, where government does everything for the people. Instant gratification trends the world over.

Observing global destabilisation and a debt holocaust, massive unemployment and poverty setting everywhere, Namibia seems quite well off. So-called “Arab Springs” and anarchy, regime changes and economic disintegration make headline news daily. The Afghanistan/Iraq/Egypt/Libya/Syria/Sudan/Ukraine and Yemeni wars speak for themselves.

To date, Namibians live in a peaceful environment with an existing and managed infrastructure. Namibia is well known for its peace and cleanliness, its accommodating hospitality and tourist influx from Europe and South Africa.

Black and white Namibians live peacefully next to one another. City, towns and rural areas boast good living standards. Hotels, restaurants, roads, shopping malls and telecommunication systems are readily available. The country’s middle class has grown, still benefiting from Namibia’s welcoming society.

The port of Walvis Bay is currently undergoing an infrastructural development boom. The export industry has taken off. Namibia’s economy grows despite a global economic meltdown.

The country is a member of the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations and keeps its close financial and economic ties with South Africa and Germany and the international community.

Of course, the poor classes cannot be wished away and need urgent attention. They were victims of colonial-apartheid’s structures of poverty. It would take time, commitment, guidance, education and social welfare to support them out of their poverty.

However, SWAPO Party has succeeded to turn an enslaved indigenous African Namibian community to a growing and solid nation with hope for a better future. Namibia’s young with their access to a better education and therefore, with greater possibilities to participate in the economy, has never had such opportunities before.

SWAPO Youth League has its role to play by informing the youth of the sacrifices their parents and grandparents made. History should be made obligatory so that the slaughter of their forefathers in Namibia, in neighbouring countries and at Cassinga, for example, will never be forgotten.

This is the history of SWAPO’s brothers and sisters of this region in a joint struggle against imperialist, racial occupation and exploitation. They include South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC), Angola’s MPLA, Mozambique’s Frelimo, Zambia’s weakened UNIP and Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF.

Today SWAPO Party demonstrates mature African politics based on Christian principles. It commands the respect of all, who live on the land.

Such respect includes good and critical advice and guidance, hard work and the support of those who were prepared to give their lives for the freedom of the future generations.

SWAPO Party decided in its last congress to have Right Honourable Dr Hage Geingob as party president. This decision is respected as it shows mature political leadership.

How often was SWAPO Party described as “the new colonisers of Namibia”, as its leadership consisted of strong Ovambo representation and the Ovambo are the biggest people of the country?

SWAPO Party demonstrates that it is not an ethnic party, but a unifier for all people living in Namibia. Party president, Hage Geingob, a member of the indigenous Damara people, proves that the ruling party has no ethnic factionalism.

Another term under SWAPO Party leadership would ensure continuity and stability. – Afrika the Other Side

December 2014
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