Swartbooi resigns from Swapo
By Magreth Nunuhe
WINDHOEK – Embattled former Deputy Minister of Land Reform, Clinton Swartbooi, on Thursday tendered his resignation from Namibia’s ruling Swapo party at a packed Commando Hall in Windhoek’s Katutura suburb.
His resignation came as no surprise after he was recalled from Parliament on Wednesday by the party after he made what was termed tribal and anti-Swapo remarks at the weekend in the southern town of Keetmanshoop.
Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba has warned party members against stoking tribal tensions in the country.
Swartbooi was first sacked from his ministerial position this year after he criticised his senior, the Lands Minister, Uutoni Nujoma piblicly. He was asked to apologise but refused, which led to his dismissal, but he still remained a Swapo Member of Parliament until his recall on Wednesday.
He formed the Landless Peoples Movement to fight for the rights of the landless people whose land has been taken by force by successive colonial regimes of Germany and South Africa. Swartbooi has particularly voiced his unhappiness about the way people from other regions, particularly the north, who are allegedly being resettled on land in the south, while southerners are allegedly sidestepped.
He also took a swipe at the resettlement and land reform policy, which he said was not transparent and fair in land distribution.
“I officially resign from OPO,” he said, referring to the former name of Swapo, namely Ovamboland People’s Organisation. He charged that the ruling party only changed its name from a tribal organisation, but never stopped operating like OPO.
Swartbooi dismissed speculation that his landless movement would turn into a political party and said it is non-partisan and non-political.