The focus now is the election victory for Swapo

By Joshua Razikua Kaumbi


All the headlines that sprang up before and after the pot had one thing in common: missing the actual pot.  Professor Emeritus Du Pisani taught me, when teaching was a passion, that political science is nothing but ‘scientific analysis of political activity and behaviour’.  An analysis ought not to be merely comparative but also context based. Scholars have long moved away from the notion that politics is reason devoid of emotions, as emotion that is attached to external events, symbols, situations, individuals, or groups…is necessary to provoke [a certain] reaction in the audience.  (GE Marcus)

I learned to identify the game of chess from the days my good old friend John Pangesch would play it, even though I steered clear of playing it to prevent self-exposure.  In the arena of political science, that is before it became a pastime for all, there are certain principles that apply, same as in science. Rumsfeld told us, when he looked us straight in the eyes, that it is ideal to admit that in as much as there are known knowns; there might also be unknown unknowns. It is a given that one departs from the known or a thesis.

Back to the chess game that my first born now mastered ‘on my behalf’. Politics is not different from the game of chess, where each chess piece can move only a certain way and where nothing is more important than watching your back so that you can attack in the middle of the game. I believe checkmate can only be preceded by the application of the mind and not the mouth. Kasparov knew long before the impact of losing focus or control of the game.

Whatever our differences, we ought to be ad idem that the sitting president is both a statesman and a politician. The American theologian, James Freeman regards a politician as being someone who thinks about the next election while the statesman think about the next generation. What he forgets is the possibility of this dichotomous characteristics be complementary to one another and not contradictory per say. Unlike those who believes that when the President classifies himself as not being “big personalities” as a sign of weakness, I believe he reached political actualisation that is alive to water having a healing and a quenching effect on a human. To this new type of leaders the ‘processes, systems and institutions’ is more important even though ‘…they will not live to see the finished work... they keep pushing forward anyway’. (Robin Morisey) Even the late Mandela, who is being hailed as a statesman of note, had attributes of a politician. Whenever he wanted to have his party agree on something, he would inform his national executive committee ‘that the ANC decided’ right in an ANC meeting and again at another platform allows the springbok to keep what appears a mere name and a colour.

Past lessons from Swapo Congresses and the last pot underscores the importance of being alive to the ideals of the movement. Being alive to the ideals of the movement is different from being a praise singer, as those who scored high might fail the Namibian idols audition. What I would want to understand is the message in the continuous scoring of some people at the pot, and a sudden decline for those who are hands on.

The pot also cemented that lesson that if those in power, young or old, when threatened close ranks or dig in. The youth need to comprehend and reconcile themselves to the concepts of hegemony and class struggle. Du Pisani or Kaapama might be more than willing to part with accumulated knowledge in this regard.

It is obvious too that the President never handpicked stooges or zombies. It might be true that the fact that Comrade Jerry Ekandjo never ‘played the man, but the ball’, (but more importantly another reason) might have benefitted him well, and not necessarily the impact of his following to the upcoming election. Politics is the art of the impossible.

The lesson, once again from the past, is that whether the votes of the President will decrease will not weaken his influence in the next five years. It will be self-exposing that the current president, seasoned diplomat and political scientist of note, will become lame duck or that there is a president’s team ad infinutum. Some of those appointed by the previous presidents continue to rise at atmospheric speed. I remain one of those who will steadfastly argue that the capitalist system has never been on autopilot. We should always develop a love towards the fear of self-exposure.

Any president’s vision does not remain the same as he enters his last term. The president will need a team that will cement his legacy of a unifier and international statesman.

Given the flooding of the last rainy season, the race for succession might only find us during another severe drought again. That does not say positioning should or will not happen, but the main show for now is the victory in the upcoming election, resuscitation of the economy. The possibility there being a vacancy before next March will be akin to the Omaruru River flowing by the time you read this article, except for those who might leave for international assignments or retire early to cash in on pension.

First lesson during the war is to defend and attack then assess. Therefore, our approach should now focus on re-producing ideologues, political radicals and liberals, policy laboratories and spin doctors in the party and secure victory in the next election.   

Obiter dicta: To those who made it, the only lesson is to know that you are as good as your last performance. Those who did not make it or performed against expectations, as the president stated ‘Hadago came back from America’… or even Josef Stalin returned from Siberia more than once.

In all we do, we should not lose our way by losing our goal. (Nietzche, edited)

*Joshua Razikua Kaumbi is a holder of BA Political Science and Sociology (Unam), LLB (Stellenbosch) and an admitted legal practitioner, currently on legal sabbatical. His opinions are expressed in his capacity as a Namibian by birth, and not choice.