January 7, 2008

Pohamba slams those inciting tribalism and proposes Swapo disciplinary code

During a Swapo rally held at Helao Nafindi town in Ohangwena Region, the president of the ruling Swapo Party and President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba heavily criticised individuals whom he accused of promoting tribalism to stop henceforth, as the Swapo constitution and that of the country outlaw tribalism. The President was reacting to a letter that called on all Ovakwanyama people not to attend the Swapo Party rally. Pohamba emphasised that Namibians fought the liberation struggle as one and not as a divided people. Pohamba also said some people tended to cry foul after failing to secure positions in the party and Government, attributing such failure to tribal affiliation and in this way spread rumours that they are victims of tribal discrimination.
Before, in the middle of December, while speaking at the inaugural Swapo Party Politburo meeting, Pohamba also proposed a written code of conduct for all Swapo Party members. He also proposed a disciplinary committee to be established, which was also a resolution that was made at the fourth Swapo Party Congress at the end of November. The resolution, the party said, was prompted by "lack of discipline" among some party members. "These tools will help to clarify issues related to the norms of conduct of all party members and provide for the holding of disciplinary hearings for members who violate the code of conduct," said Pohamba, adding that these instruments would further ensure consistency and procedural fairness in dealing with issues of alleged indiscipline. "It will also help strengthen the democratic culture within our party at all levels," Pohamba told the 21 members of the newly constituted Politburo.
The Swapo Party congress made 30 resolutions, focussing strongly on economic empowerment and the nagging issue of unemployment. Other resolutions deal with the reform and restructuring of the education system; an intensification of the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic; human resources and the need to strengthen Swapo regional structures and the establishment of a party school, for which N$1 million is sought. Another resolution made is for the party to further explore ways to improve the conditions of senior citizens and other vulnerable groups. Others relate to mining, fishing and agriculture, tourism development, social empowerment, gender equality and youth development.
The party has been criticised for its resolution on the media, where it called on the Government to establish a media council to regulate the activities and operations of the local press. Fears have been raised that this could lead to undue control over the media and hence stifle freedom of expression. (New Era, Windhoek)

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