Swanu Is Socialist [opinion]

THE “Letter of the Week” that was authored by S McCarthy and published in The Namibian, on 01 August 2014 under the title “Swanu manifesto is not socialist” is noted.

It is unfortunate that after the launch of the said manifesto, the same newspaper (The Namibian) that is now exercising discretion of allowing the manifesto to be reviewed, did not deem it fit to disseminate the contents thereof to enable the citizens the opportunity to appreciate what is now being reviewed. It is in that context that, as part of our right to reply, we are providing the following clarity.

The insert picture should have been that of McCarthy and not that of the Swanu president or at least it should have been clearly indicated who the person in the picture is for the readers not to mistake Usutuaije Maamberua for McCarthy.

Why should the working class vote for Swanu?, McCarthy asked. Answer – in our manifesto we stated: Land will be nationalised, so that land will be owned on leasehold only Epangelo Mining company will be 50% (minimum) shareholders in all types of mining companies and its shares shall be held in trust for all Namibians only poor urban and rural communities will be allocated fishing quotas.

(The provision of) water and electricity will be declared part of basic rights of the people. On economic justice, we said that any citizens living below the poverty line will be compensated by the State to be brought above the poverty line.

The main problem that McCarthy raised is the purportedly incompatibility of the Namibian Constitution that entrenches private property against Swanu’s proclaimed socialist inclination. It is our submission that in a country that is established on a principle of a rule of law, we are compelled to follow procedural fairness in our quest to address substantive rights. The so-called protection of private property is also negated by other provisions of the Constitution such as affirmative action, expropriation in the public interest etc.

As far as Swanu is concerned, the failure to implement social justice and genuine socio-economic transformation emanates from ignorance, misreading of the Constitution, lack of political will as well as inherent in-born reactionary mentality of the political leadership to take the bull by the horns and deal with the red-hot issues that confront our people.

Instead people are hiding behind so-called constitutional provisions. In terms of our Constitution, discrimination is prohibited, but still the same Constitution allows positive discrimination subject to promulgation of an Act of Parliament.

It is our submission that with the assumption of power by Swanu, a party that is grounded on the socialist inclination, the issue of a “neo-liberal parliament of today” which is McCarthy’s concern, will become obsolete because members of parliament will not anymore be ideologically drained to champion socialist agenda if that is the reason why heshe rejects parliamentarianism. Besides, it will be the Swanu government and not “capitalist Swapo government” of which heshe is complaining.

The manifesto is not an academic thesis to engage in class analysis but precisely the technocratic improvements on the basis of an already class analysis carried out in other Swanu documents.

We know that massive infrastructure has been unsuccessful that is why we brought in our manifesto a g element of good governance and accountability.

It is our submission that while we subscribe to socialism as a progressive revolutionary theory to alleviate the plight of our people from the brutality of capitalism and free market fundamentalism we don’t believe in sweeping statements dictating that the way socialism was achieved in other countries is the only way it should be achieved in Namibia. It is our view that such proposition negates the peculiarity and particularities of our Namibian situation. The notion that parliamentary road will not lead us to socialism is therefore rejected. Swanu cannot subscribe to hisher aocacy of anarchism.

The onus is on McCarthy to become part of the solution by either joining this transmission-belt of socialist agenda or form association of hisher choice to canvas support for this progressive tradition instead of only criticising left, right and centre.

Dr Tangeni ICK Iijambo, Swanu Secretary-general

Source : The Namibian