MEMBERS of SWAPO gathered in their thousands at the Sport Complex in Katima Mulilo to commemorate the ruling party’s 59th year of existence.
Former President and Founding Father of the Namibian Nation, Dr. Sam Nuyoma was amongst the senior party members that attended the celebrations in the Zambezi Region on Saturday.
President Hage Geingob, in his capacity as party president, delivered the key note address and said the establishment of the SWAPO Party on the 19th of April 1960 was a pivotal moment in the history of Namibia because it united the people in the struggle for freedom and independence.
“The second phase of the struggle, the economic emancipation of the Namibian people, requires the same united approach that was present during the liberation struggle,” he said.
The full speech by Dr. Geingob reads as follows:
Welcome, all comrades who have come from all over Namibia to participate in this belated birthday celebration.
This is another pivotal moment in our history as we approach another election campaign.
April 19, 1960, will forever remain, one of the most important dates in the history of this country. It is the date of birth of SWAPO, an organization that established itself from the outset as the revolutionary vanguard for Namibia’s struggle for independence. SWAPO united all Namibians, cultivating a spirit of patriotism and nationalism.
Through SWAPO, we were able to defeat the enemy as a united people. We are therefore here to celebrate a history of unity, a history of struggle and a history of victory.
History of unity
If there is one thing that has defined the struggle for Africa’s independence, it is unity. This was understood by extraordinary personalities like Kwame Nkrumah’s who wrote the book Africa Must Unite and once formed, SWAPO became an organization comprising of a diverse group of cultures and backgrounds.
Under the tutelage of Comrade Nujoma and other SWAPO senior leaders, SWAPO members united, irrespective of tribe, to unite and fight for one common cause. Unity was the fuel of SWAPO that produced the gallantry, strength and fortitude needed to prevail in the struggle. We need to foment the same fervour of unity in order to overcome post-independence challenges. As we draw nearer to the campaign season and subsequent elections, there is a need for self-reflection.
If any cadre works alone there can be chances that comrade gets defeated, but if we work we will be able to remain victorious. Inner party unity is therefore critical for success.
History of struggle
In the life of every human being, there is a time to submit and there is a time to fight. Peter Ndilimani Nanyemba said: “We have to cross many rivers of blood before we can achieve our freedom.”
Many Namibians joined SWAPO out of sense of duty, a sense of pride and self-sacrifice. They stood up against the abhorrent practices of the Apartheid regime. The aprty followed a three pronged approach involving Political Mobilization, Diplomatic Engagement and the Armed Struggle.
Political mobilization led to uniting Namibian people to actively participate in the struggle. On the diplomatic front SWAPO succeed in mobilizing international opinion firmly on the side of the struggling people of Namibia. The armed struggle commenced when PLAN combatants fired the first shots at Ongulumbashe. We are proud of our history of struggle. The Struggle forged the character of SWAPO. We endured hardship to bring about the total independence of Namibia.
History of Victory
The struggle for freedom was long and bitter, resulting in a huge loss of human lives. But heroes and heroines paid the ultimate price ensuring that the dark clouds of oppression would give way to the radiant light of freedom. This March 23, we commemorated Southern Africa Liberation Day and the battle of Cuito Cuanavale. The pivotal battle of Cuito Cuanavale, which led to the crushing defeat of South African Apartheid forces, opened the gateway to the most triumphant period in SWAPO’s history.
This led to the implementation of Resolution 435 and subsequent elections in which SWAPO emerged victorious. Following Independence, SWAPO united a nation torn apart by the Apartheid policy that governed the Bantustans.
After Independence, we commenced with Nation-Building.
We are still faced with new challenges that only SWAPO can solve.
The worrying rise of the scourge of tribalism is of great concern.
The second phase of the struggle requires the same united approach that was present during the liberation struggle.
This is why I have championed the new narrative of the Namibian House, the spirit of Harambee, No Namibian must feel left out and One Namibia – One Nation. This new narrative connotes unity.
As committed and patriotic cadres, we should ensure that SWAPO lives up to its motto of a united and hard-working rank and file. Only through remaining united, will we emerge victorious in the second phase of our struggle for economic emancipation. I am confident that if we hold hands we will continue to make gains in our quest for the socio-economic transformation of the Namibian people and bring about a more unified, just and prosperous society.
Happy 59th Birthday SWAPO. Happy 59th Birthday Comrades. SWAPO, United! SWAPO, Victorious! NOW, Hard Work!
Photos: Courtesy of the Namibian Presidency