But before I continue, it is important to put what has become known as the ‘Omusati clique’ into perspective. The clique is more of an interest group than people from one region because if you refer to everyone born and bred in the Omusati Region, then you might be referring to people who speak six of the eight Oshiwambo dialects. Only people speaking the Ndonga and Kwanyama dialects do not strictly reside or come from Omusati while the rest speak oshiNgandjera, oshiKwaluudhi, oshiMbalantu, oshiMbandja, oshiKolonkadhi and oshiKwambi. Thus it is wrong to tribalise or regionalise this ‘clique’.
Also, it is important to note that the term was coined by Jesaya Nyamu at around the same time he and others, now in the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), started plotting how to either take over Swapo or resign and establish a new political party. In other words, the clique was partly a response to the ‘Kwanyama faction’ which was headed by Hidipo Hamutenya, although it did not solely consist of OshiKwanyama speakers.
Since Hamutenya, Nyamu and others have left Swapo, the ‘Kwanyama clique’ threat is no longer as big as it was when they were within Swapo.
That is also the reason why Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, in an interview with a local monthly magazine, admitted that they find it difficult “to arrest the situation easily because the people who coined the clique are no longer within the party”.
Since the ‘Omusati clique’, just like the ‘Kwanyama clique’, is an interest group, I agree with Ithana that it is “a political weapon”. The weapon though was not just used to create fear and division within the Swapo Party but it is a fact that some people who associated themselves with his interest group started thinking that they would rule Namibia as it pleases them. Others went on an economic rampage through their association with the ‘clique’.
But with the current race for the vice president position in Swapo, the role and importance of the ‘Omusati clique’ is seemingly evaporating.
Key players in this new development seem to be President Hifikepunye Pohamba and former President Sam Nujoma and the roles they play in the current race as well as the three candidates themselves.
Swapo vice president Hage Geingob, the party’s secretary for information Jerry Ekandjo and secretary general Iivula-Ithana, are people who were associated with the ‘Omusati clique’. Now all three are candidates for the presidency.
For instance, since it is no secret that Pohamba is supporting Geingob for the vice presidency, and Nujoma’s son Utoni has nominated Iivula-Ithana, it is already an indication that the group has split into three.
Somehow, Pohamba has deliberately weakened the clique by, for example, moving Sophia Shaningwa to Omusati as the governor there. She is fairly liberal, outspoken and with a more urban focus.
Also, there are many indications that he has shifted the focus away from the clique and wants to show a more ‘Namibianised’ and thus united party.
So the ground has shifted for the ‘Omusati clique’ and if anyone else is nominated at the Swapo Central Committee or congress, one or two of the current candidates will have to pull out to avoid a catastrophe.
However, the importance of ‘Omusati clique’ will soon become something of the past. With all other ‘enemies’ now out of the way, it would normally end with a ‘dog eat dog’ situation.
How they deal with the situation will be very interesting to see.
But they are victims of their own power ambitions which they now must now co-ordinate very carefully in order to avoid further disunity within the party.