Paulus Kathanga, the suspended Affirmative Repositioning Movement head of elections, better known as Pau Pau has labeled former Windhoek Mayor, Job Amupanda’s plans to run for President in the November 2024 national elections a political stunt and a joke.
“I have worked personally with the former spokesperson of the Swapo Party Youth League, Amupanda and ever since he left that youth league, he turned himself into a “Dear Namibia Electronic Social media Billboard” which is merely used for people’s entertainment and spreading rumors and propaganda. Therefore, people shouldn’t be surprised about Amupanda expanding from electronic billboards to physical and static billboards to seek validation. It is for people’s entertainment. A political gimmick,” Kathanga said. Amupanda yesterday announced his intention to contest for the highest office in 2024, by unveiling billboards in Windhoek, Ondangwa, and the coastal towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Kathanga added that Amupanda will only continue serving as a local authority councilor.
“He is and remains a councilor of a local authority, and that’s what it is. The Presidency is a serious office, and we shouldn’t joke around it with councilors. Let’s wait for 2025 for Regional and Local Authority elections so we talk about Amupanda and others,’ added Kathanga. Last year, Kathanga, the former spokesperson of AR Simon Amunime, and Amupanda were at each other’s throats because of alleged financial mismanagement, misuse and bullying of other members on Amupanda’s part. Kathanga and Amunime accused Amupanda of being a selfish leader. The duo were subsequently relieved of their duties in July last year and jumped ship in November.
AR’s current Spokesperson George Kambala is backing Amupanda, saying that the movement firmly believes that Amupanda could be the next President of Namibia if all young people who are eligible to vote register to vote in the upcoming elections.
“I believe that he stands a very great chance at winning. We the youth are now our own alternative and only the youth can reverse the hardships caused by the economy. All the youth need to go register to vote,” he said.
Meanwhile, Political Analyst, Ndumba Kamwanyah said he is unsure whether Amupanda is serious about contesting for the Presidency. According to Kamwanyah, Amupanda’s entry into the presidential race will undoubtedly add more dynamics to local politics.
“On a personal reaction, one never really knows whether its Job being Job, or he is serious about contesting. One can also draw a conclusion based on the billboards he put up and since they are quite pricey, I don’t think anyone would spend so much on jokes. So, whether he stands a chance or not, him entering the presidential elections will definitely bring more dynamics to local politics,” said Kamwanyah.
He added that despite having a huge youth base, Amupanda lacks the support of the older generation and other groups, without which he cannot win the elections.
“He does, however, have quite a following of young people and the likelihood is that in 2024, we will see a high voter turnout amongst the youth seeing that they are frustrated about the status of the country. The youth also see him as challenging, but he still cannot win the elections without the support of the older generation and other categories of which we know he does not have their support. Even in the context of the youth supporting him, I have noticed a large number of youth following LPM, IPC, and PDM and the youth votes are most likely to be split amongst them,” Kamwanyah added.
The Executive Director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Graham Hopwood shared similar sentiments and said although it is difficult to say whether he has a chance, he is a very well-known figure among young people.
“It is quite hard to tell if he stands a chance, however, he is a very well-known figure amongst the youth and he could get a significant number of votes if the youth vote. If he can pick up enough votes, he can have serious impact on the elections. In the previous elections, Dr Panduleni Itula who was less prominent picked up 30 percent of the votes. It’s quite a challenge. A lot of young people I speak to do not want to vote in the coming election,” Hopwood said.