Campaigns show flaws in Swapo policy outlook

Martin Endjala

A political analyst is concerned that voting at the upcoming Swapo Party congress at the end of November will not be issue based, but will entirely be ‘’related to career plans, personal affinities and to some extend to regional or rather ethnic biases.
Henning Melber said this when asked if the candidates can present policy issues to delegates to convince get their votes.

The campaigning style, he said, shows flaws and weaknesses in Swapo, as a political party, demonstrating absence of proper policy debate, a characteristic, which according to him, applies to almost every political party in the country. This, he continued, shows the absence of serious policy debates in the country related to governance matters.

The debate so far seems to be about age and integrity.

“None of the contenders, as far as I am aware of, have shared a political programme with the wider public,” opined Melber.

Melber stated that the reason for this is because the votes they will get at the congress are not based on issue, but entirely on different premises.

It is therefore almost impossible to make a reliable assessment on what issues will influence voting behaviour at the congress, Melber pointed out.

On the issue of alliance formation at this stage, he said, it is highly unlikely that any of the candidates will pull out before the congress. ‘’But this does not mean that at the congress some tactical moves won’t take place. We witnessed this before and this is part of politics. But such politics are not guided by differing political programmes, which is a major flaw,” Melber lamented.

The political analyst also clarified that despite the candidates using new communication technologies to campaign, none of the postings have bothered to explain beyond some common place vague rhetoric for what the candidates stand.

“We know from their earlier track record a few matters, but these won’t be factors on which the votes by the congress delegates are based,” said Melber.

Although they need the votes of the delegates, they secure these through other means than their policy articulations.

The candidates will be campaigning behind closed doors in Swakopmund tomorrow. Speaking to Windhoek Observer the Swapo Party Youth League education secretary Hofni Iipinge said the candidates are only allowed to explain and share their political programmes to party delegates. Iipinge also emphasised that they are allowed to make election promises, but only to delegates from a particular region.

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