ECN finally calls Shalli to order

Andrew Kathindi

The Electoral Commission of Namibia, (ECN) has at last called out retired Lieutenant General of the army Martin Shalli after his comments about ‘cutting throats of Swapo party defectors’ drew widespread criticism.

This comes as Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Vice-President Jennifer Van Den Heever laid a criminal charge at the Windhoek Police Station against retired Major-General.

Shalli made these comments while campaigning for Swapo in Okahandja on Saturday 7 November.

“The ECN has noted with concern a video clip circulated on various media platforms where one of the leaders of the Swapo party, RT Lieutenant General Martin Shalli can be heart using language that incites violence at a recent political campaign event in Okahandja, which was clearly in contravention with the Code of Conduct for political parties,” said Chairperson of the ECN Notemba Tjipueja.

The ECN told political parties and contesting candidates in the upcoming regional and local authority elections to advice its members, supporters and officials to familiarise themselves with the Code of Conduct and comply with it.

According to point five of the ECN’s Code of Conduct, speakers at political rallies may not use language which incites violence in any form against any other person or group of persons. Parties will not issue pamphlets, newsletters or posters which contain materials which incite people to violence.

“On 4 November 2020, the commission convened a meeting with political parties, associations and independent candidates that will be contesting in the forthcoming elections to urge all political contestants to pledge their commitment to comply with the provisions of the Code of Conduct throughout the campaign season and beyond. Against this background, we urge all political entities to desist from engaging in any conduct or behavior that would incite or violate any of the 16-point guidelines of the political party code of conduct for political activities,” said Tjipueja.

He was however mum on whether further action will be taken.

Shalli apologized for his statements on Monday 9 November.

“I want to take this opportunity, to tell my comrades, members of the Swapo party, as well as any other person whosoever might have been offended by the statement that I made, I sincerely withdraw that cut throat thing, and therefore I apologize to anybody that I have offended,” he said.

He added, “Comrades, friends, opposition parties…this statement was made at a political rally. It was meant to canvas support for my party. It was meant to appeal not only to Swapo members but others as well to vote for Swapo party.”

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