PDM backtracks on Swapo coalition stance

Andrew Kathindi

In a major clamp down, Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has said that it is willing to form a coalition with Swapo in local and regional bodies if there is no other option, a shift from a directive the official opposition party had made earlier this month.

This comes as PDM councilor in the Berseba Village Council, Valentia Motinga disobeyed her party’s directives and formed a coalition with Swapo. This resulted in her being declared chairperson of the village council, supported by the Swapo candidates. This occurred, allegedly, amid reports that an agreement had earlier been struck with Landless People’s Movement (LPM) councilors for a coalition.

“If the opposition is making it too difficult for a coalition to be formed then what we’re saying is that Swapo is the alternative for progress to be made. If the opposition is not ready to work with us then how are we going to work together? We are willing to work with Swapo if there is no other alternative,” PDM Secretary-General Manuel Ngaringombe told Windhoek Observer.

Ngaringombe said that the party is currently investigating what transpired in the southern village council before deciding on whether to recall Motinga as he is currently hearing two different versions of events.

“What Motinga is telling us is that LPM was arrogant during the meetings telling her that the seat that PDM won in that village council should have gone to LPM instead. Motinga is a young responsible woman that has been part of the party structure at youth level. I don’t think she would take a decision to disrespect the directives of the party.”

Following the results of the local and regional elections last month, PDM sent out directives to its regional leadership to enter coalitions with political parties except for Swapo party.

LPM Deputy spokesperson Joyce Muzengua told Windhoek Observer that she was not surprised that PDM opted for a Swapo coalition and further accused the party of being desperate.

“PDM failed terribly. With the biggest budget among all the opposition, they drew the least votes. They are desperate for coalitions; they were the first to bring it to the public. If we work with Swapo today, it will affect the electorate there because the voters might go to the opposition parties.”

She added, “It might be a good idea for them to enter a coalition with another party, but for that party to be Swapo, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Why would they want to work with Swapo? If they have one seat, they have the least votes. They should have come, showed us their manifesto and compared notes with us.”

PDM has one seat on the Berseba village council out of five, while LPM and Swapo hold two each.

She further said that LPM was unable to agree on various things in the Windhoek local authority, leading up to the formation of the management committee and mayoral positions for the capital city. She however refused to divulge what those things were.

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