Tujoromajo Kasuto

POPULAR Democratic Movement (PDM) Secretary General, Manuel Ngaringombe, says the party will have an policy conference from 18 to 22 October in Otjiwarongo.

Themed “Shaping PDM policy towards a transformative society”, the conference is to develop the movements policies on a wide range of various pressing economic, political and societal issues such as land and housing, sustainability, the economy, education, health, climate change, youth unemployment and gender minority rights such as abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.

The event will be attended by 100 delegates, carefully chosen from both within the movement and outside, based on their unique set of skills and expertise. Ngaringombe says the conference will find a “niche” for the PDM and will put the party aside from the rest, as it will showcase what the party has to bring and offer. Ngaringombe notes that politics in Namibia is generalised, thus the party will be looking at the manifestos of all political parties on land delivery, among others. “How exactly they are going to deliver this, what strategies do they have in place and looking at different political standpoints what identifies us from the rest of the parties, what will voters look at and say they will for vote PDM because of this.”

The conference is further expected to develop and adopt a comprehensive position on the complex dynamics regarding agricultural, urban and ancestral land in Namibia. “As we all know Namibia is very much on land delivery as a theme but then we have to discuss urban and agricultural land, what are we saying and who are the developers and who will benefit from this, especially the elephant in the house when it comes to land is ancestral land, such what is ancestral land, who owns it, how will they get their land, is it possible and once it happens thus there is a need for deliberation to have a clear policy standing,” he says.

On economy, it is expected that the policy conference will produce a tangible and workable policy, which will address issues of structural inequality in the economy and contradictions in the labour market in as far as unemployment and working conditions are concerned.
It is further expected to guide the movement in terms of its position on basic and higher education, and the complex dynamics involving funding and accessibility to education.

In the same light, according to Ngaringombe, accessibility to health care will be addressed as well as issues related to climate change and the environment saying it it is very important with reference to the widespread wild fires that have broken out over the last few weeks.
“We are all seeing this field fires and you are asking yourself, is it the climate change, it is too hot or is it the way we are dealing with our fields and bushes , charcoal producers which brings the question of what is really happening,” he reflects.

The conference will also pronounce the movement’s stance relating to issues such as LGBTQ + rights and abortion, which he says “did not get the necessary attention it deserves”, when the motion was tabled in parliament. “We are all aware the sexual minorities wants to know where we stand as political parties in Namibia, more specifically where does PDM stand as an alternative”, which he says is a complex issue to discuss and they are going to look into it.

Furthermore, the conference will craft the movement’s stance on major international conflicts such as Western Sahara and Israel and Palestine; generally all the international issues are to be gazed at.

The second component of the conference will be election review, which will analyse and scrutinise the performance of the movement during the 2019 Presidential and National Assembly, 2020 Regional and Local Authority Elections.

According to Ngaringombe, delegates will be expected to robustly and honestly reflect on the current state and electoral performance, which will subsequently birth PDM’s 2021-2025 strategic plan.