Politicians call for presidential debate

Erasmus Shalihaxwe

Maximillian Katjimune, a Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament added his voice to the call for a public debate between candidates in the presidential race that will stand in the November presidential and national assembly elections.

The call was initially made by Panduleni Itula, the leader of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) on his X account last week.

“I’m all set to debate with candidates who are duly registered. Let’s bring our A-game to the table!’ he wrote under the #ReadyToDebate tagline in his social media post.

Katjimune said the debate will allow presidential candidates to tell the electorate directly what they will bring to the table in terms of economic and social deliverables to take the country forward.

“We must not only end at Presidential candidate debates. We must also ensure that the debate is extended to different representatives of political parties to robustly debate their propositions in front of the electorate on different platforms,” stated Katjimune.

Joseph Kauandenge, a National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) member of parliament, also supported the proposal.

According to Kauandenge, it is high time that candidates stop hiding behind the names of their parties and engage in direct discussions with the electorate on issues of the economy and the policies of the individual parties.

“In mature democracies, presidential debates are a must because a public platform is the only place for the electorate to gauge the capabilities of the candidates and to choose the person who demonstrates deep-seated knowledge about policies that will improve people’s living conditions,” he said.

Political analyst, Rui Tyitende said that at this stage in Namibia’s trajectory, it cannot be business as usual because the country is sinking.

Tyitende said elections are often considered to be the heart of the political process and representations that portray politicians as servants of the people and invest them with a responsibility to act for or on behalf of those who elect them

He is of the opinion that presidential debates will strengthen democracy as Namibian citizens will know which one of the candidates has a transformative development blueprint for the country.

“For example. Can the prospective candidates articulate a clear vision for the country without reading from a speech crafted by some consultant, personal assistant or speech writer? Since development is primarily about ideas, how do they think about burning issues confronting society? Do they have ideas of their own or are they significantly influenced by the coterie of political and economic entrepreneurs and vultures surrounding and following them around?” he asked.

“Namibia is not some shebeen or kindergarten that can be led by any chance taker, it requires a person with impeccable foresight and a moral conviction to rescue the masses from the doldrums of poverty, corruption, unemployment, and a failing education and health system and amongst other ills,” Tyitende added.

He said that the real problem with democracy is that it gives equal chances to people who are not equal in skills and knowledge and thus produces poor leaders who make poor decisions that can destroy the state.

He said it is high time that Namibia develop standards for politicians the same way it develops standards for government cleaners.

“If a Cleaner goes for an interview, why not an individual who harbours ambitions of governing three million people? A person who gets to decide, often quite literally, who gets to live or die in terms of access to health care in areas where it is non-existent,” he said.

Related Posts