Andrew Kathindi

Opposition party leaders have hit back at Finance Minister, Iipumbu Shiimi for claims that new political parties were being founded by tribalists.

On his social media page, Shiimi stated, “Tribalism will destroy Namibia as it has done in some countries. I am concerned about new political parties/associations that are being formed by tribalists. True Namibians should reject these tribal projects.”

Shiimi’s comments were met with a barrage of criticism. It is believed that his comments may have been aimed at parties such as Landless People’s Movement (LPM), which was formed in 2018. Its leader, Bernadus Swartbooi has been as a thorn in Swapo’s side in the parliament.

Deputy leader of LPM, Henny Seibeb said that perhaps it is Shiimi that is the tribalist.

“[President Hage] Geingob campaigned on non-Oshiwambo president ticket when I was a Secretary at Swapo Politburo and there was an agenda item brought by Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana (former Swapo SG) to look into issues that Geingob was using ‘non-Oshiwambo’ ticket as a campaign issue. A team consisting of Marco Hausiku and Doreen Sioka were tasked to investigate and report back. Pohamba was president. Maybe they can assist,” he told Windhoek Observer.

Seibeb further stated, “Swapo is the biggest ethnic conglomeration in Namibia. It has always thrived on ethnic politics. Remember, tribes were convinced to join Swapo like Nama leaders, Damara raad, Herero chiefs council etc to present it as a united force in the country.”

He pointed to the fact that, currently Vice President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and much of the cabinet are of same tribe.

“Same with deputy ministers, ambassadors etc. Is he complaining?”

Meanwhile Affirmative Reposition (AR) leader Job Amupanda, whose organisation was recently registered as a political organisation by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, said “If he is really concerned with tribalism why is he not concerned about a national order that commemorates 800 people killed on 4 May and refuses to recognize close to 100,000 people exterminated in what is regarded as the first genocide of the 20th century?”

This comes after a recent appointment announcement by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia (CPBN), which is under Shiimi’s portfolio as Finance Minister, came under fire for having new recruits of mainly Oshiwambo speakers.

Shiimi did not respond to questions sent to him by the time of publication.