Swapo campaigns thinon bread and butter issues

Tujoromajo Kasuto

Analysts are concerned that the Swapo Party candidates’ campaign statements lack focus on bread and butter issues and the frustrations of the Namibian people.

Political Analyst, Ndumba Kamwanyah said the top candidates need to prioritise public anger, whether real or perceived, particularly perceptions about corruption that the public has over the party.

‘’There is a perception out that Swapo is offering the same old people. We haven’t seen or maybe they need to come up with the more viable motos and agenda. But none of them have shown that they have something new for Namibia and the Party as they are focusing on the same old politics,’’ said Kamwanyah.

He said the major problem for the party is a dire need to present and reinvent itself as its old politics is not working which he attributes is why the party suffered in the last elections including their presidential candidate.Kamwanyah said the party needs to align themselves with current frustrations, especially those vying for VP who will be the candidate for national presidency.

‘’They need to align themselves with current frustrations in terms of socio economic situation in the country, furthermore in terms of the younger people. This alignment means responding to the challenges and issues that directly affects them,’’ he noted.

They need to come up with tangible solutions as voters no longer believe in the Swapo brand, they need to demonstrate and show their capabilities.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende on the other hand said the ‘’anti-democratic and draconian election’’ campaign guidelines prevent the candidates from articulating their ideas on how they intend to transform society for the better.

‘’Even contenders for the Miss Namibia contest articulate a position of what they would do for society, why not for a candidate of a political party that has ambitions to run the affairs of the State and preside over the lives of 2.6 million people?’’ he quizzed.

He added that Namibia is currently engulfed in a plethora of social and economic crises and there appears to be no direction and plan to escape from this malaise.

‘’Youth unemployment is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as it can cause massive unrest and instability. The country needs to pursue an aggressive approach or strategy towards food security, and not just rhetoric of a “shared prosperity” and “promoting food security,’’ he said.

The analyst further narrated that clear plans with clear timelines and effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms need to be put in place.

He says this should be coupled with deliberate structure in terms of holding those accountable slack in their duties and It cannot be business as usual.

On the same note, historian Henning Melber says that there are numerous pressing issues which require urgent attention and policy, as he believes that none of the candidates vying for the top positions have a strong campaign motto that resonates with their track record.

‘’All of the candidates are either silent or make vague general statements, which do not translate into any concrete policy plans. If you go through the party’s 2020-2025 manifesto, none of the candidates offer any ideas on how to deal with the matters outlined,’’ he said.

He attributes this to the fact that most of them are hiding behind the party programme, thus he questions ‘’who drafts the programme and how it is brought about if not by individual proposals to be further discussed?’’

He listed in no special order some of the issues that could be addressed such as land reform and restitution, informal settlements and housing policy, urban and communal land, poverty alleviation, including the question of a basic income grant, gender based violence and reproductive rights including abortion, LGBTQI+ rights.

Further added that resource management particularly fisheries and mining, fiscal policy, environmental policy highlighting nature conservation and international policy aspects such war in Ukraine are issues that must feature in their campaign.

Additionally, he noted that the German-Namibian Joint Declaration, climate change adaptation strategies, tax policy, employment creation, health and education policy and anti-corruption policy and many more should be taken into cognizance by the candidates.

Melber stated that the delegates to the congress will not be able to vote based on issue clarity and elections will be decided on other reasons.

Another analyst and academic, Fannuel Kaapama, said it should not be the political analyst but the candidates that should be telling the nation about the party elections manifesto and policies, as well as their respective roles and contributions towards their realisation.

‘’I find the campaign thus far to be thin on issues that ordinary citizens are scrambling with in their daily lives, e.g. unemployment, hunger, homelessness, landlessness, indebtedness to banks etc. What answers do the candidates have to these social distresses?’’ he quizzed. This comes as candidates gunning for the Swapo Party’s Vice President, Secretary General and the Deputy SG position have gone into overdrive with their campaigns using every conceivable opportunity for a public relations exercise.

They use government platforms and all manner of sorts to be present at as many occasions be they Swapo or events related to their portfolios – at least those with government portfolios.

At times they even hijack responsibilities from line ministers, such as that of Urban and Rural

Development to officiate and according to observers, using them as network opportunities.

Their campaigns are supposed to be coordinated by the office of the Swapo Party Executive

Director, Austin Samupwa, but this in some cases is ignored, Windhoek Observer learnt reliably.

The internally controlled campaigns were in Erongo Region last Saturday, where the candidates were introduced to congress delegates in the region and also make presentations about why they should be voted for.

Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila had addressed the Association of Regional Councils, a platform that would have been more appropriate for the Minister of Urban and Rural Development.

The meeting attended by regional councillors was strategic for her campaign support and she also informed the association that the bill on the long awaited Constituency Fund is now ready to be tabled in the National Assembly after having been approved by the Cabinet. Meanwhile, Friday Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah had two engagements in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

Her first meeting was with the Swapo Elders Council in Swakopmund from where she proceeded to Walvis Bay for a meeting with the chief of the Topnaar community.

She also visited the family house of the late Nathaniel Maxuilili after which she laid a wreath at the Swapo veteran’s grave.

The other Vice President candidate, Pohamba Shifeta was in Uis area on Friday where he handed over horticulture project equipment, a day before the Saturday closed-door campaign event.

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