Voters are tired of empty election promises

Martin Endjala and Ester Mbathera

A resident of Mix informal settlement outside of Windhoek on Saturday slapped a Swapo party branch coordinator out of frustration for a lack of service delivery.

The resident was attending a Swapo rally that was addressed by Member of Parliament, Tobie Aupindi.

“I lived in Mix for 24 years but after elections, you will bring us nothing. Lies, Lies,” said the resident before a fight broke out between him and branch coordinator, Bonifatius Munango.

At the rally, Aupindi told the residents that there would be development at Mix settlement.

“Surveying was done, the resident got erf numbers and roads are demarcated. I am told that another school is in the national program. There will also be traffic lights, I understand, including water and connection of electricity to the national grid,” he said.

Mix Informal Settlement came about in the 1980s when the plot owner, the late Heiner Mix, allowed some workers to settle on his property.

Former Keetmanshoop Rural Constituency Councillor, Gerrit Witbooi, has warned voters against empty promises made by political parties that will try to win their votes in the upcoming November 2024 elections.

Witbooi’s concerns stem from recent economic trends and leaders’ failures to meet the needs of communities, particularly in the southern region, where several village councils are dissatisfied with service delivery.

“As community members, we need to be vigilant and protect ourselves from politicians who come to our villages and make promises, only for us to find ourselves in the same situation next year. That’s why I want to caution our communities and all of Namibia not to fall into the trap of those who promise to do this or that. If they didn’t do it when they were just ordinary people, there’s no guarantee they will do it now. We need to wake up and be firm in what we want for our community, and not elect these so-called fly-by-night politicians,” argued Witbooi.

Witbooi stated that many parts of Namibia still lack adequate service delivery, emphasizing that for the past 34 years, people have been deceived by false promises despite being an independent nation.

From July 2024, many political parties are expected to intensify their campaigns across the country.

Witbooi advises voters to elect candidates with a proven track record of being community advocates, individuals who genuinely care about the public rather than their own ambitions.

Political Analyst Henning Melber stated that it is common in politics, not just in Namibia, for politicians to promise the electorate grand visions before elections. However, he added that seeing is believing, and often, the delivery falls short of expectations.

“Voters need to make realistic assessments regarding the credibility of candidates and parties before deciding whom to support. However, other factors often influence the decision-making process, such as regional and ethnic considerations, historical loyalties, and the ability to campaign effectively and reach out to voters. The latter also depends on finances and organizational capacity, including the number of active supporters willing to mobilize,” said Melber.

He warned that if candidates and parties consistently fail to deliver on their promises, their chances of being re-elected diminish as their credibility erodes.

Therefore, new parties and presidential candidates will need to gain the trust of voters to demonstrate their credibility.

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