The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: U.S Elections Jargon Explained

NAMIBIANS have been bombarded with an overload of Us elections news, many have become experts in that country's electoral jargon. Here's what most of it means, Namibian style:

Affidavit: If you hail from north of the big river and a headman needs you to vote for his party, you just complete a piece of paper saying that you've been living there for a while and should get a voters card. Ten minutes later and bob's your uncle.

Balance of power: Just imagine you, a 'struggle kid', Ngurare and comrade Job sitting on one end of a seesaw and Nujoma sitting on the other end. Who will be up in the air and holding on for their lives and who will sit flat on his sprawling bum, chuckling? Etse Utoni!

Battleground states: It's those regions where 'The Party' operatives can bliksem those hibernators who have been misled by colonialists if they visit, hold meetings or hoist their flags on The Party's trees.

Bicameral: Consisting of two (bi) legislative branches, like the Us Congress, which consists of the House of Representatives and the senate. in the Namibian case, the MPs of both National assembly and National Council take the Greek (camera) chamber literally as a place to sleep shamelessly and open mouthed.

Campaign: If you see swapo supporters push their famous party coloured Hilux bakkie down the street you know it's campaign time. it's the time when everyone is a political analyst and wants to pick a fight with you about your party and candidate. Just gooi your fist, mannetjie style, if they walk or drive past.

You might even score a free t-shirt. When the comrades or guys from those other parties confront you as to who you'll vote for, just shake your head and agree with everything they say. Hey, you might even score a t-shirt. Or maybe not. They mos sell their things.

Candidate: If it's local elections, the candidate is the guy who was selected by headquarters in Windhoek to represent the party in your constituency. He doesn't even have to stay in your constituency. as long as he was mos picked by the party. if it's presidential elections it usually is an old chap who's been in politics forever and really should be on a farm in retirement or some random toppie who you've never heard of before. Remember attie beukes?

Caucus: In Namibia we pronounce it as 'cork us'. it's when the main comrade speaks and all of you listen. The SADC Women's Parliamentary Caucus is a huge body that talks a lot.

Delegate: The chosen ones. The root of all evil. The reason people get excommunicated or serve divorce papers on their party. it's the reason youth groups lose their heads and nominate 'has-been' army pensioners at the expense of their members for congress. it's because there is a chance to be a delegate again that we hear of the feared third force. it's because of this bloody word that we talk about assassination conspiracy theory and increased security.

Delegates and how they are picked for congresses have made the Otjozondjupa Region the step child of The Party. That's what you get from cooking mos.

Nomination: We don't do nominations systematically and transparently like the americans do it. No, we shun nominations. Until the people request me to stand, unless of course, my name is Hage or Pendukeni. History has always been against those who actively sought nomination.

Suffrage: The right or privilege of voting could easily be Namibianised as the socio-economic state of the electorate. Just check the striking teachers' placards, "we are suffrage. We are tied! We want 40!"

Swing voters: Voters who do not have allegiance to a particular political party in the USA but in Namibia it's the guys who rock up at the voting station lekker getjwala.

Third party: Any political party other than the two major parties, the Democrats and Republicans, in the USA. in Namibia, you could claim third party insurance if you were in an accident until Jerry and MVA happened to us. Now we have just too many useless third, fourth and twelfth parties who can't even fill a Combi with their supporters. Hell, they don't even have a Combi to put their supporters in.

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