New Era (Windhoek)

Namibia: Bread and Butter Issues Top Ekandjo's Priorities

Swapo Party vice-presidential candidate, Jerry Ekandjo, on Saturday said if elected to the position and subsequently as Namibia's president, he would address issues of unemployment and poverty, especially among the youth and rural women.

"Most people in rural areas, the majority of whom are women and youth, live in poverty. Central in the development programme will be job creation through industrial development and opportunities for small businesses," Ekandjo told a star rally held in Windhoek.

The star rally was organised by the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) in the Khomas Region. Ekandjo, who for the first time made public his plans for Namibia if elected as Swapo Party VP, said that he is not propagating "Ekandjonomics", but would perform his duties in line with the Swapo Party's political programme and election manifesto.

Ekandjo said he would also address the issue of land, especially in urban areas, and equal distribution of wealth to previously disadvantaged Namibians.

"If elected, I will ensure, together with the entire leadership of the Swapo Party leadership, that a fair distribution of resources is realised in our life time," he said.

Ekandjo said a fair distribution of resources would be ensured by placing an emphasis on social groups such as women and the youth countrywide in granting fishing quotas, mineral licences and concessions.

The Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development Minister said that under his governance, interest groups such as traditional institutions and faith-based organisations would have a stake in building Namibia.

Ekandjo has a plan not only for rural communities, but for the urban poor as well. He promised the upgrading and development of informal settlements.

He added that orphans and vulnerable children, peasants and the workers, as well as senior citizens and veterans of the liberation struggle, would enjoy his full support in ensuring that their social needs are addressed. He said education would continue to be the top priority and receive the biggest chunk of the national budget.

SPYL Secretary Elijah Ngurare, who nominated Ekandjo for the VP position at the Swapo Party Central Committee meeting a month ago, also attended the rally. He said that both SPYL candidates, including Foreign Affairs Minister Utoni Nujoma vying for the position of Secretary General and the Minister of Education Dr Abraham Iyambo who is vying for the position of Deputy Secretary General, received overwhelming support from members of the Central Committee when they were nominated.

Ngurare said people call Ekandjo poor, but Namibia does not need a rich leader either. "He is common man, he is a common person who personifies the majority poor who are unemployed," Ngurare rallied behind Ekandjo. "We want humility, we want simplicity. We want someone who cannot be intimidated," stressed Ngurare.

Henock ya Kasita, who is also a member of the Swapo Party Central Committee, was also there to support Ekandjo and said he agreed with Ngurare that Ekandjo is accessible and also loves the Swapo Party. Ya Kasita said if one loves the Swapo Party, then that is the leader that Namibia wants.

"Vote for Jerry for economic liberation and economic power in the country," he said. The star rally was graced by some of Namibia's finest artists, including the Ndilimani Cultural Troupe, Tequilla, Makoya and D-Naff.

D-Naff did not even waste time to profess his love for Ekandjo. "I love Jerry Ekandjo. Looking at my future and of my children, I love someone who doesn't take nonsense," D-Naff said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Utoni Nujoma pitched up at the last minute, coming from a Central Committee meeting to canvass for votes for Ekandjo and himself.

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