The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Swapo Must Broaden Its Own Democracy

THE Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) has called on the newly elected Swapo leadership to broaden its intra-party democracy to strengthen democratic institutions in the country.

The RDP's secretary for party organisation and political mobilisation, Libolly Haufiku, referred to the foundation laid by President Hifikepunye Pohamba of open campaigning of candidates for positions in the party structure prior to Swapo's congress.

He said opposition parties should not be seen as enemies by the ruling party since they also have the interest of the country at heart.

"The new leadership should close that chapter of victimising non-Swapo supporters as this is not in the interest of building a multi-party system in Namibia. You should stop with the name-calling in Namibia. Swapo should use that same inner-party democracy and extend it to institutions such as the NBC to convert it into a real public broadcaster so that all political parties receive equal treatment, which is not the case at this stage," Haufiku said.

He said it was important to level the playing field for all parties and that public debate on issues is covered by the NBC. "We should be allowed to openly debate issues on radio and television as this can only strengthen democracy in Namibia."

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba said Haufiku is entitled to his opinion, adding that the people cannot be forced to join other parties.

"Swapo remains the ruling party and will not interfere with the activities of other parties. Nobody is calling Haufiku an enemy. What is he talking about?" said Mbumba.

He said Swapo was setting the example of intra-party democracy and opposition parties should do the same.

The RDP held its policy workshop at the end of November and according to Haufiku the policies will be endorsed at the party's national executive committee early next month.

"At this meeting a date for the central committee will also be set when the party will decide when its convention will be held later this year. In the meantime we will make our policies public so that Namibians can see that we are not only criticising, but are also coming up with alternative policies how to run the country," Haufiku said.

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