Namibia: Kaaronda Silent On Presidential Ambitions

Unionist Evilastus Kaaronda yesterday refused to confirm or deny speculation that he will be running for president as an independent candidate in this year's elections.

Kaaronda's invitation to the media to attend a briefing on 16 June, where he would make a "special statement", triggered rumours that he will be announcing his intention to contest as an independent candidate.

News has also been rife in political circles that the unionist has ambitions of becoming the country's next president.

"I can never confirm or deny, but all I can say is it [the briefing] is about leadership. What the current leadership has done and where they failed, as well as what the possible solutions are in terms of reconstructing the economy," Kaaronda told The Namibian yesterday.

According to the unionist, the current regime has failed to bring about change, and he urged them to retire.

"Enough is enough. Our ruling elders must retire and focus on being grandfathers," he stressed.

Kaaronda said the government cannot be expected to deliver or fix what it has destroyed.

The unionist said he sees the need to "stand up and be the change that he would like to see in the world".

"I want to add to the democratic space. Swapo and I have shared a good political history. My issue now is to put Namibia first. I want to be looked at as someone putting Namibia first, and not in the lenses of my political past. It is immaterial," he said.

Kaaronda served as National Union of Namibian Workers' (NUNW) secretary general until 2012 when he was fired from the organisation. He was accused of making unauthorised public statements which discredited NUNW-affiliated unions.

In 2014, he formed his own union, the Namibia National Labour Organisation (Nanlo).

Should Kaaronda decide to run for the presidency as an independent, he would be joining another aspirant, Dr Panduleni Itula, a Swapo member, who decided to challenge president Hage Geingob as an independent at the national elections in November.

Itula is a dentist by profession.

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