Namibia: Venaani Accuses Swapo of Lies, Deceit

e-Voting Machines used in Namibian elections.

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) presidential candidate McHenry Venaani on Saturday accused Swapo of lying about the missing electronic voting machines (EVMs), and deceiving Namibians about its support base during a rally at Swakopmund.

Last Thursday, justice minister Sacky Shanghala said the four EVMs which reportedly went missing while in the hands of the ruling Swapo Party got lost after they "fell from the trailer" in which they were being transported.

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) loaned the EVMs to Swapo in 2017 for the purpose of conducting the Swapo Party Elders' Council elections. The EVMs were never returned to the ECN.

"In the year of accountability, Swapo is lying again. It is getting boring. Now, they say the EVMs fell from a trailer. Who puts EVMs on a trailer? An EVM is not a goat!" Venaani told supporters.

He called the 'excuse' a lie, and said Swapo cannot be trusted.

"We know these machines can be hijacked and hacked, and now they put them on a trailer," he said, continuing with the premised suspicion that the EVMs were stolen.

"What thief has an interest in EVMs, but Swapo? Shame on you, ECN. Come out with the truth, or has Swapo paid you to manipulate (election) results?" Venaani dared.

"We cannot trust Swapo or the ECN. We do not believe you. Don't lie to us and treat us like children; go and lie to your own children."

He also accused Swapo of creating optical illusions when it comes to the number of people attending their rallies.

About two weeks ago, Swapo's secretary for information and publicity Hilma Nicanor instructed the NBC to rerun a clip the broadcaster covered at the party's rally which took place at Walvis Bay, "and use better footage".

She argued that the NBC footage of that rally only showed a small section of the crowd, which she said was not a true reflection of the event.

Venaani alleged Swapo's support base has shrunk, and now the party is desperate to give Namibians the impression that their rallies look full.

According to him, Swapo deliberately spends millions bussing supporters from all over the country to rallies to create an "optical effect" - a trick, he claimed, Swapo "copied from the old DTA".

"We rather make sure we come to people in every town, and make sure we listen to everyone. I will be a president for all Namibians - not just for certain groups. I will serve everyone to propel our country to be worthy of future generations," said Venaani.

Turning to the economy, Venaani says if he is elected to the country's highest political office, he would introduce a 1,5% tax break across the board, as per his party's manifesto.

"Taxing people less will allow them to spend more in the local economy. Currently, the tax regime is too high, and no economy can enjoy a rebound with such a high tax regime," he said.

The politician offered this practical solution in light of the recent challenge by political analysts to parties to not just promise the electorate heaven on earth, but to produce workable solutions.

He said, Namibia's biggest challenge is to restore investor confidence and rebuild the economy. Another workable solution would be the introduction of an "audit of ownership", Venaani stated.

"The government currently does not know what it owns, or how much it owns. This audit will help the government identify its assets, how to develop these, and what they still need," the PDM leader explained.

In this context, a proper audit of SOEs needs to be done that will allow the government to strengthen the successful enterprises, and either do away with those that are a liability, or hand them over to the private sector.

"Let the government govern the country, and let the private sector run the businesses and drive the economy," he urged.

Venaani said Namibia has enough resources, land and water to create employment through production, manufacturing and agriculture.

These would include raw materials in the form of copper leaving Namibia after value-addition before being resold back to the country as finished products, the over-supply of cement which could be used for cheaper housing through the production of precast products, and the development of desalination plants for the greening of the desert for agricutural purposes, he added. Besides these solutions for economic development, Venaani repeated his intention to ensure that all Namibians have access to toilets, land and houses.

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