Namibia: Play the Ball, Not the Man - Geingob

e-Voting Machines used in Namibian elections.

SWAPO Party presidential candidate Hage Geingob has appealed to all political parties for a peaceful election, come 27 November.

"Let's play the political ball, and not the man... let it be a contestation and battlefield of ideas... ideology must win," said Geingob while addressing a huge crowd at the Swapo Party star rally held at the J Stephanus stadium at Keetmanshoop on Sunday.

The Swapo Party president challenged opposition parties contending for parliamentary seats, and their candidates vying for the country's Presidency, to talk about the issues and programmes they can offer if elected into power.

"Let's play the ball in this election, and not the person in Geingob," he reiterated.

Swapo is the only party that can guarantee Namibia continued and positive growth, peace, unity, and development, and fight corruption, gender-based violence (GBV) and serious crime, the president added.

"Don't shout about corruption; we have declared our assets," he remarked, adding that the Swapo-led government was tackling corruption in a methodical and systematic manner.

He also urged all Namibians to band together to address and fight gender-based violence head-on.

Geingob reminded the crowd that the Ovambo People's Organisation (OPO) had been transformed into the Swapo Party, and warned that those who were harbouring plans to revive OPO were wasting their time.

"I am hearing about OPO being revived," he stated.

In pointed reference to the independent presidential candidate, Panduleni Itula, Geingob said one cannot be a member of the Swapo Party and simultaneously be an independent candidate.

"Apparently, Swapo is led by a wrong person, thus must go home," he stated.

"Nobody has done [me] a favour (in electing me Swapo president as well as Namibia's president). This is my country and my party. You think you can come and kick me out...Who are you?" he remarked angrily.

Geingob challenged those who believe the Swapo Party has overstayed its welcome to vote it out of power.

"Come and vote us out...Why are you just lamenting it (the Swapo Party)?," he asked, adding that nowadays, there are peaceful means of challenging an incumbent government through the democratic process of elections, unlike in the past when governments had to be overthrown.

The Swapo presidential candidate said after the country's first election in 1990, the ruling party has taken over a "difficult country which was polarised along racial lines".

Because of this, and after being elected into power, the Swapo government had brought back on board those who had been left out during the colonial regime by giving them jobs in the public service, while maintaining alliances with the white compatriots.

"That's why the government's wage bill is too high today... We cannot afford the wage bill, but we need to do something about it," he admitted.

Geingob also took issue with the media, saying it has "a way to play down (attendance) numbers at the party's rallies".

He thus directed party members to flock to the stadium's pitch so that the media could have a true picture of the attendance at the party's rally.

He emphasised that the party has made progress against poverty in the country.

Geingob urged those who attended the rally to come out in big numbers, and vote for the Swapo Party and its presidential candidate during the upcoming national elections.

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa seized the opportunity to also introduce businesswoman and politician Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun.

"It is being rumoured that she sponsors the independent candidate's election campaign, but she is here today with us. I take my hat off for her," she said.

She then urged party members to remain focused to ensure that the party garners enough votes to remain in power after the upcoming elections.

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