Namibia: Shaningwa Defends Geingob's Racial Comments

Namibian President Hage Geingob.

SWAPO secretary general Sophia Shaningwa says it was normal for party president Hage Geingob to call out a section of white Namibians who have allegedly mobilized themselves to oust the ruling from power.

Shaningwa in a statement issued on Monday said the outrage against Geingob's racial remarks regarding the alleged declaration of war by white Namibians was "a non-issue".

Geingob on Saturday said he had noted a trend in which white Namibians have been registering to vote "in big numbers" and that they were conspiring to vote for "anything else but Swapo".

Furthermore, he said this was a declaration of war against Swapo, despite the ruling party having made sure that they [white Namibians] enjoy peace, unity and comfort for "all this time".

Various opposition party leaders and non-governmental organizations condemned Geingob's remarks saying they were tantamount to hate speech and political intimidation.

The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) on Monday also cautioned Geingob not to base criticism of voters on race.

Shaningwa equated the outrage by concerned groups and opposition parties over Geingob's racial comments to an election ploy. She further accused the media and political analysts of trying to find fault in the president's remarks to influence public opinion "to dislodge the Swapo Party".

She also called out the media for not publishing incidences in which the ruling party has been labelled as an Owambo organization by its adversaries.

"For comrade Geingob, to express concern at an election campaign platform about a section of our white compatriots, who we have heard are registering to remove Swapo from power, does not amount to racial discrimination," she said.

She added that Geingob's comments about the "comfort" white Namibians were accorded by Swapo were made in the context of the biblical words of Luke 12:48 which says: "To whom much is given, much will be required".

"The same energy we are trying to waste on this non-issue is the same energy with which we should condemn inequality and all forms of injustice against the black majority caused by a century of colonial oppression and apartheid," she added.

Shaningwa further attacked opposition party leaders saying the ruling party cannot be lectured on reconciliation by parties such as PDM and the Republican Party that had allegedly "assisted with the oppression, injustice and denigration of black people in collusion with an illegal apartheid government," in the past.

"Therefore, comrade president Geingob condemned racial mobilization by a section of the white population against the Swapo Party, which is normal in the course of our message of unity and progress during an election campaign," she stated.

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