Namibia: It's Getting Too Crowded in Politics - Nandi-Ndaitwah

Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah says she is concerned about "many Namibians suddenly entering politics", with many emerging as independent candidates.

She says the trend is causing instability in the country.

Nandi-Ndaitwah says Namibia is too small to have many political parties and independent candidates, and even bigger countries like America and China do not have as many parties.

She made these remarks during the party's regional election campaign launch at Okandjengedi, Oshakati, over the weekend.

"There are so many people in this country who are not comfortable with the progress made by Swapo and they are getting so confused. For the first time, why do we have so many people interested in Namibian politics? Are we saying that is democracy? That is not true. Look at America, it is the oldest democracy in the world, but they only have two political parties," she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said many political interests result in the destabilisation of African nations. She said opposition parties do not contribute to solutions to the country's socio-economic challenges.

"How many of them have managed to fix those problems? We have examples of parties like the Congress of Democrats [CoD] and the RDP [Rally for Democracy and Progress]. Have they fixed the problems?" she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah accused the CoD and RDP of creating more problems.

She urged Swapo members and supporters not to "destroy" the party.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the party was facing challenges and was surrounded by many enemies dressed in sheep's skin who do not want the party to "progress to greater heights".

She said last year an independent candidate who emerged saying he is a member of Swapo caused confusion. She compared the candidate to a hypocrite.

"When you decide to stand as an independent candidate, you cannot be a member of Swapo. That is hypocrisy. A hypocrite is worse than a witch [...] Is that democracy?" she asked.

She said Swapo's leaders want the party to be the only political party in the country to revive and develop the country without any political confusion.

"The Swapo party lions must roar and make sure we have won all the elections," she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said Namibians must work hard to show their "distractors" they should not provoke an "idling, poisonous snake".

"It will bite you once it strikes back," she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said the country should make sure it elects Swapo candidates and cooperate with them once they are in office.

CONSTITUTIONAL

Political commentater Fanuel Kaapama says freedom of association is clearly stated in the Namibian Constitution - hence interest in the country's politics or aspiring to be an independent candidate is endorsed.

Kaapama says comparing Namibia's political arena to that of global giants China and America is irrelevant.He says Namibians are maturing politically and are "sobering up" from the liberation euphoria.

The result thereof is the rise of many political parties and independent candidates, he says.

"Also, to run as an independent candidate is not so expensive, and the right of association is clearly stated in the Constitution. Some of these developments may sound like a threat, but they are not done in isolation. There are reasons why they are happening," he says.

Kaapama says Nandi-Ndaitwah is entitled to her own opinions as freedom of speech is also part of Namibia's Constitution.

The Landless People's Movement's Henny Seibeb yesterday said the comments made by Nandi-Ndaitwah show the fear Swapo has over emerging competition and the public's discontent with the ruling party.

He said people have come to realise the corruption, lack of service delivery, urban land crisis and high unemployment that the ruling party has failed to solve in the country over the years. He added that the ruling party has also swept corruption issues under the rug and benefitted off the country's natural resources, citing the Fishrot scandal.

Seibeb said the arrival of many political parties in the country will break the monopoly of Swapo.

"Those days of relying on Swapo are gone and people, especially the young, are reading and analysing what is out there," he said.

He added that the emergence of numerous political parties will also be good to have in the parliament to overule the views of Swapo, which holds the majority.

He further said it was wrong for Nandi-Ndaitwah to compare Namibia to China as that is not a democratic country but rather communist, while in the United States there are many independent candidates.

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