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Thursday 24 January 2019
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Politics that demands Ethics

Allow me to continue with the concluding remarks of the article I started of with in last week’s publication. As if the political sphere isn’t sufficiently hyped up, last week’s social media demonstrated one of our major societal problems – the tolerance of derogative terms. This time the subject of discussion came from a Facebook post by a local musician Ruusa Ndapewa Munalye a.k.a. Blossom.
However, Blossom is but a spec in the larger scheme of things, easy to take and blow away with sanctions, while our politicians use similar or even worse derogatory terms with impunity and without consequences. This is because our politicians have created a mentality of royalty – expressed in their campaigns and governance.
With self-created statuses of royalty the individuals become the reference point of the law, they are the constitutional framework. With such self-reference comes a great deal of sanctioned dishonesty, manipulation of the masses, incoherency in critique, and self-contradiction, which the general public often just ignores. Who should be the guardians of our democracies, if we as the public don’t hold our political candidates to high ethical standards? Aren’t we supposed to demand what it really means to be governed under a democracy within a republic?

 
There are serious ethical accusations being launched against each other by the two campaigning teams within the SWAPO party; but who is paying attention to these, when everyone seems set to follow a clique of favourite individuals? The public that ought to hold political candidates to high moral standards is itself subject to blind loyalism and not paying attention to the things that really matter. Both teams have violated the ethical code of conduct of the SWAPO party repeatedly, in order to advance not the preservation of the party but the empowerment of individuals, cliques and factions.
The reason political parties have codes of conduct in place is to prevent a chaotic state of nature. However, it is one thing to have the written code and another to enforce it. While the former is clearly intact, the latter element is lacking. The outcome of such inconsistency can be seen in the promotion of the kind of politics we have witnessed in recent weeks leading to the elections, next week. If violating certain codes of conduct has no consequences, why should any running candidate be ethical in their campaigning?
However, there are two questions we have to ask ourselves today, and every SWAPO member especially those of the Central Committee should ask this before voting. Who of these candidates has demonstrated the interest of the party and the nation rather than individual or personal interest? Are we willing to be governed by candidates who are unethical, divisive, and inconsiderate and without a clear blueprint to take the party and the nation forward? Perhaps for the first time in the history of SWAPO, the voters should appeal to their consciences and not loyalty and faction in deciding their votes.

 
When the voters are free to ask these questions and answer them to the best of their ability, then they can with clear consciences cast their votes. It’s not a question of perfect candidates but the capable and suitable. Instead of letting the two teams cast dispersion amongst party members and the nation at large, the voting committee members should be the ones upholding these conduct cards in front of the campaigning candidates to remind them of their duties. However, sadly, is that the voting members have been parading their preferred candidates openly, for many reasons but doubtfully for ethical ones.
Are we having a political crisis? I doubt it. However, recent weeks have indicated the lack of political vigilance, as we carelessly have allowed things that comprise our democracy to take the centre stage. We are the kind of democracy we are today by deliberate efforts but individuals who put their ego and personal interests ahead of those of the nation are undermining these veryefforts.

 
Finally, rather than an old politicized agenda, there is need to see a serious challenge set out, of how the ruling party seeks to rectify the current socio-economic crisis. The candidates should put personal issues aside and realise that there are real humans whose lives depend on the promises and decision that will follow their agendas. Moreover, as the public, we would like to see more human approaches to the politics, providing solutions rather than blame and problems. We expect to see politics beyond factionalism, tribalism, regionalism etc and begin to offer the Namibian child hope rather than despair. I wish the upcoming SWAPO elections great success but also that the current two teams will set an agenda for reconciliation and find better ways to resolve their differences.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are not representative of IUM’s, and are written in my personal capacity as a citizen and not as a politician.




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