By The Peoples Editor (TPE)
There is a saying that goes “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
But to be fooled for the 30 years takes something special or blatant ignorance.
Now let me wake you up.
As I piece together this week’s peoples editorial, it echoes in my subconscious that Namibia is headed for to yet another presidential and National Assembly election in November.
If you go down memory lane, one realizes that our first election of this kind and magnitude was in 1989.
That is almost 30 years ago.
Since then, the country has witnessed six elections which resulted and in return, we got three heads of state, Founding President Sam Nujoma, President Hifikepunye Pohamba and incumbent, Hage Geingob.
That is now history.
It is an open secret that Swapo is the only ruling party Namibia has ever seen, and much of stay in power is to be attributed to the party reported heroics during the liberation struggle.
I say ‘reported heroics’, not mean that I undermine Swapo’s contribution during the liberation struggle, that is not the case.
However, judging by the Swapo of today, one cannot ignore but wonder if indeed those in the top echelons of the once liberation movement really fought to achieve the nation’s self-determination or simply to loot it and share its opulent resources among themselves and their cronies.
To add insult to injury, there is a disturbing trend that is deeply rooted in the minds of the majority of our electorate, it says: “I’m voting for Swapo because it liberated this country!”.
This trend is not unique to Namibia, as in most part of the Southern Africa, voters feel inclined to vote liberation movements for their pre-independence credentials, whether or not they have performed is never considered.
Name your Swapo in here in Namibia, the African National Congress in South Africa, Angola’s MPLA and FLERIMO of Mozambique to list but a few examples that an average voter will vote for without hesitation.
It is even worse in some cases, where, spiritual supporters of these political parties abstain from voting to vent their frustration or lack of trust in a liberation movement for having failed them.
A classic example is the just-ended by-election in Ondangwa, which saw 16 000 voters registered while only 3 792 pitched up on election day.
Although the turnout is disappointing, Swapo’s candidate Leonard Negonga narrowly beat independent candidate Angelina Immanuel with 1 926 votes to her 1 402 votes.
During their respective campaigns, Immanuel could be seen at open markets in the Northern Town, articulating to her supporters what she would do if elected into power.
The same however, cannot be said about Negonga, whose work was done on his behalf for most of the part.
With State machinery at its disposable, Swapo bussed political heavyweights such as premier Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, her deputy Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and vice president Nangolo Mbumba to campaign for Negonga who was virtually an absent figure during the campaign.
To discredit Immanuel, Mbumba went as low as questioning why Namibian should vote for if the “don’t even know her grandmother” and accused her of thinking she should ascend to a political office just because of her “beauty”.
For Swapo, the campaign was never about the plights and disservice that residents of Ondangwa are confronted with but about discrediting Immanuel.
Just this week, Swapo Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa was on the lose once again, this time threatening party members who exercised their democratic right by taking the party to court over the outcome of the 2017 elective congress.
One of her arguments is that the money it is spending on the legal tussle could be better used elsewhere, such as helping Namibians who have been hard-hit by the devastating drought situation.
So far, the party has spent around N$8 million in legal fees, Shaningwa claimed.
What Shaningwa is perhaps forgetting to say is that under her watch the ruling party is constructing a new building for N$730 million at time when the economy is on its knees, unemployment levels are sky-high while poverty can literally be seen with a naked eye.
If Swapo was so generous and caring, why then did it in not put the construction of a building and redirect its resources to pertinent needs of society?
Now that thing is into perspective, allow me to speak to the electorate and there comes a time when even an abused spouse has to say enough is enough.
The message is clear: Wake up and smell the coffee, the country is burning.
The November elections presents an opportunity to let your voices be heard.
Most importantly, it is an opportunity to rise above partisan politics. We are at the crossroads now and it is time to put Namibia first.
Therefore, the onus is on you to not to not vote for the person per se, but for who will advance the interests of the country best.
Being the people’s editor, I am not going to tell you what political formation or which presidential candidate to vote for.
Instead, I am going to submit to you that, while in the voting booth think of two things: Let us not vote a political party because of its history or an individual on the basis of their ethnicity. Think about the present, don’t be stuck in the past, as it is what is happening now that matters most.
Let’s rise above pettiness and meet these politicians at the ballot.
To conclude, the sooner we start voting for issues, the sooner we start holding our leaders accountable for the decisions they are taking, the sooner we do that, Namibia will be a much better place.
Lastly, it would be pointless to write a text this long without appealing to all Namibians aged 18 and older to go and register with the Electoral Commission of Namibia to be able to participate in this democratic exercise that come once every five years.