Election 2014: Slim prospects for new faces

Next year Namibians will go to the polls again to elect the country’s president, as well as members of the upper house of our Parliament - the National Assembly (NA).

The ruling party, Swapo, will have a new face contesting the presidency, most likely Dr Hage Geingob. There will also apparently be a change of guard at the DTA of Namibia and probably United Democratic Front (UDF) this year. However, this remains to be seen.

We reported last year the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) is likely to re-elect Chief Kuaima Riruako in his presidential position unopposed at the party’s congress, slated for next month. There is also no indication there will be any change of guard at the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).

In fairness, the RDP only turned five in November 2012 and it would probably be unwise to ask Hidipo Hamutenya to step down as president already.

In fact, we are not asking anyone to step down. Politicians can remain at the helm of their parties as long as they like, as long as their stay there democratically.

Democracy in Namibian political parties - both in Swapo and the opposition - has many a time been stifled by worshippers. By this we are referring to the ‘yes’ men and women, who stand opposed to contests against the incumbent party leaders.

We witnessed this just recently at the Swapo congress, where President Hifikepunye Pohamba was re-elected into his position unopposed. This fearfulness to challenge ‘the powers that be’ in our political parties is prevalent everywhere. It is almost as if leaders are worshipped like gods.

The reason why many political parties here have dwindling support is because the electorate is, in truth, tired of the same faces and same ideas stretching over decades. Political leadership can and must evolve with the times.

Parties are stagnant because their fresh-idea machinery is dysfunctional. If, for argument’s sake, the DTA has a new presidential candidate in 2014, the prospect of increasing its presence in Parliament is realistic.

And this is not because Katuutire Kaura has necessarily been a bad DTA president. Human beings, by their very nature, get bored quickly. Instead of going to Swakopmund every December holiday, some may choose to go to less-fancied destinations - just for a change.

The same applies to politics. The human heart is filled with hope and anticipation. It always looks to a future filled with new things.

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