Opposition shuns Swapo in coalitions

• Ruling party on losing side in key urban areas

30 November 2020 | Politics

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



Opposition parties are deliberately avoiding coalitions with Swapo at local authorities where the ruling party did not win the majority of seats in last week's local authority election.

The ruling party's Politburo is meeting today in Windhoek to decide how to navigate this new, rocky terrain. The party has also warned its regional leaders not to form any coalitions without the blessings of its top leadership.

Coalitions are also expected to generate fights among opposition parties, especially when it comes to filling key positions such as that of mayor, deputy mayor and chairpersons of management committees.

The official opposition Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) has already sent out an official memo to its regional coordinators, warning them not to form any alliances with Swapo.

The ruling party failed to regain majority seats on key local authorities, including the capital Windhoek.

The party lost the industrial hub of Walvis Bay to Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) and it has also failed to win the majority seats at neighbouring Swakopmund, where the opposition, as a collective, holds more seats.

The ruling party also failed to win a clear majority at Okahandja, Lüderitz, Henties Bay and all the local authorities in the Hardap Region.

Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor yesterday said the party would not look at opposition parties to strengthen its position in local authorities, but would instead use the party strategies to deliver what it has promised the electorate.



LPM captures south

The governing party has emerged from last week's regional and local authority elections bruised and with a bloodied nose.

It has not won a single constituency in Hardap and won two in

//Karas by the skin of its teeth, with the Landless People's Movement (LPM) winning every constituency in the south, except Oranjemund and !Nami‡Nûs.

LPM has won 11 constituencies altogether, the largest by any political party, including Windhoek Rural in the Khomas Region.

PDM secretary-general Manuel Ngaringombe, in a letter to party functionaries in the regions, said: “You are urged not to go into any coalition agreement with Swapo as we now have a golden opportunity to unite as the opposition front in Namibia to save our regional and local authorities from maladministration by Swapo in the last 30 years.”



The Windhoek conundrum

With Swapo having failed to get majority seats on the Windhoek municipal council – the party got five out of 10 available - it seems the position of mayor and chairperson of management committee will be opposition members.

IPC has four seats, while LPM and the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement have two seats each.

With AR chief Job Amupanda having already declared his ambitions to become mayor, it remains to be seen if his plans would enjoy the backing of fellow opposition formations this week.

The City of Windhoek is scheduled to swear in the new councillors on Wednesday.

The PDM's leader McHenry Venaani, when asked whether they would support Amupanda's bid for mayor, said: “We will do anything to give the coalition the best of hope to survive and serve the people. So, a culture of give and take is key. We are open to support him and others as times goes.”

Amupanda also confirmed on social media that AR has made official contact with opposition parties and indicated their willingness and commitment to work with them at the City of Windhoek.

“Those who think we won't work together are highly mistaken,” he said.



'We are the ruling party'

Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor yesterday said the party would map out the way forward.

“We are a ruling party, we would have to design ways and means to make sure our plans and programmes for development are executed accordingly. The party will have to find its own strategies,” she said.

“It is too premature to comment,” she said about the //Karas Region, where the party has performed dismally and scored an average of two seats in local authorities where it previously dominated.

According to Nicanor, the party leadership will have to discuss the way forward and how to deal with these losses.

When asked whether the party would embark on another introspection meeting to interrogate its performance last week, Nicanor said it would not be necessary.

“Participation was catering for leadership at all levels so it is just a matter of execution and implementation of those recommendations and proposals that came out from there,” she said.

Swapo dominated the Keetmanshoop town council in the last election but is now reduced to two seats out of seven while LPM won five seats on that council.

At Karasburg, Swapo scored two out of seven seats, while the LPM won four and the IPC one seat.

At Oranjemund, a former Swapo stronghold, the party managed only three out of seven seats, with the IPC winning three seats and the LPM one seat.

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