A weight of expectation

23 November 2018 | Columns

At least three former liberation movements in southern Africa are preparing for general elections to be held next year. Mozambique has already indicated that it will hold presidential, legislative and provincial elections on 15 October 2019, while South Africa is likely to hold its elections during winter. Namibia, as customary, has preferred to hold elections towards the end of the year, and it will be no surprise if November emerges as the voting month. In the upcoming elections, the ANC of South Africa, Frelimo of Mozambique and Namibia’s Swapo remain favourites to continue as ruling parties in their respective countries. However, these revered liberation movements are facing increasing criticism and challenges over high levels of inequality, corruption and unemployment. Angola’s MPLA, Zanu-PF of Zimbabwe and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania also found themselves in the same situation. In Namibia, Swapo still commands huge support across the country and there is no glaring picture suggesting that its support is waning, compared to its sister parties in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Mozambique. The six former liberation movements have been accused by commentators of reproducing the past, instead of offering true alternatives to serious challenges facing their countries. This is more so, considering the growing number of young voters who do not remember the pain of colonialism and oppression. In addition, many voters also feel betrayed by their current leaders who are clearly failing to deliver social justice to tackle poverty and combat corruption, arguably one of the most serious cancers slowly eating the flesh of these former liberation movements. There is without doubt a massive weight of expectation for these political groupings to deliver on electoral promises, while reinventing themselves to be relevant in the eyes of the voters. A failure to do will mean decline and death.

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