At the end of the tunnel

15 October 2019 | Opinion

In his weekly election column published in Namibian Sun on Monday, Christie Keulder said although Namibians have grown in their support for the notion of multiparty democracy, they do not seem convinced that the current opposition offers much value.

Using Afrobarometer survey data, he illustrated that trust in opposition parties is on the low side, but not yet at dire levels. However, it declined significantly from 47% in 2014 to 34% in 2017. Now this immediately raises some critical questions as we move into another election amid the spectre of Swapo’s virtual one-party dominance being further cemented. What kind of opposition is required is one question, while the others would certainly be to send the current crop of opposition parties back to the drawing board for some real soul-searching. We obviously have liberation struggle legacy issues when it comes to the ruling party. Yet, one wonders if we simply looked at Namibia as an enterprise, would we really give the current ‘CEO’ and his ‘executives’ the green light for another five years? Voters are set to answer this question on 27 November. And what about the Venaanis, Swartboois and the like, who so desperately want to make inroads into the ruling party’s support base? We can safely discard Dr Panduleni Itula, who wants to wear a Swapo hat, and yet contest the presidential election against the incumbent, President Hage Geingob. Why, because Itula is a dyed-in-the-wool Swapo member who may differ from the current crop of leadership, but will have to - if by some miracle he wins - go back to Swapo MPs to form a government.

We face a sad state of affairs, because one-party rule inevitably leads to impunity. It is no different in Namibia, where proximity to factional power in the ruling party now makes you the flavour of the day when it comes to opportunities. The deeper question we must ask is: When will a truly mass-appealing opposition ever see the light of day?

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