Cutting the apron strings

02 July 2019 | Opinion

While some have been singing the praises of those who would stand as independent candidates against President Hage Geingob in the upcoming general election, there is also a need for some sober debate.

On the one hand, some argue, this will be good for democracy, as variety of choice is the spice of life, or so they say. On the other hand, there may be a more sinister motive lurking. Of course, we should be wary of the puppet strings being pulled in the background during this political experiment. If it is simply about embarrassing Geingob, and getting his support to fall below that of the party in the upcoming election, it doesn’t really help us as ordinary citizens of this beautiful country. If it is truly about establishing an alternative to the Swapo juggernaut, then this should be evidenced by the courage to cut the apron strings that hold an ‘independent’ candidate to the ruling party’s bosom. It has been a source of concern that those who have so far claimed they want to stand against Geingob for the country’s presidency still want to hang onto their Swapo membership cards. Critics can then immediately argue that this is all about throwing sand onto Geingob’s plate - so to speak. The courage to leave a ruling party and start a new formation has not been lacking in Namibia. However, many who have followed this route have felt the sting of isolation and the icy hands of political strangulation, so it is not surprising that there is a lack of courage in 2019. In the same breath, any political strategy that simply has at its heart being ‘anti’ something or someone inevitably does not enjoy longevity. The impunity and corruption associated with the arrogance of a large majority cannot be tackled by the rise of independent presidential candidates. If those who are pushing this strategy were eager to display the courage of their convictions, we would have seen the formation of a new political home for Swapo ‘dissidents’.

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