Democratic regime change is permissible

20 October 2020 | Opinion

President Hage Geingob drew wrath in some quarters when he tore into white Namibians who, in his own words, are deserting Swapo and essentially plotting the ruling party’s downfall.

Essentially, Geingob is accusing the whites of working around the clock to effect regime change. Yet in the democratic sense, there is nothing untoward about regime change, unless it is brought about through means outside what is prescribed in law.

Namibia’s democratic revolution of 1989 was in itself an act of regime change – with Swapo as the sole beneficiary.

When did it become “war” (to borrow from Geingob’s rich vocabulary) when citizens carve out their own political path to capture state power in a democratic dispensation?

The very essence of holding elections periodically is to give citizens an opportunity to change regimes or retain them in power. There’s absolutely no other reason why elections are held.

Elections are a platform for political interest groups to compete with one another for political power, which would then arm them with political influence.

If such political power is misused or abused, citizens have a crack at another opportunity to outvote such abuse.

Geingob has every right, as head of one of the competing political interest groups, to defend his party against those wanting it out of power. In fact, it is obligatory that he defends his party against its enemies – real or perceived.

But as the father of his proverbial Namibian House, such defence must still subscribe to the principles of tolerance.

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