EDITORIAL: Intricacies of political coalitions

24 November 2021 | Opinion

Yesterday, Job Amupanda said he is back from the holiday, referring to his stint as mayor of Windhoek for the past 12 months. This was a damning admission that working through a coalition clipped his wings and that much has gone unachieved – especially when juxtaposed against the manifesto of his Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement.

Amupanda also admitted, essentially, that the coalition meant working with people whose ideologies are a country mile from one’s own. But for political convenience, the parties tied an unholy knot. It was, one could argue, an art of dominance and survival.

Coalitions are bad. A myriad of them failed spectacularly around the world and Namibia – which is getting its first real taste of one – is starting to feel the pinch.

In neighbouring South Africa, the radical Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has become bedfellows with the lilywhite and neo-liberal Democratic Alliance (DA) in some local authorities such as Johannesburg, again purely for dominance and survival. It’s like mixing oil with water – they won’t gel.

Namibians need to be decisive in subsequent elections. The dangers of one-party dominance of a local authority has bred corruption and abuse in the past, but coalition politics have also birthed egos, intra-alliance rivalry and childish bickering. As a result, Windhoek has been stuck in first gear all year, because everyone wants to shine in their individuality, a non-starter attitude in any alliance.

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