I want to speak out more: Mandela's last words
14 December 2020 | Politics
Late Swapo member of parliament Mandela Kapere had told Namibian Sun, exactly seven days before his passing, that he wished to speak out more about the state of the ruling party but feared his comrades would not take it kindly.
“I owe you an explanation and it's a bit tough to explain,” he said on Monday, 30 November via a WhatsApp message in reaction to an invitation to 'The Evening Review', Namibian Sun's flagship online TV show.
On Monday, 7 December 2020, news broke in the morning that Kapere had died of Covid-19-related complications.
“I really want to speak out much more about what [is] going on and what needs to happen but I am treading a careful line between pushing uncomfortable debate on internal reforms and speaking my mind,” he said.
Later that day, Namibian Sun learned that Kapere had resigned as chairperson of the Swapo leaders assigned to the Hardap Region.
“Eish, I was hoping to keep it between the SG's office and me. How did you get wind of this? I wrote an offer of resignation on Saturday,” he said when approached for comment, adding: “I wasn't asked or advised, I did it out of my own.”
Swapo lost all official results announced in the Hardap Region, following the regional and local authority elections held on 25 November. The electoral court on Friday ordered a rerun of elections in Aroab, Stampriet and Mariental Rural after a mix-up of procedures by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).
Weeks before and after the elections, Kapere was one of the few brave voices to publicly critique the party, including asking retired General Martin Shalli to retract his controversial comments that those abandoning Swapo to join other parties must be killed.
“Cde Shalli is expected to be the first amongst us to defend the civil liberties of Namibians without resorting to such polemical language. We are in an election cycle and we all have and do use colourful language on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, General Shalli's remarks overshoot the mark of what constitutes colourful political rhetoric,” he stated on Facebook on 8 November, weeks before the elections.
It was on the basis of his public views that Kapere was invited to 'The Evening Review'.
Namibian Sun understands that many Swapo loyalists did not take kindly to Kapere's sharp views and some had called for him to be called to order.
“I spoke to Mandela a few days before his passing and he sounded like a man under a lot of pressure. He was too young to absorb that kind of pressure,” a party technocrat said over the weekend. While politely turning down the invitation to 'The Evening Review' on 30 November, Kapere said: “I am being careful in order not to alienate the few that support the reforms I am advocating, for I feel being too prominent in the media will not be helpful right now.”