Itula blasted as 'arrogant'

Panduleni Itula's call on other presidential candidates to withdraw from the race comes as allegations grow that the dentist is being used to resurrect Team Swapo.

08 November 2019 | Politics

Independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula's call on other opposition candidates to “pull out” to turn the election into a two-horse race has raised the ire of the other candidates, who have accused him of “arrogance” and “ignorance”.

Itula last week said in an interview that the other presidential candidates should “pull out and leave the battle” between him and incumbent President Hage Geingob.

“[Pull out] because I am fighting injustice in Swapo and I am fighting injustice in Namibia and the perpetrator of injustice is the head of state,” Itula said.

Itula added: “Please pull out and I can tell you that the Namibian people will even give you a vote of sympathy.”

Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) presidential candidate Mike Kavekotora says the fact that Itula has made such a call casts doubt on how genuine his purported fight against injustice is.

“If he is saying Swapo is not in favour of the country, why has he [Itula] remained in Swapo all these years? Most liberation movements, when their popularity wanes, come up with strategies like these, like it happened in Zimbabwe, which was not in the interest of Zimbabweans but of Zanu-PF. Itula's candidacy is not for the country but to rescue Team Swapo within Swapo,” Kavekotora said.

Kavekotora said he and other opposition candidates are politically mature enough to fight their own battles and to “see through Swapo's strategy”.

McHenry Venaani, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) presidential candidate, said Itula's argument was “shallow” and “poor”.

“What he [Itula] is saying is that he cannot pull the masses. It tells a story that he is picking up frustrated Swapo votes.”

Venaani said the country's socio-economic woes cannot be blamed on Geingob, but instead on systemic corruption within Swapo.

“We will not entrench a regime that wants to run the cabinet of Geingob,” Venaani said.

Landless People's Movement (LPM) presidential candidate Bernadus Swartbooi responded by saying: “How can he say he fights injustice if he is not even criticising Swapo? Geingob is not the only corrupt one in Swapo; there is systemic corruption in Swapo.”

Swartbooi added: “Itula shows ultra-arrogance and displays massive ignorance. A vote for him would be to continue 30 years for the looting machine.”

Swartbooi said the LPM was doing a “far greater outreach and has strong appeal” among voters, adding: “Why should we stand down and give our votes to Itula?”



'No force behind me'

A political pundit preferring anonymity said Itula's candidacy was a “project designed to humiliate” Geingob to avenge those kicked out of ministerial positions by reducing the votes cast for the incumbent.

“That is a complete insult to my intelligence,” Itula countered in indignation. “Am I such a puppet to be just pulled by strings, a marionette to be told what to do? I think a lot of the public in this country have realised that I have got originality of thought and I have got an understanding of our rules and constitution. No one should entertain the suggestion that I am cannon fodder for some sort of force behind me.”

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