LPM bashes town hall meetings

The LPM has accused President Hage Geingob of using town hall meetings as a Swapo election campaign cover-up.

05 July 2019 | Politics

The Landless People's Movement (LPM) has accused President Hage Geingob of using town hall meetings and regional missions as a guise to promote Swapo with government machinery.

LPM deputy leader and chief strategist Henny Seibeb yesterday said there are plenty of platforms the president can use to give feedback to the people. “These are none other than Swapo campaign meetings. There is too much fighting in Swapo and no trust, so now therefore it is better to use state machinery to garner influence. At all their public gatherings, the attendance of people declined, which shows that people are dissatisfied with the ruling government,” he said.

Geingob held town hall meetings in 2015 shortly after his election as president.

“What is he going to tell them this time around? Unemployment is higher than it was before. The land question was critical at the town hall meetings. Can he tell us confidently that it has been addressed? Announcing that he has appointed a commission on ancestral land is not an achievement,” said Seibeb. “Will he tell the people that the student unemployment rate is so bad that 60 000 Namibian graduates cannot find jobs? Is he going to tell people that fishing factories are closing down and people are losing their jobs every day? Or is he going to tell them that he is going to open new factories to create employment?”The LPM also asked why the president cannot make use of his direct representatives - the regional governors - and appointed regional staff to convey his message to the people. “This is typical African politics, where you do state business in the day and promote the party at night, all on the state budget,” he said. Meanwhile, presidential press secretary Alfredo Hengari this week insisted that the president's meetings and missions to regions have no political manoeuvre. According to Hengari, the president has a two sets of duties, one as head of state and another as Swapo president, and critics must differentiate amongst the two.

“Right now, it's the time for the president to go back to the regions, as he usually does, and speak to Namibians and hear what has been done so far, what has been implemented in terms of drought relief and hear from them first-hand, instead of just relying on reports coming from offices,” said Hengari. According to the presidency, Geingob is going to tour the regions in order to identify bottlenecks, and if there are any, provide direct solutions.







JEMIMA BEUKES

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