‘No need’ for Geingob to apologise

Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor says it is a fact there is a section of white Namibians seeking to unseat her party from power.

20 October 2020 | Government

JEMIMA BEUKES







WINDHOEK

Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor has leapt to the defence of President Hage Geingob, who is coming under increasing pressure to backtrack from controversial remarks he made about white people over the weekend.

Nicanor said yesterday that the president’s comments had been blown out of context.

She, however, emphasised that some white Namibians have been against Swapo even before independence, despite the party bringing independence to Namibia – which all Namibians now enjoy.

“White people must be reminded that when Namibia got independence, some of them, because of their propaganda, left this country,” Nicanor said, adding that they made a U-turn when they realised that Swapo was not bringing in a dictatorship.

“To date, they have lived in that comfort and they must be reminded of this.”

‘Not all white people’

According to Nicanor, the president’s statement was justified and was not targeted at all the white people in Namibia, and as such, it would be unfair to expect him to apologise.

She added it is a fact that some Namibians are teaming up with opposition parties in order to unseat Swapo.

“The president is very much aware of many white fellow Namibian compatriots who have been and are part of the ruling party as well. There are those who voted for this party. Why should people not want to be told what they know they are doing in this country? The fact of the matter is that there are those who don’t want Swapo to continue to be the ruling party of this country. It is a fact. And hence there are those who are teaming up with others in an effort to see that Swapo is unseated. This is what we are saying,” Nicanor stressed.

Hate speech?

The official opposition, Popular Democratic Movement, yesterday made good on its promise to lay a complaint against the president with the ombudsman, Advocate John Walters.

Walters confirmed that a verbal complaint has been laid with his office, which will be followed up with a written statement.

“I want to sleep over this one. I have to determine whether I have jurisdiction over this matter. And then I have to define what is hate speech. There is no judgment yet on hate speech in these courts,” he said.

Unacceptable

Meanwhile, the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) demanded that Geingob retract his statement and has rejected what it calls the characterisation of Namibian voters by race or ethnicity.

In a statement, LAC director Toni Hancox said not all white voters have the same opinions, just like black voters or voters from any particular ethnic group.

She added that given Namibia’s painful past, every person in the country has the right to be viewed as an individual rather than being judged on the basis of race.

“Thirty years after independence, in a nation which has managed to hold a series of peaceful elections from independence up to now, it is profoundly disturbing to hear such race-based incitement from the president. We call upon him to retract his statement in order to set an example to all Namibians that all persons are equal before the law and that no persons may be discriminated against on the grounds of race,” Hancox said.

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