PDM slams LPM's 'blatant lie'

14 October 2019 | Politics

The secretary-general of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), Manuel Ngaringombe, has denied allegations that the party has struck a deal with Swapo to rig the results of next month's election.

Landless People's Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi had earlier claimed that PDM leader McHenry Venaani was handed five parliamentary seats by President Hage Geingob after the 2014 election.

Recently, LPM deputy leader Henny Seibeb claimed on social media that Swapo, PDM and some intelligence operatives had “secret” meetings to manipulate election results that would allot 11 seats to the PDM in the upcoming general election.

This, Seibeb said, was to give the impression that the PDM had gained traction during its last five years in parliament. Seibeb said information on the alleged secret meetings had been passed on by intelligence agents.

Ngaringombe this week vehemently denied these claims, saying that the PDM had “no relationship whatsoever with Swapo and will never have one”. He said the LPM's assertion was a “blatant lie and unfounded allegations”.

In an earlier press statement Ngaringombe claimed that “Swapo has a history of creating opposition movements to divert the people's attention from its failure”.

Ngaringombe explained it had become a trend for breakaway Swapo factions to form new political parties before every national election since 1998. He said these parties ended up drawing votes from other opposition parties but never from Swapo, while claiming that they would end Swapo rule. Ngaringombe said prominent members of the Congress of Democrats (CoD) and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) had since returned to Swapo, leaving those parties stagnant.

According to him the LPM will follow the same path, and it is a “clear distraction” to destabilise the opposition. Ngaringombe also alleged that Swapo was “running” the electoral process saying it is the Swapo government that appoints commissioners to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).

The PDM earlier this year objected in parliament against the appointment of Gerson Tjihenuna as ECN commissioner because he works in the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly.

“The ECN had a closed-door meeting a few months ago with the head of state, who is also the president of Swapo, and this is a clear sign that Swapo is in the same bed with the ECN. The only time as per the law that the head of state should be in contact with the ECN is during the announcement of the election day, and that meeting should be open to the media,” Ngaringombe said.

He said the opposition parties were lobbying for all political parties to be allowed access to the final results collation centre at the ECN head office, as provided for by the constitution.

CATHERINE SASMAN

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