Rein in campaign foot soldiers

04 November 2019 | Columns

Supporters of independent candidate Panduleni Itula and President Hage Geingob had a field day over the weekend with what appears to be a mentally unstable man, known as Kahiri, whom they bullied into saying favourable stuff about their respective candidates. The principle of ethical humanism, which obviously is alien to our domestic politics, is premised around the belief that every person is worthy and should be treated with dignity. The man in question, unlike the majority of members of society, is already vulnerable because of his mental condition. And instead of getting help from those around him, he is being bullying into sloganeering for the expediency of those recording him. These acts are a soft form of oppression, which strips the victim of the little that is left of his dignity. Those who follow Namibian politics closely would be unsurprised by this behaviour. The very fabric of our body politic is infested with this conduct, which has taken on the guise of normality. The desperate hunger for political office has hit ridiculous heights, if people whose campaigns are supposedly anchored around helping people out of their trouble, are actually exploiting the vulnerability of the very people they ought to be protecting. If politicians are prepared to go this low, how can we trust them with public office, where they would be the sole custodians of our resources, and by extension, the commanders of our fate as a people?

We know it is desperate times. But it is morality instead of immorality that will win politicians the admirers they so desperately need on November 27.

We do not think either Geingob or Itula have commanded their foot soldiers to go and abuse Kahiri in the manner we saw over the weekend. It would be shocking if we are wrong in this regard. But if we have learned anything in the past couple of weeks, it is that foot soldiers are actually damaging the campaigns of their candidates rather than building them.

It is time they are called in to get new, morally upright marching orders.

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