'Sexist' Mbumba called out

11 June 2019 | Politics

Vice-president Nangolo Mbumba has been criticised for an alleged sexist remark made during a Swapo star rally at Ondangwa on Sunday.

Mbumba, who was the main speaker at the Swapo event, apparently referred to independent candidate Angelina Immanuel when he told the ruling party supporters: “Just because you are beautiful doesn't mean you can stand for election.”

Mbumba also told supporters not to vote for independent candidates whose grandmothers they don't know.

Political analyst Graham Hopwood said it seems Mbumba has a tendency of making “tone-deaf” comments, which don't resonate well with the broader electorate and even Swapo's core supporters.

“He was trying to be humorous but his (beautiful) comment just came across as patronising and unnecessary. I would think that he is too senior in the national and Swapo ranks to be called to order. Although these kinds of remarks are distasteful they don't necessarily affect voting intentions,” he said. Youth activist Job Amupanda said the remark by the former Swapo secretary-general was clearly aimed at Immanuel.

“In a country where women are objectified, resulting in gender-based violence, this is how your country's 78-year- old Vice-President Mbumba insults Angelina Immanuel. How can a vice-president of a country publicly and thirstily declare the beauty of a 27-year-old? What type of society do we live in, in which a 78-year-old man can salivate and focus on the beauty of a 27-year-old young enough to be his granddaughter? So sickening and disgusting. I am ashamed as a man,” said Amupanda.

The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) also believes the remark was both “sexist and inappropriate”.

“All political leaders should treat male and females with the same respect and not make comments that could indicate that sex or appearance would matter when candidates stand for office.

“The director of elections could address this issue at the meetings that all political parties ought to have during a campaign,” the LAC said.

Approached for comment, Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa bluntly said: “Get me out please.” Shaningwa added she could not comment, as she was not at the event in Ondangwa.

Immanuel and four others are contesting the Ondangwa Urban by-election, which takes place this coming Saturday. Swapo has fielded former Ondangwa mayor Leonard Negonga as its candidate, while the APP and PDM have chosen Asser Vincent and Johannes Martin, respectively, to contest. The CoD is fielding Mandume Andreas Tuhafeni.


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