Swapo campaigns sail through GBV protests

12 October 2020 | Politics

TUYEIMO HAIDULA



OSHAKATI

Swapo’s national spokesperson Hilma Nicanor said the party had no choice but to drive through the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) protest in Windhoek’s Independence Avenue on Saturday.

In an interview with Namibian Sun, Nicanor said the party’s youth league had already organised the move as part of the party’s campaign for next month’s regional and local authority election, and thus could not be deferred.

Meanwhile, demonstrations have been taking place countrywide since last Thursday against rising SGBV cases in Namibia, with a petition containing 24 demands was handed over to government.

The ruling party received heavy criticism on social media on Saturday when protestors took to the streets again and Swapo supporters and sympathisers paraded through the city.

Twitter storm

One of the tweets read: “The audacity of Swapo passing by the protest hooting. The problem with Swapo is that they have no regard for the law. They arrest youth for protesting while they are campaigning in crowds. Similar to how they held a party when the pandemic was still at [its] peak. Their campaign video will be used as evidence in court”.

Nicanor said she does not think it is fair that Namibians are looking at it as though the party does not care about hooting at them.

“I would like to clear the minds of the nation. People should not think we do not care. We are building up to the elections like any other party and we have to campaign in order to garner votes,” she said.

“There is no truth in saying we do not care. We are not less touched by what is happening in the country,” she stressed.

‘Fighting from within’

Nicanor highlighted that the party has structures in place and has been fighting the scourge of SGBV from “within” its organisational structures.

She said Namibians should understand that, as citizens, they have a responsibility to the country to speak out against societal issues without expecting government to jump on the bandwagon.

“If we had joined the protest, they would still have complained and accused Swapo of hijacking it and accused the party of using a serious issue at the gain of political votes. We just had to drive past it,” Nicanor said.

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