Swartbooi's land strategy pays dividends

02 December 2019 | Local News

Political commentators were left impressed with Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi's strategy to focus on one central issue - ancestral land claims.

While not a breakaway party from Swapo in the technical sense, the LPM's growth was centred on the former deputy land reform minister, who at the time of its formation was still a Swapo member.

Political commentators Hoze Riruako and Nico Horn said the LPM, because of its stance on land, had offered voters something else, in stark contrast to other breakaway parties formed out of Swapo, such as the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) and the Congress of Democrats (CoD).

Although Swartbooi could only mustered about 3% of the total presidential votes, Horn and Riruako both felt it was a worthy achievement from the LPM leader. The LPM garnered 5% of the National Assembly vote, giving them four parliamentary, although opposition are still disputing some of the outcomes in the constituencies.

“Swapo breakaway parties do not have a long life. I think Swartbooi did very well. It is a specific case that he deals with; he was very focused,” Horn said in his analysis. He, however, felt that Swartbooi's votes came from a small constituency. Riruako said Swartbooi had focused on an issue government had failed at.

“Swartbooi used land as an issue. Government has not made major strides. He took something so important to many people and that made people vote for him,” said Riruako.

He said Swartbooi's focus on land also gave him an advantage over some of the other candidates running for presidency.

“The biggest issue for him was to put the basis of his party on land,” said Riruako.

“People see a person with guts; if you need things, you need a person who has guts. Swartbooi himself is a firebrand, he is vibrant,” Riruako added.

“The LPM surprised all of us. I thought they were a southern-based political party,” Riruako added.

Academic Andrew Niikando was also impressed with the LPM's showing at the polls.

“The LPM did well; they have gained a significant amount of voters,” he said briefly.

OGONE TLHAGE

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