The contest for hearts and minds

03 June 2020 | Opinion

Nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight, when everything remains seemingly unchanged.

The above quote by late US Supreme Court Justice William Douglas on the fallibility of his country’s democracy also sounds a warning to all.

Last year we experienced what many would term a deepening of democracy, when opposition parties made inroads into Swapo’s support, with the ruling party losing 14 seats in parliament.

With the Covid-19 pandemic grabbing most of our attention, another election is appearing on the horizon later this year, when voters will cast their ballots during the local and regional government election.

Although the opposition largely cashed in on the emergence of an independent presidential candidate, some of whose supporters also voted for them, this was largely an anomaly that may not repeat itself in the upcoming vote. What will be unique is in which guise the Affirmative Repositioning movement will be fighting the election. Already its leader, Job Amupanda has started his campaign to become the next mayor of Windhoek.

It goes without saying that the opposition will have to fight tooth and nail in order to use last year’s election as a kind of springboard to further challenge Swapo’s hegemony. What remains to be seen is whether the added impetus in parliament, and the extra funding attached, will finally see a truer contest for hearts and minds.

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