The winds of change

29 November 2019 | Opinion

An array of factors, including economic misery, joblessness, the stench of corruption, political wildcards and simmering discontent, have conspired to deliver a 2019 general election that will be carved indelibly into the history books of independent Namibia.

As trends begin to emerge following the Namibian electorate going to the polls on Wednesday, as predicted, the race to State House is a two-horse race between the incumbent and the independent presidential candidate. Yet for many who would see multiparty democracy strengthened, not only here but regionally, continentally and globally, the National Assembly race is even more interesting, as traditional Swapo strongholds have recorded telling gains for opposition parties. Where opposition party presidential candidates have performed with limited success, somehow a smattering of traditional Swapo votes ended up in their pot of support. In fact, from the provisional results it would seem that the ruling party's grip on a two-thirds majority may be loosening, while the opposition benches, which cumulatively housed about 20% of the seats after the 2014 general election, will likely now be emboldened and more able to hold power to account. President Hage Geingob's 87% in 2014 is now a distant memory, and if he manages to hold on and remain resident at State House or face a run-off, the nature of politics has been irrevocably changed.

Finally the liberation struggle collateral has run out, as Namibian voters turn their attention to the massive challenges of the day and the future of their beloved homeland. Whoever stands triumphant or defeated at the end of the counting process must know that political power is borrowed from the citizens of this nation. It is not a currency to use as you wish to the benefit of insiders and cronies. Political power belongs to the citizens, not to parties and their leaders. This nation, blessed with so much, has finally turned the corner, and has grabbed this realisation with both hands. Namibia is the people, and the people are Namibians!

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