What a farce!

11 June 2019 | Opinion

During the run-up to the 2017 Swapo elective congress, President Hage Geingob, the leader of the Harambee faction, often implored his Team Swapo opponents to play the man and not the ball.

This came amid vicious tit-for-tat attacks in the mainstream media and on social media sites, where the factions fought tooth and nail, while often attempting tribalist and other smears.

Fast-forward to 2019 and the ongoing campaigning for the upcoming Ondangwa Urban by-election. To say that Swapo leaders and their social media lackeys have chosen to play the woman and not the ball - in the case of independent candidate Angelina Immanuel - would be a severe understatement.

Most Namibians are still trying to figure out what the young woman's grandmother has to do with voting in this upcoming election, after Vice-president Nangolo Mbumba decided to reference this part of her family tree at a star rally this past weekend. Among his other comments seemed to cross the sexism line. Yet, what must be quite entertaining, if not downright baffling to many, is why the ruling party is giving an independent candidate so much airtime, and by implication, continues to build her public profile.

In this Monty Python-like farce, one would think that she must be a Trojan Horse, planted by the party, the way it has vigorously 'de-campaigned' her through unwarranted personal attacks.

Obviously all is not well in Swapo; this is apparent as the party fails to recover from the 2017 slug-fest that has now culminated in a court challenge that is ongoing in the High Court. And as the party prepares to plaster Geingob's face all over its election posters, along with its former presidents, only a sense of panic can explain what is happening in the Ondangwa Urban fracas.

It is now time for Geingob to step in and put an end to this playing-the-person-and-not-the-ball strategy, which he obviously didn't condone when he was up for election as Swapo president. Or does it have his tacit, yet silent, approval?

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