POVERTY-STRICKEN Namibians, the landless, school drop-outs and unemployed university graduates will soon have a political party they can call their own – or so it is claimed.
The new political baby on the block – The National Empowerment Fighting Corruption – is a brain child of community activist Kennedy Iilonga who, in recent years, earned celebrity status for being the voice of the voiceless on NBC radio phone-in programmes.
Iilonga, who is a Walvis Bay resident, confirmed in an interview with Informanté that a new political party will indeed be registered with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) soon.
“There is evidently a need for a new political party to address the plight of the poverty-stricken majority,” said Iilonga. He noted that once registered with the ECN, the new party will field “capable candidates” to the National Assembly and to regional and local authorities to urgently address the plight of the poor, the landless, the forgotten school drop-outs and the unemployed college and university graduates.
“We envision a country where every citizen aged 25 and above would be able to own a piece of land to build his or her own house instead of being permanently relegated to staying in shacks erected on other peoples’ backyards. A country where learners are allowed to repeat the grades they failed, where relatives of those who sacrificed their lives during the liberation struggle are compensated, where the government retains 50% shares in every mine and where specific ministries are given fishing quotas,” said Iilonga. He said that a number of volunteers are currently canvassing support for the new party countrywide. “Our objective is to register at least 3 500 members before approaching the ECN for registration. We have already reached the 3 000-mark,” he said.
Drafters are currently putting the finishing touches on the party’s constitution which will be adopted at the founding congress either later this year or early next year.
Should Iilonga get his way, the founding congress will be held in the North “where the majority of Namibians live”.
About the ruling party Swapo which has been his political home for years, Iilonga said: “I personally do not have a problem with Swapo as such. In fact Swapo has a glorious history, having played an unmatched role in our liberation struggle. But the party has been hijacked by people who are using it for self-enrichment purposes only while neglecting the people.”
He is fairly satisfied with the maturity of Namibian politics and pointed out that he did not experience any form of intimidation ever since he came forward with the idea of establishing a new political party.
When approached for comment, Swapo Party Secretary-General Sofia Shaningwa said she has heard about the new party and its founder and she is not worried.
She said that Namibians have the right to establish or join political parties of their choice, but she is not sure whether one person can belong to two political parties simultaneously.
She said that people leaving Swapo to establish new parties is not something new. “People leave and many of them do come back later,” she said.
She said that she does not yet have concrete proof that Iilonga – who was a supporter of Team Swapo during the run-up to last year’s congress – has indeed established a new political party while at the same time retaining his Swapo Party membership.