Independence of Character
POLITICAL temperatures always rise in an election year and if the early signs of all political parties and would-be contestants are anything to go by, it might reach fever pitch long before the elections at the end of this year.
The hurdle is not so much the election results at the end of the year, but rather which parties will contest, as well as the message that the candidate lists of the Presidential-, Parliamentary-, Regional and Local Governments will send to a growing cynical electorate.
All ingredients for a perfect election storm is gathering on the horizon. The drought, depressed economy and the competition for control over what remains in the treasury, will be political cannon fodder.
Namibians will be challenged to distinguish between personal-, factional-, political and national interest. And since Independence 29 years ago they have proven that they can.
When Namibia celebrates its 29th year of Independence later this week, the nation will prove that Namibian democracy is not on its way to the emergency room.
Namibians have done so in the past and will again demonstrate that they are more resilient than social and other media platforms care to admit.
There are those few usual personality addicts who want to create the perception that they are the knights in shining armour ready to come and rescue Namibia from doom and gloom, but are already known by now.
The various debates are not signs of faltering democracy, but rather a sign of the strength of Namibian democracy that weathered many storms since 1990 and will continue to protect freedom, peace and stability against many challenges that might still come.
What is already not a secret anymore is that the 2012 factional campaign of internal dissent and division in the Swapo- and the presidential appointees have been reintroduced.
It does not come as a surprise that those who could not accept the 2012 Congress results are the same that did not accept the 2017 Congress results and not surprisingly, will abuse national challenges for a new onslaught on the treasury.
What is different this time however is that the economy of 2012 was not in the same sorry state it is in now, and can now be abused.
The irony is that mainly those who abused and benefitted from the uncontrollable spending before and since 2012 are only now complaining about the economy where they are not in front of every tender queue like in the golden years of tenderpreneurship — that is only being closed now under President Geingob – and with the support of his Minister of Finance .
The devastating drought of the past few years and poor rains in the 2019 election year magnified the precarious position Namibians find themselves in and with the elections looming, it is unfortunately also the climate in which political opportunism thrives. Factional and personal interest is a clear and present danger.
However, there are also different realities to consider.
The division that is portrayed and fuelled on various new media platforms, notorious for their unreliability, but loved for sensationalism, is indeed the strongest evidence for the deep and strong Namibian Constitutional Democracy.
Namibian democracy is not only anchored in the way winners behaved, but most definitely in the way losers accepted defeat. The only exception is the factions of interest in hiding amongst the ruling party that cannot accept democratic results within and are allowed to remain the Trojan Horse.
Namibians can stay the course of peace, stability and constitutional democracy, because it withstood all the tests of times like no other community of free and independent peoples. They have been moulded by regular multiparty elections and unlike many societies the ballot always proves unifying rather than dividing.
When Namibia gathers for the Independence celebrations it will be under the flag of our fathers and strength through knowledge that a free, independent and just future for all will be challenged, yet again.
The strength of national character deserves to be showcased.
Most importantly it is the opportunity for an early defeat for factionalism.