Opposition party manifestos ‘unrealistic wish lists’


Windhoek –  The director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Graham Hopwood, has described the election manifestos of some Namibian opposition parties as wish lists of policies and programmes which are unrealistic.

Hopwood said manifestos should indicate that a party has a serious, well-thought agenda for developing the country.

In an interview with The Southern Times, Hopwood said manifestos should be based on research and consultation and present a series of policies that tackle the main socio-economic challenges facing Namibia.

He said political parties should also stick to their promises once they get into power.

“A manifesto serves the purpose of outlaying a party’s broad ideology and the list of promises it plans to deliver upon, once in power but not all the promises are realistic. For example, only a few political parties explain how they will fund their plans, such as increasing taxes or finding other sources of revenue or making cuts but the majority of opposition parties do generalise,” he said.

A number of the opposition parties are promising to address challenges in education, health, infrastructural development, rural development, youth empowerment, job creation, housing, provision of electricity, land reform and redistribution but without a clear programme of how they intend to achieve this.

The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) says if it comes into power it would introduce a safety net for single mothers with more than one child, increase State pensions to N$1 500 a month and provide free fences to poor farmers.

The party also says it would launch a “national sport talent search system”, introduce online courses and put an end to the so-called “kambashu/shacks republic”.

It is promising to allocate 2.2 percent of the national revenue annually towards establishing a ‘Youth Enterprise Capital Fund’ to give the youth interest-free business financing without the traditional collateral requirement.

Hopwood further said although the ruling party, Swapo’s, manifesto strongly emphasises continuity, it gives little detail on future policies – particularly new policies or legal reforms that might be introduced in the next five years.

He said although the manifesto does not only contain promises, but also sets out framework on how it (the manifesto) would be implemented, it still lacks detail.

“Political parties do not actually have to do any of the things they said they would in their manifesto if they succeed in getting elected, although they have to be careful, because failing to implement certain policies can leave voters feeling betrayed, leading to a negative backlash,” Hopwood says.

So far 14 political parties have registered with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and will be contesting in the Presidential and National Assembly elections slated for November 28.

October 2014
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