Campaigns heats up as elections near
Windhoek – The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) has announced that sixteen political parties will contest this month’s general elections, of which nine have fielded candidates to run for the presidency on November 28.
The electoral body made the announcement following a public verification process at its head office in the capital on October 29.
The presidential candidates are Ignatius Shixwameni of All People’s Party (APP); Ben Ulenga of Congress of Democrats (CoD); McHenry Venaani of DTA of Namibia; Hage Geingob of Swapo Party; Epafras Mukwiilongo of Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) and Asser Mbai of National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO).
Others are Hidipo Hamutenya for the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP); Henry Mudge of Republican Party (RP) as well as Usutuaije Maamberua of Swanu of Namibia.
Other parties that opted to concentrate on the National Assembly elections are the Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP); United People’s Movement (UPM); Democratic Party of Namibia (DPN); Monitor Action Group (MAG); Christian Democratic Movement (CDM); the United Democratic Front (UDF) and the National Democratic Party (NDP).
Meanwhile, campaigns are heating up as the Presidential and National Assembly elections approaches, with politicians representing various political formations including the ruling Swapo Party out in the field canvasing for support.
Last weekend was a field day as leaders of Swapo and the opposition parties, who held rallies across the countries, calling on the electorate to vote for their respective parties.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is serving the last five-months of his second five year term as Namibia’s Head of State has for the past few months been tirelessly campaigning for his party, Swapo and its presidential candidate, Dr Hage Geingob.
This past weekend, Pohamba has addressed a star rally at Healo Nafidi in the Ohangwena Region at which he urged the residents to vote for the Swapo Party and its presidential candidate.
The Swapo Party has pegged its political campaigns to the government’s achievements of the past 24 years.
For instance, Pohamba told the Helao Nafidi community that the government, under the Swapo administration has constructed and upgraded a number of roads across the country including the Ohangwena Region, where several roads are being upgraded to bitumen standards.
In addition, Pohamba pointed out that the government has extended the railway line from Ondangwa to Oshikango, which he said will facilitate the transportation of goods and passengers.
He added that several schools, hostels and libraries have been constructed and renovated across the country, including in Ohangwena Region.
“We will continue to build on the Swapo Party Government’s proven track record of implementing programmes and policies to broaden and expand the socio-economic development of our country.
“Today, more Namibians in different parts of the country have access to potable water, electricity, housing and sanitation, health care services and education.
“In addition, our elderly people, orphans and vulnerable children, as well as people with disabilities receive monthly social grants as part of the social safety nets that the Swapo Party Government continues to implement,” said the Swapo leader.
“I, therefore, urge you all, to vote for the Swapo Party on 28 November 2014. Give the Swapo Party the mandate to continue with the development programmes and projects that have been initiated over the years in this region and Namibia as a whole”.
Opposition brave face
Despite, Swapo dominance in Namibian politics ever since independence – the opposition has put up a brave face ahead of the elections, with different leaders insisting that they can offer a better deal than the ruling party.
McHenry Venaani, the presidential candidate for the DTA of Namibia, whose party held a rally at Grootfontein in Otjozondjupa Region has called on the nation to vote for him and his party, as it is “the agent for change”.
During the rally on November 1, the youthful opposition leader, who has put up a spirited cross country campaign so far, reiterated his vision that under the DTA administration, “all citizens will enjoy equal opportunities and promised that tax payers money will be put to good use – on priority projects and programmes that will improve the living standard of all Namibians”.
Former Swapo stalwart, now the leader of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) Hidipo Hamutenya, told the residents of Swakopmund, that housing will be a priority once his party is voted into power.
The former Trade and Industry Minister has promised to mobilise government resources to fund priority projects on pressing issues such as poverty alleviation, lack of affordable housing as well as programmes that help create jobs for thousands of destitute Namibians.
Meanwhile, Usutaije Maamberua, the leader of the country’s oldest political formation – Swanu of Namibia has appealed to the community of Okatjoruu, in the Omaheke Region to vote for his party.
The opposition presidential hopeful, said his party intends to continue advocating for pro-poor laws in the National Assembly such as the introduction of a national minimum wage. Maamberua also reiterated his call for public debate by all presidential candidates, saying doing so will give the public the opportunity to make informed choices, by electing candidates based on their inherent qualities.
In addition, the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) and the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) have ganged up for the upcoming elections.
Nudo president Asser Mbai announced at a media briefing on October 30, that the PDM has agreed to throw its weight behind his party for the Presidential and National Assembly Elections.
He said their agreement only covers the working relationship between the two parties for this year’s election, while further negotiations are ongoing to find common ground on other pertinent issues.
“We in Nudo welcome this gesture of goodwill from the PDM party… We welcome it and take it upon ourselves to make your vote count in this election through our party,” he said. PDM is led by former Nudo member Josef Kauandenge. – Additional reporting by Nampa, NBC