Time to Do Away With Two Centres of Power [analysis]

NAMIBIA normally holds Presidential and National Assembly elections during November after every five years. A normal and general practice in most countries is that as soon as a winner of a presidential election is declared, the President-elect is immediately sworn-in in order to avoid a power vacuum and whatever may come with it.

But this Land of the Brave has for the past 24 years been practising something abnormal. A Presidential candidate is elected in November but only sworn in in March the following year – almost five months later! Did we as electorate ever question why this is so? Is there a constitutional provision for such a dangerous practice? Have we as voters really paused to interrogate this unusual practice?

In my view, Namibian voters are simply, once again, being taken for granted by the ruling elites. In 1990, it was probably understandable to swear in the President three months later due to the fact that, so I am told, the Constitution was yet to be adopted on 9 February, 1990 and a number of logistics had to be in place due to a large number of dignitaries expected to attend our first Independence celebrations.

Some amount of time might also be needed in case a run-off was needed in the absence of an outright winner, but not five months, for sure.

The question is thus still relevant, why do we still have a drawn-out process of swearing in an elected President five months after heshe was elected by direct and popular universal franchise?!

To me this is an undemocratic practice because between the month of November and 21 March, you have two centres of power. You have the outgoing President and a President-elect. In my opinion this should not happen as there is no constitutional provision in this regard. Common sense dictates that as soon as the winner is declared, the transfer of power should take place!

Since elections are normally held just before our long summer holidays in December, it also makes good common sense for the electorate to know before they embark on their holidays who their leaders are, especially in the executive!

I perused through our Constitution and there is not a single provision that stipulates that an elected President should wait for a period of almost five months before taking office. I am yet to be convinced why we should allow such a power vacuum in Namibia.

The reasons why our ruling elite govern with impunity, or do things unconstitutionally, is simply because we, the electorate and academics do not challenge such anomalies. The public is deliberately kept ignorant and life goes on as normal.

Namibia, it is time to speak out and interrogate these things without fear or favour. I have raised my voice and I welcome a constructive debate on this issue.

Source : The Namibian