Abel warns against house-to-house political campaigns

GOBABIS: Omaheke Police Regional Commander, Commissioner Josephat Abel has warned political parties participating in the upcoming general elections to abide by set rules and procedures governing their campaign activities.

The Presidential and National Assembly elections are set to take place in November this year.

Addressing political party representatives here on Friday, Abel said political parties need to do their best at all times to avoid provocation, possible volatile situations and the outbreak of possible pre-election violence.

He urged political parties to educate their members on good election conduct and the tolerance of political views other than their own.

Abel said the onus is on the leaders of political parties to educate their followers on how to conduct themselves during this time.

“We have different political views in this country and it is expected from all of us to be understanding and tolerant of the beliefs and views of other people. If your members fail to abide by the education and tips you give them, then you as a leader and eventually your party will have failed the Namibian nation,” he said.

The Commissioner appealed to political parties to do their best to avoid house-to-house campaigning and canvasing for votes in an effort to avoid possible confrontation and intimidation. He said while such forms of campaigning are provided for in the Namibian Constitution, they often infringe upon the privacy of citizens which can erupt into unruly situations when not handled well.

“We know it is your right to do house-to-house and shebeen-to-shebeen campaigns, but I would advise you against doing so during the period leading up to the November elections. This is a sensitive area to campaign in as some people may feel that you are violating their right to privacy,” he said.

Abel further warned political parties to abide by the provisions of the code of conduct of political parties as set by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), by amongst others avoiding speeches or party promotion materials inciting violence, and to also avoid conducting campaigns close to each other.

Political party representatives present during the meeting pledged their support to the activities of the police during the election period, and promised to carry the regional commander’s message on to their supporters.

Zebulon Kapeotua of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) said his party will do its best to avoid any confrontation or clashes with the members of other political parties.

“Nudo thanks the regional commander for the message delivered and pledge that we will institute all the requirements as set by the police to ensure a peaceful election period,” he said.

Kejamuina Mungendje of the Swapo-Party also noted that his party fully comprehends the regional commander’s message and will see to it that it is enforced.

Other political parties in attendance were the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), DTA of Namibia and the Republican Party (RP).