PM Raps Foreigners Over Elections

PRIME Minister Hage Geingob yesterday said he looks forward to the day when Africa will not need ‘foreigners’ to watch and validate its electoral process as either free or not free.

Geingob was speaking at the official opening of the crime and maintenance of law and order workshop in Windhoek aimed at preparing the police for combating crime during the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections.

“I have a problem with this election monitoring … for somebody to come and supervise me when they locked us up when we demanded our rights,” he said.

Geingob further said the country has so far held five free and fair elections, an indication that it has matured enough to do its own assessments.

“I want Namibians to be the final judges of whether elections are free or not. We fought for our democracy and the right to vote and to be voted for,” he said, stressing that the country was democratic not to please the Western countries or to receive some sort of validation from them.

“We are democratic because we fought for it and because it is for the benefit of our country. Nobody must think we hold elections democratically to please them, in the West especially,” Geingob said.

Geingob is not the first high-ranking government official to be irritated by the monitoring by the West.

In 2009 former Prime Minister Nahas Angula also criticised the Deutsche Afrika Stiftung (DAS) for sending a team of observers whom he claimed had been ‘hiding behind the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), which has an office in Namibia’, because the KAS facilitated their registration as observers even though they included journalists. Angula accused the KAS of aiming ‘to accelerate regime change in Namibia’.

Such accusations were subsequently rejected by DAS who said they were independent and not linked to the KAS and thus did not hide behind it.

Yesterday Geingob, who is the Swapo presidential candidate, also said leaders should avoid the “Savimbi spectrum”, saying people should not create chaos because they have not been voted for.

“I am also maybe a future president,” adding that one never really knows.

He applauded the country’s leaders whom he said are not power hungry and they pass on the baton when the time comes, a practise he says is rare in most African countries.

“This is unique and we should not take it for granted because in Namibia we like to take things for granted. Just like we take peace for granted,” Geingob said, calling on all political parties and their followers to ensure that elections take place in a free and fair environment.

He urged community members to provide relevant information to the authorities so that any enemies of progress and peace that are part of society can be arrested.

“We all have a role to play. Let is once again show the world that Africa can police itself and that we can take charge of our own electoral process and determine the destiny of our own countries,” Geingob said.

Police Inspector General Sebastian Ndeitunga told the workshop that they will asses their level of preparedness in conducting the elections, in order to make sure they are conducted in a conducive environment.

“We will analyse and review the design and operational framework of internal security as well as initiate and foster cross-institutional collaboration.” This he said is to understand key issues that underpin the elections’ security and integrity.

Ndeitunga said they will meet all political parties and leaders tomorrow to discuss how they can ensure free, fair and non-violent elections.

Source : The Namibian