Political space too polarised: Venaani

Official opposition leader McHenry Venaani is concerned by lack of cooperation among opposition parties, saying it defeats logic by maintaining the status quo.

This, he said, is to the detriment of opposition parties and plays right into the hands of the ruling party, which they all want to topple.

“It’s a systemic problem. The ruling party can win in some constituency, even with minority votes. Let’s say the opposition gets 50 votes altogether while Swapo gets 10 votes and none of the opposition gets 10 votes, the ruling party still wins and that is a dangerous situation caused by lack of cooperation among opposition parties and cannot be overlooked,” he said.

There are 493 contenders – 93 of them independent candidates – scrambling for 121 positions as regional councillors.

Equally, there are 18 registered political parties and 13 associations contesting this election.

Venaani said this a few minutes before he went into the voting booth to cast his vote for the Regional Council and Local Authority elections on Wednesday.

At the back of increased National Assembly seats from five to 16, Venaani expects his Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) to increase its presence in the various local authorities and regional councils.

“We are a party that is very hard working. We hope to maintain a number of gains. We are hoping to get extra constituencies and seats. But the whole political field is polarised with a number of political parties, so the players are also going to affect the outcome,” he said.

A perception in the public space exists that PDM’s growth in the National Assembly was boosted by what is called ‘the Panduleni Itula phenomena’.

Those who hold this view say when Itula contested as an independent candidate and encouraged Namibians to vote for opposition parties instead of Swapo, PDM were the main beneficiaries.

He said: “Itula didn’t have votes [in the National Assembly elections]. Swapo had votes and we took seats from Swapo so you can’t say it is an Itula factor. There were 13 political parties last year. Why did they vote for us? So we had something that we were doing right.”

He also downplayed claims that white Namibians generally perceived as watching politics from the periphery, are now voting en masse.

“All Namibians are out there to cast their votes. You can’t zero it down to an ethnic kind of vote,” he said.

Those who single out white Namibian voters have sinister motives, he said.

“It’s just trying to limit white Namibians not to vote or wanting them to vote in a particular way. It is within their rights to vote. They are citizens,” he said.

Source: Namibia Press Agency