Intolerance rocking Swapo- Experts caution
The Swapo party is showing signs of intolerance, and a lack of accountability and transparency that will lead to trouble in the long run, a local economic think-tank has expressed in its political outlook report.
The report compiled by PSG Namibia blames President Hage Geingob for violating the principles of democracy by clamping down on voices of dissent.
It makes reference to a point when Geingob “made his threats during his opening remarks at a Swapo Party central committee meeting”.
“According to the president MPs were independent and could speak their minds but always to remember they were elected on a Swapo ticket and not one in their own name. He called the dissident behaviour of some MPs disrespectful and disorderly and suggested some measure of disciplinary action was deemed necessary for those MPs who failed to toe the party line,” it says.
What also came on the radar was the speaker of parliament, Professor Peter Katjavivi’s threat to ban journalists from the National Assembly chamber who published photographs of MPs playing on their smartphones while discussions were going on in the chamber.
Says the report, “The two issues highlight a growing tendency in Swapo to clamp down on any dissident voices and attempts to undermine the party in the eyes of the electorate. It is a slippery slope and one that does Swapo no credit.”
“The row comes on the back of an Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report that showed many MPs and particularly those representing the governing party did not bother to ask questions,” the report states.
PSG Namibia concludes that these were worrying signs in a party that seems to believe it owes nothing to the principles of democracy.
The firm also took issue with what it labelled as “the elevation of party above all else” saying it was a dangerous trait that needed to be reined in.
In its prediction, Namibia will continue its well-trodden path of avoiding any serious threats to its political and social stability while somehow failing to reach its true potential.
“Namibia’s political environment will remain where it is for the short to medium term but the prognosis for the long term is not quite as simple. Swapo is showing signs of intolerance, and a lack of accountability and transparency that will lead to trouble in the long run when issues like land reform take on a less benign apparel,” says PSG.
In its country stability measurement, the report reported that the legitimacy of government was stable while the effectiveness of state structures was hindered by unemployment issues.
The role of civil society has been regarded as strong with overall stable trends in checks and balances.
Conflict levels have been regarded as stable.
“An obvious observation is that Swapo will once again win elections next year with the usual large majorities,” the report predicts.