Namibian democracy in chaos
Being the election year, Namibians expect a lot from 2014, especially because political general elections are perceived to be the highest exercise in any democracy.
Namibia was established and still stands on the pillars of democracy and the rule of law. Note, in fact, democracy means, “rule of the people”, according to ancient Greeks.
Despite the revolutionary uprisings by the oppressed Namibian people against German colonialism and South African white apartheid’s illegal occupation, the Namibian people through their revolutionary liberation movement, Swapo of Namibia, emerged victorious.
However, as a face-saving device for the defeated party in the war over Namibia, a negotiated solution was reached between the belligerent parties, the apartheid South African regime and the vanguard Swapo, through the auspices of the United Nations.
This is where the ground breaking work for democracy started in Namibia. It was brought about by first securing a conducive climate for all participants in that democratic process through the signing of a ceasefire agreement between the warring parties. Secondly, it was the political mobilisation, organisation and planning for the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 435 of 1978. This resolution called for the cessation of hostilities, establishment of a strong UN peacekeeping military and civilian contingent (Untag) in Namibia, return of all Namibian exiles, withdrawal of all the South African military and repressive apparatus from the Namibian territory and the holding of free and fair national elections.
This is where we come from.
Our freedom and independence was not achieved on a silver platter as many would like the world to believe today. It is for this reason that many patriotic-minded Namibians feel disappointed when the well-established democratic dispensation in our country is being undermined. Undoubtedly, the freedom and independence we all enjoy today brought about a wonderful metamorphosis in our country.
But much still needs to be done. There are deliberate attempts by anti-progress and anti-democratic forces in our country to derail the democratic process. Political fanatics, antagonists and saboteurs have been trying to infuse one obstacle after the other, to undermine the process. During the course of the last 24 years, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and political parties have been dragged to courts over the so-called ‘voter rigging’, ‘fraudulent practices’, etc.
The political culprit in the failing democratic system of Namibia is the ECN; a neutral statutory body, which was established by an Act of Parliament to be the facilitator of all electoral in the country. ECN commissioners and director are appointed by Cabinet and endorsed by both houses of Parliament. The director is supported by a competent management team and supporting staff, which is recruited from all the ethnic groups of Namibia. This is a Namibian thing and only us, Namibians, can make it Namibian.
With the registration of voters for the 2014 presidential, National Assembly, regional and local authorities elections, ECN is already under the spotlight for not allowing some people to register, because they do not have municipal bills. The main role players in any election are the citizens of this country. They are the ones who elect their representatives and leaders, be it through their political parties or nationally, like the President.
Looking at this issue from outside in, one could say the registered political parties have a very significant role to play in the smooth running of any election. They are the liaising link between the ECN and the masses. If this is the case, most of the complaints, back-stabbings and mudslinging, court cases, threats and intimidations, especially against the ECN, would not be necessary if the political parties executed their duties responsibly.
According to the classical political works of Vladimir Lenin, “Political Party Leadership and its effectiveness are linked with socio-psychological phenomena and the leader understands of the people, the masses, their ability to establish contact with the masses, to win their absolute trust and never to lose ties with the masses.”
Before we look at our political parties, let’s take a look at the definition of a political party from the classical works of Karl Max, “A party collective is a conscious union of men and women, the highest form of social and political organisation, based on ideological community and relations of comradely co-operation, mutual assistance and responsibility...”
Frankly speaking, if one lists all the media reports about our political parties and their purported leaders, the conclusion would sum up to nothing more than political fanatics, chaos and anarchy.
It is time for the blame game to stop and each one of the role players in the democratic process of our country to assume their responsibilities. The political parties must embark on the education of their members about the processes and systems of elections, by encouraging them to follow proper procedures and register for the forthcoming elections.
We should not only wait until the official election campaigns start to go around addressing political rallies. At rallies, people do not have time to ask questions about the election manifestos and promises of this and that.
It is a fact that many political parties are cash-strapped and need money to embark on their political activities. But this is the responsibility of the party leadership to organise, mobilise, campaign and straighten party activities.
The main focal point of the upcoming elections is for the Namibian registered electorate to elect its trusted political representatives and leaders in a free and fair manner. It should be a collective responsibility of all Namibians to see to it that the election process proceeds according to our wishes and aspirations.
ECN must be assisted, encouraged, corrected and guided by us all, so that it can accomplish its duties without fear or favour. Both winners and losers must accept the outcome and ensure we move forward confidently and as proud Namibians.
As the good book puts it; “In darkness and in failure there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Jesus Christ who gives us light.”