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Other Articles from The Villager

Time to speak is now

Tue, 27 May 2014 04:06
by Libolly Haufiku
Columns

Namibia will in six months hold elections to elect a new president and parliamentarians.
The question that immediately comes to mind is; How different will these elections be from previous ones?
The answer is clear, unless we wake up and go into these elections with a different mindset, I do not need to elaborate on empty promises that the ruling Party has failed to fulfill their previous promises.
24 years down the line, the majority of Namibians are still not enjoying basic services such as clean water, basic sanitation, better medical care, better housing; the list is endless.
I am aware that many Namibians are concerned that our current system of political representation is not good enough and more so not doing any justice to those who elect politicians to truly represent their interest.
Let me state that the fundamental reason why the RDP was formed was due to the erosion of democratic principles in the ruling party coupled by the loss of vision.
Based on this background, we started to critically look at why the Namibian electorate are getting a raw deal from their elected representatives both in Parliament and Government.
 We identified the main cause as the lack of accountability to the electorates and the arrogance of power that comes with it. That’s why in the RDP Manifesto of 2009 and still to be repeated in our 2014 Manifesto, we proposed that should RDP come to power, we shall radically review the  proportional representation as currently enshrined in the Constitution.
That means, moving away from party list to direct constituency representation. I can vouch on this that many current MP’s will not make it to parliament if a constituency based system is introduced. Most are hiding behind Party list system to survive in politics.
I am aware that many Namibians irrespective of their political persuasion believe that the Party list or proportional representation has made our politician less accountable to the electorate and simply think of themselves.
This is without exception across all political parties. This unfortunately includes my own party. A recent and good example is That MP’s receive eternal VIP status, even once they are out of office after retirement and that they get all manner of perks and advantages over ordinary citizens including retention of housing, transport and furniture allowances, among others, it is clear they think only of themselves.
These recommendations are ridiculous and must be rejected. This country is full of hungry people, homeless people.
I have never heard such a practice anywhere in the world and the ruling elite in this country take the people of this country for granted. I am even more confounded by the fact that not a single RDP MP came out and spoke publicly against such a culture of entitlement.
Were these not some of the reasons why the RDP was founded to fight self-enrichment and other vices such as institutionalized corruption?
The message we get from such silence simply means that current politicians (across political lines) forget why they are elected to positions of governance. I am a proponent of constituency based MPs in order to hold them accountable and it is high time that the Namibian electorate begin to have a different mindset and elect people who will be answerable to them. If for instance an MP does not perform, (who is elected directly) then he/she knows that come next elections, he/she is likely to lose his/her parliamentary seat. It’s as simple as that!!!  
We are seeing very frightening examples of Parties within our SADC region that are simply being re-elected into power irrespective of whether they delivered on their promises or not and basically depend on their past history and liberation credentials.  
What do I then propose to change the status quo in Namibia?
 Many young people have registered to vote in the upcoming elections and my appeal is directed at them to come out in big numbers and vote to change the way this country is governed. They must know that the future of this country belongs to them and if they adopt an “I don’t care attitude” they will at the end of the day blame themselves and no one.
I really do not mind whichever party wins the Presidency but what I really hope to see is the breaking of SWAPO Party two-third majority in Parliament. That will bring about a balance of power in the country. This will mean no party will have overall majority to dominate the legislature. The practice of bulldozing unpopular laws would be a thing of the past. hence, if we want laws that will benefit the majority of our people, this is where we have to start.
 Let’s vote for a balance. Any elected President (irrespective of his Party) will definitely not ignore the balance of power in Parliament.  If the Namibian electorate want to see accountability in action, they better vote wise and strike a balance in both National Assembly and Regional Council (House of Review).
A new balance of power in Parliament could review the current system of proportional representation.