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By: Andrew Kathindi

The popular democratic movement (PDM) has taken issue with the Iranian embassy in Windhoek, asking that details regarding scholarship hopefuls be sent to, among others, the Swapo party for consideration.

In a letter dated 14 January in possession of The Villager, the Islamic Republic of Iran said their higher education ministry will allocate more than 25 scholarships annually to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
The embassy called on the necessary information, including terms and conditions and application forms to be utilized by interested students be forwarded to the higher education ministry, “the three universities, Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and the ruling party for consideration and appropriate action.”
The official opposition is annoyed that the Iranian government suggests that it has a cosy relationship with the ruling party.

“It appears from your letter that your office, being an office of a friendly state, singles out that the ‘Ruling Party’ must be informed of the scholarship offered to Namibians. We take strong exception to the assertion that the state of the Islamic Republic of Iran has a relationship with the governing party in Namibia,” said PDM chief whip and secretary of international relations, Vipuakuje Muharukua.
He said that PDM does not want to stifle any relations the Swapo party has with any political entity in Iran. It is common for Namibian political formations to have ties with foreign sister parties based on ideological identity or other interests.

“Had the said missive emanated from a political entity in the state of Iran, it would be more than acceptable. In fact, in line with the ideals of a non-aligned state, and as provided for in article 96 of our constitution, the PDM and Namibians see Iran as a potentially valuable international partner to Namibia, especially in the sciences fields of education and nuclear power.”
“However, your said missive makes it clear that the State of Iran is dealing directly with a political entity in Namibia. This is tantamount to meddling in the political affairs in Namibia and political space of Namibians; that is an infringement on the sovereignty of Namibia and its people.”
He said that foreign powers in the past have been able to dictate national affairs in various African states, including Namibia.
“This conduct in the international relations must cease forthwith.”

Julia Heita

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