The official opposition Popular Democratic Movement’s (PDM) supporters joined a Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) demonstration against the importation of Chinese counterfeit products on Friday, as Job Amupanda pulled his Affirmative Repositioning (AR) out of the bandwagon.
The latest protest action took place at Okagongo ka Gandjera shopping complex in Oshakati West, Oshana Region, with the march finding itself to the Game shopping complex by Friday mid-afternoon.
The AR pull-back comes at a time when several of its members like activist Pau Pau, Angelina Immanuel, spokesperson, Simon Amunime, and co-founder George Kamabala threw in their lot with the NEFF agitating for the release of Michael Amushelelo and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma.
The four vibrant leaders were also visibly instrumental in the NEFF mass demonstration that painted the city of Windhoek red a few days ago, and brought many young people to the streets calling for Chinese businesses that were not tax compliant to pack their bags and leave.
The AR member’s activism within the NEFF has raised eye-brows as to whether there is a strong feeling that the movement should forge a coalition with the red shirts or not.
In the meantime, NEFF’s second in command, Kalimbo Ipumbu said the ball was in the court of the movement to join the party or not.
“It’s to the leadership to express themselves to say come 2024 how are we going to react to the call, either to join Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters or either to throw their support to the party,” he said.
Amushelelo and Nauyoma were denied bail this week in a case in which they got arrested after they attempted to shut down the China mall in Windhoek in the name of the red party.
That Nauyoma has been part of the NEFF activities alongside Amushelelo leading to their arrest and detention raised eye-brows.
Speculation has been rife on the possibility that the long-time activist co-AR founder had jumped ship for the political party ahead of presidential elections come 2024.
Amushelelo has also been a long time AR sympathizer.
Social media opinion writer, Lee Garises, also queried whether Nauyoma was ditching the AR for the NEFF on a 23rd of April post where she posted, “I just saw Dimbulukeni Nauyoma of AR passing the mic to a journalist at the NEFF Namibia press conference. So, he really left AR for these guys?”
Responding to the post, one social media user, Ndeshimona Samuel said, “AR is not a political party, I think. For political needs they are all free to join any political party of their choice while still members of AR.”
Tangi Jr Amakali also said, “Having listened and lived with few AR members, all of them belonged to different political parties and the founding members were SWAPO members. These teams (AR, NEFF, IPC and POWER) have been together. They’ve been exchanged even during campaigns in support of each other. My comment is to say, it’s not new. Whether he left, that’s not what I mean.”
For the first time, Ipumbu addressed Nauyoma, not as commissar within the party, but an AR member, at a Saturday press conference held soon after his detention.
In spite of that, Nauyoma has been seen wearing the party’s signature red beret although it is unclear on whether he is a signed-up member yet.
Several activists from the movement like Eliphas Nghitomoka, who continues to handle the NEFF social media, have rallied behind the red berets.
Amunume took to social media where he said, “Any one waging a war against the oppression of our people must be supported.”
Eagle FM has also established that the spokesperson was not the one who had authored the statement calling for the AR to steer clear of the NEFF demo, although individuals could attend in their capacity.
What is presently clear however is that Amupanda is at pains to avoid his movement from being swallowed into the program of another political outfit, such as the NEFF.
However, he was able to shake hands with Ipumbu recently at the Katutura Magistrates’ court, possibly a message that there was no bad blood between the two.
Sources within the movement have however said that a meeting had been called for to discuss several issues, and among them, a possible alliance with the NEFF.
Some strongly feel that a coalition would be best for the AR if it still has any hopes of landing in the National Assembly where youngsters like the Landless People’s Movement’s Utaara Mootu and PDM’s Inna Moongo are making their mark.
Amupanda could not pick his phone for this article when he was called six times, Friday morning.
Amunime also said he was entering an exam and could thus not talk.
However, ahead of the protest, he posted a picture of him, and the AR superstars, Nauyoma, Pau, Kambala and Amupanda with a caption reading, “All shall be well”.
The subliminal message created more questions as in whether things were not well in the movement.