By Engel Nawatiseb TSUMEB The Regional Councillor for the Onyaanya constituency in the Oshikoto Region, Henock Kankoshi, has cautioned Swapo Party members against resorting to backbiting and backstabbing during electioneering. The councillor said it is disheartening to see members opting for character assassination and infighting after being defeated through free and fair elections during inner party primaries. “If you didn’t win, this is not the end, next time you might win, but people will only elect you if you behave yourself as a leader who can lead them, but if you take it for revenge then you are digging your own grave and no one will elect you because you are not a leader.” He urged leaders not to become power hungry rulers and to respect party structures instead of bypassing them (structures) or even using the media to promote their personal agendas and power to rule. “I would like to use this opportunity to warn you the people of Onyaanya constituency to distance yourself from them in order for you not to be associated with these tendencies. Let us respect our leaders irrespective of their age and family backgrounds,” said Kankoshi. He made the remarks recently during the 16th independence anniversary gathering at Olambo Junior Primary School. At Tsumeb, a Member of Parliament, Jeremia Nambinga, told a 1500-strong crowd to jealously guard the gains of the struggle for independence of the country and also to be noted as active stakeholders as part of the economic development and empowerment of all citizens. He took issue with leaders whom he accused of promoting tribalism by influencing the masses negatively against each other. According to him, the promotion of the concept of smart partnership should be advocated at all costs to embrace each other’s contributions towards national development and progress. He also took issue with the visible absenteeism of leaders of opposition political parties at rallies being organized annually to mark the independence celebrations, accusing them of being unpatriotic. “Such are they when it is time to co-exist at levelled platforms, only to blame the ruling Swapo government of apparently lacking transparency,” he hit out. Nambinga urged the community to appreciate efforts made by his party and government by bringing about infrastructural development to rural parts, including the construction of roads, clinics, schools, and vocational as well as tertiary institutions of learning. “It is true that we have reliable partners across the globe, who are assisting our country in various respects but the time has now arrived that we take the lead in developing ourselves. We should accomplish the ideals for which Vision 2030 was initiated to ensure that we are counted amongst the most progressive countries in the world in the future. “The youth should become more involved in entrepreneurial activities and refrain from alcohol and drug abuse, the use of cannabis and other unsocial conducts.” Meanwhile, Kankoshi appealed to Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to attend Constituency Development Committee (CDC) meetings in order to plan and coordinate collectively and also to prepare and evaluate development proposals and plans of the Onyaanya constituency. He stressed that such bodies are responsible for the monitoring of the day-to-day emergency occurrences, including natural disasters such as floods, and man-made disasters such as veld fires that are prevalent in rural set-ups. “CDC is a very important body and if it is functional and all invited heads of various departments within the constituency are attending it, the issue of backbiting and backstabbing will be an issue of the past. This body is where we are constructively shaping the upliftment and development of our constituency.” Pointing to the good rainfall received in the region, Kankoshi cautioned that mosquitos and malaria outbreaks might be expected during the course of the year, “therefore we should make precautions and educate ourselves on the prevention measures because prevention is better than cure. Cuca shop owners should all also make sure that their environment around their cuca shops is clean.” Similar independence celebrations are scheduled to be held at Grootfontein and Otavi over the weekend.