Omuthiya Not Kenya

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Kuvee Kangueehi

I HAVE spent four days and three nights in Omuthiya. I attended both the Swapo Party and Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), public rallies on Saturday and Sunday respectively.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I spent the entire two days moving around at the recently declared town looking at the newly built infrastructure, such as the regional council office and the office of the local authority councillors, who were expected to be elected today.

During my extended lunch hours and afternoons I would spend my time visiting the informal markets and the tens of shebeens, mingling with the residents of the town that has been the focal point for the last four weeks.

Asking them about the violence at the town, the residents are puzzled at what I am talking about.

And despite all the media reports and talk shows about the violence at Omuthiya, we at Omuthiya are still waiting to see. Nobody has seen a single person with a bloody face from political violence. Not a single person has fled their homes because of any political violence. Nobody has seen the police trying to break up a fight at the town.

In fact, people are going around their daily duties selling at informal markets. Children are attending school, some people rearing their animals while others spend the day sipping the warm beer. In fact, what puzzles me is how some of my colleagues who are sitting in their air-conditioned newsrooms and swinging on their armchairs are writing about violence. Of course, the election fever is high in Omuthiya and other northern parts of Namibia but I do not think it can be called political violence.

The RDP is alive and vibrant in the North, but this has also awakened the giant in Swapo. People over the weekend were dressed in their political colours and Swapo flags have not been hoisted at any shebeens or cars. And this does not translate into political violence. If someone says that the elections at Omuthiya have been marred by violence it will be a blatant lie.

One wonders why people are painting a picture, which does not exist. Is it to prepare a soft landing if one or other party does gain the expected votes, or is it simply to enter the CNN Media Awards? Peace might be boring to some people and could provide an anti-climax to a story, but sometimes it is the reality. This is no way that one can hide violence as well.

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