Opposition coalition’s focus too narrow


The coalition of five opposition political parties, announced last weekend, seems to be a continuation of the long tradition of joining hands, not to lift Namibia out of poverty and other challenges, but to break Swapo’s back.
The joint statement issued by the parties was premised on fears of Namibia becoming a one-party state, with barely any mention of bread and butter issues affecting the nation today as a focal point for its existence.

It has long been argued that the opposition’s deeply-seated obsession with Swapo has shifted its focus from real socio-economic issues and the attempt to present themselves as alternative governing parties.
In this time and age, voters have become so enlightened that they cast their votes on the basis of issues and ideologies and not party colours, slogans and symbols.

If this were the basis why voters will queue up on November 27, it is difficult to see how anyone would vote for the reasons cited by the coalition.

For starters, these parties are a conglomeration of varying ideologies and it is difficult to see how these philosophies would be harmonised into one for the benefit of society.

Already this week, we saw NDP leader Martin Lukato whining about what he termed selfishness from some parties in the coalition in sharing their resources with smaller parties like his.

Lukato predicted a breakdown of the coalition, something that he tasted not so long ago when he and Josie Kauandenge’s political marriage hit rock bottom.

The basis of this coalition confirms exactly what is wrong with our opposition. There is hardly any ideological perseverance in opposition ranks and this makes it very difficult for voters to make informed decisions on who to vote for.

A glaring example is with regard to Lukato’s views on Zambezi Region – and whether it belongs to Namibia or, as per the illusions of a few dissidents, not.

There are, however, some in the coalition who would not entertain a debate like that because they believe that indeed the region is part and parcel of this country.

With such a sharp contrast on critical issues like this, how do we expect this group to succeed at the electoral booth?
The fragmentation of views, ideologies and principles within this coalition is pretty obvious. The only glue binding this marriage together is the common hatred for Swapo that the parties seemingly share.

Namibia needs a robust opposition, which articulates issues, proposes interventions and gives those in power good food for thought on critical topics of national development.

After all, the reason why Swapo cruises to easy victories is because the party’s focus is often not on personalities or competitors and because voters often have no alternatives.

For it to be taken seriously, the coalition must therefore expand on the reason for its existence.
The current theme for its being is flimsy and an insult to the intelligence of the voters who are on the lookout for solutions to all that bedevils this country today.

Failure to do so would see another walk in the park for the ruling party, which would be a huge setback for the coalition and its architects.


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