Super majority puts Swapo under immense pressure

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The ruling Swapo Party last week created another record by registering an emphatic win against its adversaries in the just-ended regional council and local authority elections.
It is a result that confirmed the growing popularity of the former liberation movement – and one that pushed the country’s opposition to the verge of extinction.

It was almost a repeat of last year’s Presidential and National Assembly elections in which Swapo and its candidate, Dr Hage Geingob, were declared record-breaking winners.
Of course the boo boys were at it again, including the dethroned former official opposition Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), which came out with laughable suggestions this week that the electronic voting machines (EVMs) were programmed to favour Swapo at the electoral booth.

Laughable because the party, despite making such bold allegations, could not produce an iota of evidence to back up its wild claims.

Truth is that Swapo cannot be blamed for how results came out. The ruling party appeals to the larger portion of the masses on the ground and the opposition must claim full blame for the status quo.

This is so because the opposition, in its totality, has not done enough to enhance its reputation in the eyes of the voting masses, nor has it done anything drastic to poke its way into the Swapo strongholds.
While victory is sweet for Swapo, it also brings with it an avalanche of challenges that the party would have to deal with for the next five or so years.

First, the will of the people and indeed their aspirations to see improvements in their daily life is an expectation that the ruling party would have to meet.
Swapo’s majority constitutes a solemn and overwhelming mandate to implement a programme of reconstruction, development and democratic transformation.

Democratic transformation would particularly be a daunting task, given the current heavily skewed political balances of power resultant from the elections of both last year and this year.
For example, it would be interesting to see what – in the interest of democracy – would happen at the National Council where the ruling party has the power to fill the entire chamber with its own councillors and exclude the opposition in totality.

Another challenge, as outlined by British High Commissioner Jo Lomas in a recent interview with New Era, is on consultation. Will an overwhelmingly powerful Swapo still seek alternative views from an opposition that is as good as non-existent on national issues?

Will leaders, who wield so much power, still feel obliged to consult the greater masses before critical decisions are made or would the leaders feel they have an absolute majority and therefore the blessings to do what they please without having to seek permission from anyone?

These are questions that the party need to ponder as it ushers its new councillors on a long journey of stimulating growth and fighting poverty as per the aims of President Hage Geingob and his lieutenants in government.
That said, it is very important that everyone respects the collective democratic will of Namibians who voted last Friday. To slam the outcome of that election is an act of questioning the free will of the people and that would be undemocratic.

If too much victory for Swapo is a threat to democracy as some claim, it is the opposition’s duty to rescue the country’s democracy by making sure that they pick themselves up, out of the ashes of shame they find themselves in. Swapo cannot, logically or constitutionally, cede the power given to it by Namibian voters. That in itself would be a betrayal.

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