Namibian opposition parties are looking at the feasibility of forming a coalition model to contest the 2019 National Assembly and Presidential Elections and the 2020 Local Authority and Regional Council Elections.
This information is contained in a joint statement released by three opposition parties currently visiting Nairobi, Kenya to study the coalition model in that country. The parties include the official opposition DTA of Namibia, National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) and United Democratic Front (UDF).
Those in the delegation include DTA president McHenry Venaani, NUDO president Asser Mbai and secretary general Vetaruhe Kandorozu, as well as UDF president Apius Auchab and vice-president Dudu Mororua.
During their visit on Tuesday, they met with former Kenyan prime minister and opposition leader Raila Odinga, as well as co-principal of the Coalition for Reform and Democracy (CORD) Moses Watengula and their respective delegations.
According to the statement the aim of the visit was to study the coalition model in Kenya and how the opposition can potentially replicate a similar model back home.
“Discussions centred around the current electoral impediments and reform experience by various African countries and parties and in particular Kenya and the current riots happening in that country,” read the statement.
“We further cemented party to party cooperation and cross-fertilisation between our two people and countries,” it further reads.
The parties urged their members to remain calm and vigilant and to await their parties’ respective leadership for final announcements on the issue and the way forward. The team is expected to arrive in the country today.
Political and economic analyst Dr Hoze Riruako yesterday said the move towards coalition was a step in the right direction. “I’m very confident that coalition between opposition parties will work, especially if they are to learn from the likes of Kenya, where coalition has proven to have worked,” he said.
However, he said one obvious hurdle to surmount will be the question of who is to lead the coalition. He advises the parties to look for one person who will appeal to the public at large and also to look at the party with the most supporters to lead the coalition.
He said the one-dominant party situation has robbed the country of what he termed “the checks and balances” needed for a robust democracy.
Coalitions are not new to Namibian politics. Just last year Nudo, the Congress of Democrats (CoD), Republican Party (RP), National Democratic Party (NDP) and the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) formed what was then described as the biggest coalition ever in the country, but it soon floundered.
According to the opposition members who have been visiting Kenya, the discussion around a potential coalition aims to prevent Namibia from becoming a one-party State, given the sheer dominance of the ruling party.