Keetmanshoop-The Swapo leadership in the //Kharas Region says those planning to boycott President Hage Geingob’s rally scheduled for Keetmanshoop this Saturday are not members of the ruling party and, as such, the event will go ahead.
The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) is hard at work mobilising and urging people to boycott the star rally set for Keetmanshoop’s J. Stephanus Stadium this weekend.
The rally is to be addressed by President Geingob, but the LPM have urged residents of the region and in particular of Keetmanshoop to shun the event, noting that Geingob has failed to give them an audience nor did he respond to the movement’s petition on ancestral land.
Attending the rally will be a total contradiction of residents’ demands made during the mass land meeting held at Keetmanshoop in February, the movement said.
Former lands deputy minister Bernadus Swartbooi, sacked by Geingob towards the end of last year, is among those leading the newly formed movement. Swartbooi represents Swapo as a backbencher in the National Assembly.
LPM executive committee member Paul Thomas, who is also an opposition politician, told New Era that the movement is not happy that Geingob wants to address residents of the //Kharas Region who are mostly Nama-speaking and who have lost land, after snubbing their request for an audience, and further failing to respond to their petition on the land issue.
LPM is advocating for the return of ancestral land to certain Namibian tribes, but President Geingob said while his government is committed to the fight for land it would not entertain the return of ancestral land to anyone.
Geingob is adamant that the Namibian constitution makes provision for all Namibians to live and farm anywhere in the country, hence the government’s strong position against ancestral land claims.
Swapo’s //Kharas regional coordinator Matheus Mumbala said he was not aware of any attempts to boycott Geingob’s rally, but noted that Namibia is a democratic country and people are free to do what they wish.
He was, however, quick to point out that those carrying out such actions are opposition elements with hidden motives, saying he does not believe Swapo members are part of the planned boycott.
“Those mobilising people are not Swapo members and if there is anyone who is doing that but is a Swapo member, they should immediately disqualify themselves as party members,” he stated.
Mumbala explained that the rally was organised by the Swapo regional office and has nothing to do with the land issue in particular. He said it is the government and not the party that deals with land issues, adding that Geingob will be addressing the rally in his capacity as Swapo president.
He then blasted the LPM for hiding their real reason for existence, saying the movement should not mislead people but come out of hiding and show its true colours as a political party.
“Has the LPM now become an opposition party? Because if you say people must not attend a Swapo rally then you are a political party,” he said.
Mumbala furthermore said that Swapo as a party has faced many and bigger problems in the past, and therefore come Saturday Swapo members will be in full attendance.
“Come to the stadium on the 11th of March and it will be full to capacity,” he told this reporter.