Keetmanshoop-The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) in //Kharas Region has distanced itself from reports that the movement is instigating people not to attend Swapo’s star rally planned for next Saturday.
The rally will be held at the J. Stephanus Stadium at Keetmanshoop and is set to be addressed by President Hage Geingob in his capacity as Swapo Party president.
LPM executive committee member Paul Thomas in an article carried by New Era on Monday is on record saying the movement is urging people not to attend the rally.
Thomas, who has been active in opposition politics, indicated that doing so will be a total contradiction of residents’ views and land demands made during the mass land meeting, which was addressed by former deputy minister of land reform Bernadus Swartbooi at Keetmanshoop in February.
However, the LPM leadership in //Kharas has distanced itself from the boycott threats, indicating through a statement issued on Monday that it sees no need to instigate people to boycott the Swapo rally.
//Kharas LPM chairperson Marcelinus Isaacks said the movement does not and will not dictate to people whether or not they should attend political or any social gatherings, insisting the choice remains with individuals, adding that people are free to attend any gathering of their choice.
“The movement is not going to decide for anyone on whether to attend, or not to attend – we in fact urge them to attend if they wish to, so that must be clear,” he stated.
Asked whether the views of Thomas are not those of the movement but personal views, he refused to comment, saying the press statement issued by the movement is clear that the movement is not urging residents not to turn up for the rally.
“I will not comment what Thomas said, but it should be clear that we are not instigating anyone and the statement we sent you represents our views,” he said in reference to the press statement.
Another LPM member who wished to remain anonymous echoed the chairperson’s sentiments, saying the movement in the region is not in any way attempting to sabotage the Swapo rally.
She indicated that most members of the movement are Swapo members and thus it doesn’t make sense to urge people not to attend the rally.
“Some of us are Swapo members and want to attend that rally and LPM can’t tell us not to attend – when you do that then you are oppressing people and we can’t do that,” she said.
Asked whether the views of Thomas do not represent those of the movement she indicated she was in no position to comment, saying however that the region’s LPM leadership only came to know of the statement made by Thomas through the media.
“We didn’t even know that Paul had spoken to the media, we only saw it in the paper,” she said.
The group further rejected Swapo //Kharas regional coordinator Matheus Mumbala’s stance in the initial article that they are a political entity, indicating they are a civil movement fighting for a good cause.
“LPM is not a political party but a civil rights movement championing the good cause of ancestral land restitution and we therefore reject and condemn the false assertion of Mumbala, insofar as he tries to link LPM with a political party,” the movement said.
Thomas could not be reached for comment as his mobile was unreachable.