‘They are not serious’

. . . Major parties rapped for snubbing presidential debate

Major political parties which snubbed the presidential debate hosted by Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) in Windhoek on Thursday have been rapped for “failing to respect the electorate”.

Political commentators say presidential candidates who skipped the presidential debate do not see the importance of levelling with Namibians in an open and transparent manner.

The parties not participating in last week’s debate included Swapo, the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) and the Landless People’s Movement (LPM).

The Republican Party (RP), Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), United Democratic Front (UDF) and independent candidates Ally Angula and Rosa Namises did, however, take part in the discussion.

Joseph Diescho


Political commentator Joseph Diescho says: “It is a pity that the heavy lifters were not on the stage to show their muscle.

“If I were a member of the youth, I would have walked away disappointed by the low quality of the debate and would have been angry that leaders seem not to take the voters seriously by telling us what our choices are.”

He says the youth vote will determine who wins this year’s elections.

“Those parties with energy and a message for the future stand a better chance compared to those who sing their own praises and point to past glories . . . The youth understand that corruption and mismanagement are serious matters,” he says.

Diescho says the country’s politicians are not interested in issues or governing Namibia differently or better, but in personal power.

He says the way Thursday’s discussion was structured made it impossible to truly address the issues the nation is faced with.

Ben Mulongeni


Meanwhile, political analyst Ben Mulongeni says the absence of bigger political parties at the debate could be because they are confident in their current strongholds.

“They would probably say they’ve gotten where they are through other means. We have seen Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah visiting all the regions. Panduleni Itula, on the other hand, is doing his house-to-house campaigns,” he says.

Mulongeni says parties still believe in the traditional way of campaigning, such as holding rallies at stadiums, forgetting to draw the attention of first-time voters.

He says the quality of Thursday’s debate did not meet his expectations as most candidates did not provide their ideologies and how they would address pressing national issues.

“The candidates should have taken advantage of the presence of young people and told them how they plan to capitalise on the oil and green hydrogen discoveries,” he says.

“You cannot unite parties because of common hatred,” he says.

Ally Angula and Rosa Namises


During the candidates’ discussion, youth unemployment, poverty and inequality were major concerns for many young people.

They pressed the candidates for practical solutions if elected. Rosa Namises, an independent candidate, proposed establishing factories to exploit Namibia’s abundant natural resources as a solution to unemployment.

She advocated a focus on both white-collar professions and skilled jobs.

Independent candidate Ally Angula said she aims to create 500 000 jobs within the next three years.

She said under her government, she would provide immediate relief to all unemployed Namibians, as well as students, in the form of a monthly financial relief of N$1 750.

Cecil Nguvauva, representing the RDP, said fundamentally and economically the country doesn’t have strong structures in place to hold leaders accountable for the promises they make.

“The education system for example. It teaches us to read and write, but does it really teach us how to run our businesses?” Nguvauva asked. He said some of the key issues for his party is the interest of Namibians in the country’s natural resources.

Henk Mudge

UDF spokesperson Mabasen /Narib lamented Namibia’s ongoing struggle with unemployment, 34 years after gaining independence.

He attributed the high unemployment rate to the lack of new industries and the country’s overdependence on existing ones. “It is already proven that what the current market provides is not enough to absorb all graduates,” /Narib said.

Republican Party president Henk Mudge said the greatest gift for Namibians would be a new government.

He said the country has been looted by the current government and foreigners.

Mudge said if he became president, many sectors would be put under the control of Namibians.


KAS resident representative Natalie Russman says a similar debate would take place closer to the elections.

“Particularly, in view of the undecided voters and first-time voters, this event will assist them to form their decision best.”

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