KHORIXAS - African countries are ruled by old men and women who do not want to give equal opportunities to youths, says Landless People’s Movement (LPM) leader Bernadus Swartbooi.
“Africa is ruled by old men and women who do not want to give equal opportunities to youths. You sleep on a bed of N$120 000 bed; eat nuts, biltong and other nice food while your children are hungry with a running nose. How do you expect to be respected?” remarked Swartbooi, a former governor and deputy minister in the Swapo-led government who was relieved of the latter position after clashing with President Hage Geingob in 2017.
He claims the country has gone backwards under the Swapo rule, for which he was part, first as governor from 2010 to 2015 and as deputy lands minister between 2015 and 2017.
He was previously a firebrand spokesperson of the ruling party Swapo’s youth wing, SPYL.
“During white rule years (Apartheid) there was no bankruptcy, no gender-based violence and corruption was not high but today’s government has talent to steal money,” he said.
He took a swipe at President Geingob, saying: “What bold measures did Geingob take? Which houses did he built? He says the land conference was successful but which success?”
Swartbooi said that during apartheid until 1990, there were only 14000 shacks in Namibia but during the past 28 years a lot more shacks sprung up.
Development experts often associate the escalation of informal settlements in Namibia with urban migration, which became rife after freedom of movement was gained at independence.
“Namibia is completely bankrupt,” thundered Swartbooi.
The LPM leader also told the gathering of about 40 people at Ma /Oa Hall that handing out food rations by government is admission by the country’s leadership that the agricultural policy failed.
“They are creating dependency by not investing in people,” Swartbooi opined.
Like he did last week, Swartbooi took a swipe at fellow opposition party UDF, whose leader he charged was a huge fan of President Geingob.
He said the party, for which Khorixas is its traditional stronghold, does not speak up on issues affecting people.
“Did you (UDF) mobilise people? Did you report the Swapo government to International Criminal Court for homelessness?”.
“The UDF leadership, excluding vice-president Dudu Murorua, is just praise-singing for Hage. He (party president Apius Auxab) loves Hage. “Murorua is trying to speak up although he is oppressed by Auxab.”
Swartbooi also hit out at UDF Secretary-General Hage Gawaseb, saying: “The CoD cross over to UDF is just there to defend Geingob as the secretary-general. Even if Hage (Geingob) is from your tribe, we must talk about the system that pains the youth.”
Swartbooi labelled UDF and Swapo as ‘old people’s organisations’.
Swartbooi also took a swipe at official opposition party PDM, which he accused of only focusing only on providing female pupils menstruation pads.
Swartbooi, LPM’s deputy leader Henny Seibeb, national executive council member Ivan Skrywer and national spokesperson Utaara Mootu were visiting Khorixas and Kamanjab to set up working committees to start mobilisation activities ahead of this year’s national elections.
The LPM leadership, together with local members, did house-to-house campaigns at the two localities. Some UDF and Swapo members chased LPM leaders and their supporters away.
Over 100 people in Kamanjab’s Kap and Bou informal settlement attended the party’s meeting at the settlement.