Tjekupe Maximalliant Katjimune
On 25 November 2020, Namibians from all walks of life headed to the polls to vote for our regional and local authority councillors. Needless to say, Namibians delivered a strong message to those who have held excessive state power for the past 30 years, in particular to the ruling Swapo party. The message is loud and unequivocal: Namibians will no longer tolerate mediocre governance that undermines the very reason why independence was fought for. Namibians will no longer subject themselves to a government and leadership that undermine the plight of the ordinary people on the ground, and Namibians will use democratic means at their disposal to remove any government that undermines the basic tenets of good governance. In short, Namibian democracy won.
All Namibians, irrespective of political affiliation, have to appreciate and honour the commendable manner in which our democracy is developing and maturing. As students of political science, we know too well the complex challenges that impact many African countries post-independence in terms of democratisation. The project of democratisation has not been a particularly smooth one when it comes to African countries. Hence, we should be all be happy that Namibian democracy is maturing well, and people are able to express their political voice without fear of repression or victimisation from those with access to the coercive apparatus of the state.
Now, the torch is with us to make sure that we preserve and protect this modern democratic dispensation that we are developing and nurturing. Losing power must never be viewed as a threat to the incumbent. It must also never be viewed as a sign of anti-revolutionary or anti-developmental forces ganging up against the incumbent as has been said by the Swapo party top brass during the run-up to these elections. Rather, losing power should be viewed as a representation of the true nature and tenet of the democratic society within which Namibian society is built upon. Losing power should be viewed as the purest form of the frustration of the people, and their coming to understand that power is not static and state bound, but that it fluctuates and is ultimately vested with the people.
It is therefore imperative that the party that loses power reflects upon itself, and critically question whether it is still indeed the right party to lead the masses of our people. Times and agendas transform, and parties that do not redefine and correct themselves will soon see themselves being part of the political dustbins. That is exactly what is happening to Swapo party. The Swapo party simply got too comfortable, and started viewing elections as an ordinary exercise through which they were ‘entitled’ to the vote of the Namibian people. The competitive nature of democracies such as ours dictate that parties in government must never take the people for granted.
Going forward, let us continue being the custodian of Namibian democracy, and protect it at all costs, even if it has to be with our very lives. Our modern democratic dispensation did not come easily, and it is therefore incumbent upon us that we do not take the duty of protecting our democracy lightly. To the newly elected regional and local authority councillors, the task now lies with you to ensure that you do not disappoint the masses who put you into those positions of power. After five years, the Namibian people will once again head to the polls, and express their judgement on your performance. That is after all the only manner through which Namibian democracy wins!!!
*Tjekupe Maximalliant Katjimune is the national spokesperson of PDM Youth League, and a final year Bachelor of Arts (Hons) (Political Studies and Sociology) student at the University of Namibia (Unam).