The ruling party Swapo has dismissed criticism by the opposition leaders against its president Hage Geingob over racial slur against white people last weekend.
In a strongly-worded statement issued on Monday, Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa said criticism against Geingob’s racial remarks regarding the alleged declaration of war by white Namibians will “only be entertained by political opportunists”.
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) and Republican Party (RP) have criticised Geingob, who is also the head of State, for his alleged threat against white Namibians.
“We cannot receive lessons from political parties like the DTA/PDM that assisted with the oppression, injustice and denigration of black people in collusion with an illegal Apartheid government,” Shaningwa said.
“The Swapo party cannot receive lessons from Henk Mudge of the Republican Party, who, without any condemnation, spoke at length a few weeks ago in voice note about how white people should mobilise against the Swapo party.”
While launching the party’s campaign at the weekend in Windhoek, Geingob expressed his concern about white voters registering in big numbers and that they have seemingly declared war against the ruling party.
The Legal Assistance Center (LAC) noted that Geingob’s remarks violate the provision of the Racial Discrimination Prohibition Act 26 of 1991 which forbids any person from publicly using any language with intent to threaten or insult any person or group of persons on the ground that such persons belong to a particular racial group (section 11(1) (a).
“No person is above the law, including the President,” LAC director Tony Hancox said.
She said if Geingob wants to criticise voters who hold a particular point of view, he is welcome to do so – but he is not free to base that criticism on race.
“Every Namibian citizen has the constitutional right to participate in peaceful political activity intended to influence the composition and policies of the government, to form and join political parties and to participate in the conduct of public affairs – whether directly or through freely-chosen representatives,” she said.
Shaningwa claims there are detractors who were hoping “Swapo will enter the 2020 regional and local authority elections divided.”
“Our detractors were hoping that our party will field candidates without due regard for renewal in terms of youth,” she said.
The official opposition, PDM, on Monday filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against Geingob for his alleged intimidation and victimisation of white Namibians.
In filing the complaint, the party’s vice-president, Jennifer van Den Heever, stressed “PDM will never allow any section of Namibians to be victimised.”