Leader of the Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) McHenry Venaani has labelled Swapo parliamentarians “cowards” after the ruling party MPs shot down a motion he wanted to table in parliament on Wednesday to discuss the unfolding political situation in neighbouring Zimbabwe.
“In the greatest act of cowardice and in a gross disregard of the plight of the people of Zimbabwe, the Swapo party in the National Assembly yesterday voted down a parliamentary motion I moved to discuss the precarious situation unfolding in Zimbabwe, even before the motion was motivated,” Venaani said while addressing journalists.
He said by voting down the motion on Zimbabwe, Swapo MPs chose to defend Zanu-PF rather than address the great injustices being perpetrated against the people of Zimbabwe. “Liberation movements choose to defend each other, rather than call out one another and defend fundamental human rights across the Southern African region,” he said.
He said whether Swapo decides to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe or not, the crisis will still persist. “Democracy is under threat in Zimbabwe, and instability in Zimbabwe will inevitably spill over to the whole SADC region, whether Swapo wants it or not,” said the leader of the official opposition.
He said the crisis in Zimbabwe is very concerning and is characterized by a number of complex issues. Firstly, he said, there is a deliberate attack on democratic processes in the country by those who do not want to lose power through democratic means. “This attack on democratic processes and institutions is established through a long network of patron-client relations, enabled through those who have access to political power over government, those who run the cohesive apparatus and coupled with a deep network of clients on the grassroots loyal to Zanu-PF,” he said. Venaani said one may even get the impression that the Zimbabwean government is holding a gun to the Namibian government’s head, or that the Namibian government is inherently reliant on Zimbabwe for something.
“The Republic of Namibia is founded upon the principles of democracy, the rule of law and the respect for human dignity. These core founding principles should inform the Namibian government as to how we engage issues of regional diplomacy,” Venaani said. In Zimbabwe, prominent journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume, president of the Transform Zimbabwe party, were arrested in July when they called for the removal of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party, alleging inefficiency in administration. They have been since been released. – firstname.lastname@example.org