Monday, July 7, 2014

Namibia: Opposition party delays election campaigns to save cash

Limited resources have been blamed for the apparent lack of spark ahead of this year’s general election, with the opposition particularly treading carefully not to exhaust their cash reserves before November. While the nation waits for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to propose possible election dates to President Hifikepunye Pohamba, political parties are biding their time before kicking their campaigns into gear.

“You cannot go out too early before the elections, because you will deplete your resources when elections come,” said DTA president McHenry Venaani. However, he added that DTA has already started making their presence felt in the regions. “I have just finished a tour in the regions, I was in the Zambezi and both Kavango regions and other villages, where I visited hospitals and poverty-stricken areas, but the media has not been doing enough in covering me,” Venaani said. He was of the opinion that only Swapo and his party have started their campaigns and that all other opposition parties are “sleeping”. Nudo secretary-general Meundju Jahanika said although the party has started to campaign, he admitted that it was at slow pace. “As soon as we finish up with our manifesto we will go in full-force, maybe in June, but usually campaigning starts from September, October or November,” said Jahanika.

“It is also an issue of finances. If you start earlier it might be that when September comes you have used up all resources. That is why we say government must start giving campaign money to all parties represented in parliament, like it happens in other countries,” he added. Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) spokesperson Jeremiah Nambinga said his party was sorting out its election manifesto before kicking-off its campaign. “Normally when you launch your election campaign you must have everything in place. We are putting our house in order,” Nambinga explained. “There is nowhere that you can campaign all the way up to the elections in November. It is still early and I am sure the other parties have not started yet.” ECN Director of Operations Theo Mujoro said he was not surprised by the slow pace of campaigns, as this was standard practice around this time.

“We are aware that it is too early and most political parties have budgetary concerns, and it is not advisable for them to launch a full election campaign eight months ahead of elections,” Mujoro suggested. “We just had a major electoral exercise, the general voters’ registration, and political parties were very much involved in the exercise. “We are now inspecting the provisional voters’ roll, but the election programme has started. I know political parties have started doing their campaigns. I am not surprised by the low-key campaigns.” Mujoro added that political parties campaign in different ways, some publicly, while some do so away from the public’s eye.

Source: Namibian Sun

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