Presidential ‘hopefuls’ square off …Top four parties absent

Presidential ‘hopefuls’ square off …Top four parties absent
Presidential ‘hopefuls’ square off …Top four parties absent

Africa-Press – Namibia. Five political leaders took part in a presidential candidate discussion in Windhoek on Friday to promote the general robustness of democratic and political discourse as well as public participation and readiness ahead of the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections,.

The event, hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) in partnership with The Namibian, was aimed at providing a platform for constructive dialogue and

voter engagement as the nation prepares for the pivotal elections.

Natalie Russmann, resident representative of KAS, said the presidential debate allows young voters to hold candidates accountable for the promises they make before elections.

She raised concern about voter apathy in the country, emphasising that such discussions are crucial for creating awareness as elections draw near.

Topics discussed included high unemployment, housing issues, poverty eradication and problems with the health system.

Participants in the discussion included independent candidates Ally Angula and Rosa Namises. Henk Mudge represented the Republican Party, Muniuku Nguvauva represented the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), and Mabasen /Narib represented the United Democratic Front (UDF).


Namibia’s unemployment rate stands at 34%, and the youth unemployment rate at 48%. Namibia continues to rank as the second-most unequal country in the world, with a Gini index of 59.1, according to the World Bank.

The candidates were asked about strategies to alleviate this scourge. /Narib said the issue of high unemployment is attributed to a lack of new industries.

“If we don’t open factories and start to create our own products, we will not create jobs,” said the youthful politician.

He observed that the current market is not sufficient to absorb all the graduates which universities are producing.

Therefore, the UDF sees it as imperative to venture into industries such as sports, which they deem viable for generating revenue.

“The millions in revenue generated by those teams can employ doctors, accountants and others who maintain the facilities. We need to invest in untapped industries with potential,” he emphasised.

Adding to the discussion, Namises said Namibia can be rescued from unemployment by investing in creative and innovative industries. She noted that the country has abundant natural resources which need to be distributed to create jobs.

“We will use the skills that Namibians have and build those industries. Natural resources must be processed in factories, where Namibians can work. We must invest in building these factories and not only focus on white-collar jobs, but also on many other job types,” she added.

Namises gave the example of people who search through dustbins for items to sell, suggesting they could be given jobs to clean towns. Meanwhile, Mudge advocated for a new government as a solution to the unemployment issue. Without mincing words,he said the unemployment problem is a deliberate action by the government.

“There is no reason we cannot create employment. If we wisely spent money from resources and invested in job-creation, there should not be one person unemployed,” he reasoned. Although he is not running in the presidential contest, Mudge said if he were president, he would give Chinese nationals three months to leave the country, believing that foreign nationals are taking opportunities from locals. He continued that the best way to help Namibians is to oust the current government, and to form a coalition of opposition parties to win a majority in the National Assembly.

“The opposition cannot have its candidate become president if we have one Swapo presidential candidate and five to six opposition candidates. It will just divide the votes, and Swapo will win,” Mudge said.

He urged the opposition to unite and decide on a single representative to challenge Swapo. Like Mudge, RDP representative Nguvauva also criticised the current government.

His issue is with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), which he said is a tool of the ruling party to keep Namibians poor.

“Is the ECN structure responsive to what we as people want, or is it designed to place people in positions to advance certain advantages and benefits?” he questioned.

If the RDP is elected into power, Nguvauva said they will implement a system where representatives from specific areas will advocate their local interests.

He noted that many fundamental economic issues have been neglected in Namibia, contributing to the country’s current situation.

“We need to revisit the allocation of resources in this country,” he said.

On her part, Angula felt to eradicate poverty, people need immediate relief.

She ambitiously reiterated her plan to give a monthly handout of N$1 750 to people aged 18-59 for three years, whether they are working or not. Her other goal is to create a N$12 billion enterprise fund to support job creators.

“You cannot industrialise without money,” said Angula, highlighting her business sector experience.

“We need to create immediate jobs, and set ambitious targets to create 500 000 jobs in the next three years. We can achieve this by matching skills with job opportunities, particularly for VTC graduates. We have many buildings in this country —hospitals, clinics, police stations, schools — which have not been maintained since independence. Instead of building new ones, let our VTC graduates work on maintaining these buildings,” she continued.


Swapo, the Landless People’s Movement, Popular Democratic Movement, National Unity Democratic Organisation, Independent Patriots for Change and the Affirmative Repositioning movement did not attend the presidential candidates’ discussion.

While all parties were invited, the moderator of the discussion, Denver Kisting, said some declined the invitation, while others provided reasons for their absence.

Another discussion will be held in the coming months, giving all another chance to participate. Speaking at the same event, The Namibian’s editor Tangeni Amupadhi reproached the parties which didn’t attend, saying they had given lame excuses.

“If they were invited by people with deep pockets, they would have shown up,” he said.

Amupadhi added: “If they are too busy to share their plans, they are too busy to be accountable to ordinary people”.

He encouraged the public to register to vote. “The politicians and government leaders who didn’t turn up to this event, show them that you matter. You can’t be making promises if you are not available to be questioned about those promises,” he added.

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