Angelina Immanuel who is running as an independent candidate in the Ondangwa Urban by-election scheduled for June 15 has made a case for the abolishment of the country’s political party system which she says has not worked in the last 29 years.
In her promise to the residents of Ondangwa, Immanuel argues that the current political party system has brought about corruption, maladministration, incompetence, weak leadership and sluggish development patterns.
She says the system has led to a situation where individual weaknesses, failures and capabilities are not assessed by the electorate who are told to vote for candidates just because they belong to a certain political party.
“The candidates that come from these political parties and eventually win are thus not loyal to the residents and only listen to the instructions and wishes of those running political parties in Windhoek. The residents and citizens’ concerns, no matter the amount of protests or complaints they make, are not listened to unless people in Windhoek say so.”
Immanuel says under the current political party system, citizens and residents are psychologically manipulated to make excuses for an incompetent, corrupt and lazy leader.
“As such, candidates from political parties are hardly held accountable. Leaders voted through the political party system thus develop extraordinary arrogance because they know they can hide behind political parties. What then suffers is development and service delivery,” she says, adding that the current problems in Ondangwa Urban can also be attributed to the political party system.
Quoting statistics from the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), Immanuel says more than 60 percent of the region’s inhabitants are young people under the age of 35, but this is not reflected in the leadership of the region and constituency.
“There is no single councillor under the age of 35 in Oshana region,” she says.
She adds that despite women dominating the population in the Oshana region, there are few of them in leadership positions both at regional and constituency level.
“Women are 96,559 while men are 80,115. In our constituency, women are 19,744 while men are 17,102. Despite these statistics, 99 percent of councillors in the Oshana Regional Council are men with only one female councillor out of the 11 constituencies in the region.”
Immanuel says there has never been a deliberate effort to empower women and the youth who are in the majority.
“Students are studying outside the constituency because the constituency does not have noteworthy institutions of higher learning. Ondangwa is without a hospital and the health situation has deteriorated. Ondangwa is without a library and hence the low performances of leaners in national examinations.
“There is arguably no constituency that has disillusioned and hopeless youth than Ondangwa Urban. It is for this reason that a greater majority of our youth are sinking in alcohol and drugs. Unlike Oshakati that has youth centres and sport stadiums, Ondangwa has no youth, sports and recreational facilities.”
She says blame should also be apportioned to the citizens of this country who have never voted or stood as independent candidates in elections.
“The reason it [independent candidate] was put in our constitution and our electoral laws is because the founders of our constitution and lawmakers knew that there would come a time when political parties would be turned into instruments of oppression of the people.
“The time has now come for us to consider the second option that was deliberately placed in our constitution and electoral laws. This is the option of an independent candidate.”
She says an independent candidate has no political party to hide behind when the masses want answers.
“There will be no one from Windhoek who will be writing and telling an independent councillor what she/he must do. An independent councillor for Ondangwa Urban will only be accountable to the people of Ondangwa Urban and not to some individuals in far away offices in Windhoek.”