LIVE: Six candidates running for the highest office in the land will now take part in a presidential candidate debate in the National Theatre of Namibia in Windhoek. It’s a full house and the Namibian will keep you tuned in through our Facebook live and tweets.

  • The presidential candidate debate is streaming live on our Facebook page. Follow the link: http://bit.ly/2rykyag
  • The candidates: RDP’s Mike Kavekotora, PDM’s McHenry Venaani, Nudo’s Esther Muinjangue, LPM’s Bernadus Swartbooi and Swanu’s Tangeni Iijambo. Independent candidate Panduleni Itula withdrew from the debate at the last minute.
  • “It’s time for change, for people to start feeling like they have dignity,” says Nudo’s Esther Muinjangue.
  • PDM’s McHenry Veenani takes the stand and says that those who are not here are politically arrogant.
  • McHenry Venaani says the economy is on its knees because there is an over-dependence on sub-revenue and we have been investing in areas that do not yield economic results.
  • He says Namibia needs a ‘minimum government with maximum governance’. The candidate says that government need not run businesses as that is not its job. Government can run strategic assets in the broader interests of the nation.
  • “Government business is nobody’s business,” PDM’s McHenry Venaani says, adding that everything government runs is run into the ground.
  • RDP’s Mike Kavekotora speaks on ‘Jobs for comrades’, referring to the government using the civil service to create jobs for their own people.
  • “Government of today does not have the political will to address the civil service,” Mike Kavekotora says. “We need to reduce the bill of the civil servant, gradually.”
  • LPM’s Bernadus Swartbooi says they will do an audit to establish the number of civil servants in the country.
  • He says debt is spiralling out of control because of a heavy wage bill.
  • A government should not opt for austerity, which risks undermining the poor, but also look at structural reform because there is a deep structural bottleneck.
  • Namibia has low labour productivity because it doesn’t have the necessary skills, as the youth get dumped.
  • “One can’t just start with growth, you have to start with reforms,” says Swartbooi.
  • Floor is opened to public questions. The audience asks why political parties don’t form coalitions as some of them are saying the same things. Another question is on views surrounding sexual and reproductive health, and the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Nudo candidate Esther Muinjangue – Namibia’s first female presidential candidate – says sexual reproductive health is a social issue that can’t be ignored. She says the youth must be educated as a lack of education results in young mothers and baby dumping.
  • She says this requires a change in mindset and a paradigm shift. Says there should be debates for communities. Nudo is open to dialogue as all these issues are human rights and the party advocates human rights.
  • Responding to the coalition suggestion, LPM candidate Bernadus Swartbooi says he is hopeful Namibian politics will one day get to this, but does not believe we are there yet as parties do not really share the same ideologies.
  • Responding to the LGBT+ question, Swanu’s Tangeni Iijambo says there cannot be discrimination around rights for anyone.
  • McHenry Venaani says there is an oversupply and underdemand when addressing housing and land issues.
  • Venaani says he will not pursue a policy of ‘airlifting Namibians’. Says we must improve transport, e.g. bus system, that is efficient and effective as the current system is not.
  • On training young people,Venaani proposes youth venture capital to lend money to young people without security, but under mentorship.
  • He also says the judicial system is very slow.
  • Addressing land issues, Swanu’s Tangeni Iijambo says landlessness is “rampant, pathetic and unacceptable”. Swanu was formed on the basis of “give the land back to the people”. He says this is what causes the drift of people trapped in homelands who then move into the city. He says his government will regulate land so each citizen has a piece of land and is not tempted to move to town.
  • He says, on training of youth: “Meritocracy” – don’t put people in the wrong place, don’t do ‘jobs for comrades’.
  • LPM’s Bernadus Swartbooi says he has a radical plan to bridge the gap in asset poverty by giving free land to first-time buyers.
  • “Your land issue will only be resolved under an LPM government,” he says.
  • The LPM will also make a massive investment in rail infrastructure, he says.
  • On unemployment, women and the youth, Nudo’s candidate, Esther Muinjangue, says people – the youth especially –should be encouraged to explore small and medium enterprises.
  • The civil service is bloated, so these groups should get more involved in self-help and income-generating activities.
  • Venaani says affordable education is key. Science and tech should become focal areas as the country mines, but does not have value addition on commodities. Value addition can create jobs.
  • Venaani say he will pursue a goal of ‘one constituency, one factory’.
  • CLOSING STATEMENTS:
    Mike Kavekotora (RDP): The difference between a country’s failure and success is leadership and understanding. “Understanding is an issue of, what do you know and how do you understand your role as a leader. Namibia had leaders, but Namibia did not have leaders with the right understanding. So I think it’s time for this paradigm shift.”

    McHenry Venaani (PDM) says it is a matter of governance that every Namibian has access to education and healthcare. “I am going to serve you, I am capable and I am tested.”

    Esther Muinjangue (Nudo) says she wants to restore the dignity of Namibians. “We’re saying it’s time for change, for alternative politics and to know that leaders are not above, but they become the servants. I believe in participatory development. I want to hear from the people and deliver to them.”

    Bernadus Swartbooi (LPM) says we need to chart a new path, as we deserve better. He will serve with honesty and integrity.

    Tangeni Iijambo (Swanu) echoes Charles Darwin’s words that it is not the strongest or richest that flourish, but those who are receptive to change. He calls on Namibians to be part of necessary change.

Share this