New Councillors must clean the mess of their predecessors

THE run-in to the regional and local authority elections that has seen political parties spew manifesto promises to the electorate must translate into real output rather than political propaganda after prospective candidates are voted into public office.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed how councillors particularly from minority parties, who upon being installed into positions of influence in councils, have performed a regressive function, causing chaos and making the very same councils they would have been entrusted with, ungovernable.

We would all recall how the Windhoek council had endless squabbles with its former CEO, Robert Kahimise which subsequently resulted in his departure to Cenored in recent months. This is just but one of many examples where councillors have not adhered to their call of duty and instead of dealing with the progressive elements within councils they spend most of the time in showing each other political muscle.

With an influx of new entrants into the political arena in next week’s elections, the electorate needs to vote into power those who have the capacity and perhaps the experience to deliver manifesto promises. This should be done in hindsight of the need to reposition Namibia and our councils toward a recovery path after they were adversely affected by Covid-19 as well as an acute reduction in economic activity.

While manifestos may not constitute a legal agreement, we must be fully aware that it is a moral contract and for this, it is time that political outfits present them with the intent to uphold most of the promises.

Political parties, like individuals generally, should never promise something they cannot be sure they will be in a position to deliver. We particularly noticed this with new entrants in the political scene who have showcased ambitious manifestos without the experience required to make better choices for a brighter tomorrow.

We find it encouraging that the Swapo party, which is likely to be the trusted choice by many for continuity, has refreshed its line-up of candidates, infusing the old guard as well shades of a vibrant youth. This will ensure that the wrongs of the past will be catered for and a progressive new set of cadres can take councils where they belong.

There are recurrent themes of addressing economic growth for job creation, of increasing education and skills development, addressing unemployment, inequality and poverty, and working to create a better life for all in the Swapo’s manifesto. It is time that these themes are met with strong emphasis on the need to combat corruption at all councils.

With the party seemingly the only one that is better positioned to deliver election promises, there is need for all its candidates to go into the elections with intent to deliver on basic services for all. Councillors make the base of a grassroots political structure that deals directly with the electorate and this structure is crucial for renewal of the party that has faced its most challenging time in the most recent elections.