The Dirty Game of Politics

By Lt Gen (Rtd) Denga Ndaitwah

IT is commonly known that politics is a dirty game. But despite that fact, politicians are dying to pursue that game, whatever the cost. I have been asking for myself some fundamental questions. Why is politics referred to as ‘a dirty game’, yet politicians love to pursue it? Does that mean there is no other clean alternative to pursue that political goal without taking and applying the dirty game?

There are some answers as to why politicians pursue that dirty game. That is because, “politics is a struggle for power”. It is a dirty game because it is always full of lies, characterised by general public misleading and misinformation. I do not need to explain what the concept of ‘a dirty game’ is all about as I am quite sure we are all aware of its meaning.

In my previous article, I mentioned that the Namibian nation will go to polls to cast their votes for Presidential and National Assembly (NA) elections come November. As that is about to happen, politicians will soon get out from their comfort zones to solicit political support from potential voters. By implication, that has already started.

Some political parties have already launched their political manifestos and the rest will follow suit soonest. We have witnessed a new phenomenon that could be termed as a demonstration for political power when Swapo Party kick-started with “Swapo Colour Day”.

PDM on its part has also jumpstarted its early-door-to-door political campaign by visiting a number of service stations in Windhoek to address petrol attendants and appeal for their support. Both Swapo Colour Day and early-door-to-door are unprecedented phenomenal political approaches.   

This article’s central aim is to scrutinise the combination of politics being a dirty game and a struggle for power. By so doing, I shall look into the possible areas of political interest and contradictions where political parties are likely to focus more.

It is presumed that Swapo Party will review its set goals and objectives that were outlined in its previous manifesto in order to establish its achievements and shortfalls. It shall further map out strategies and the way forward on how to achieve its future strategic and political goals and objectives for the next five years.

On the other hand, perhaps the opposition parties will also focus on what they perceive as Swapo Party’s failures and try to capitalise on those. Further, the opposition parties will also chart their political strategies and way forward as political weapons to enable them to garner electoral support.

It is during the release of parties’ political manifestos where political dirty games are likely to feature very prominently. As some political parties’ manifestos have been made public already, one can already sense and feel the manifestation of dirty games.

One of the clear manifestations of the dirty games illustrated by some political parties is that Swapo Party has failed the nation as far as development is concerned. Swapo Party is also being labelled as an elite party, which does not care about the electorate. Swapo Party is further labelled as a party where those in power are corrupt, serving only their self- enrichment.

In that context, there are repeatedly calls by opposition parties and on social media for a political change by voting Swapo Party out of power.

With reference to the above, despite the fact that the opposition parties have been vocal on the failures of Swapo Party, they have utterly failed to point out with undisputed evidence the areas where the Swapo-led government has failed the people as far as development is concerned. Instead, all that the opposition parties are able to come up with are fallacies without any proof.

I for one regard these fallacies by the opposition parties as unfounded and impossible to quantify. The best political practice is for the opposition parties to present in clear terms areas where Swapo Party has failed. In order for the opposition parties to substantiate their political agendas, it could be ideal for them to submit a list of names of corrupt Swapo Party individuals who are serving for their self-enrichment.

Failure to present and submit evidence to the general public will be a clear manifestation that the opposition parties have not run out of ideas, but rather they never had ideas to sell to the electorate to be able to vote them to power.

In reaction to all the above, there is no better word than to call those fallacies political dirty games by those who are struggling for power. If the opposition parties aim to score high, it is imperative that they become realistic in their political judgements. For obvious reasons, political misleading and misinforming will not pay positive dividends.

To be realistic in judgement, it is the best policy ideas that shall enable the opposition parties to chart their way forward and achieve their envisaged political goals. The political rhetoric that the Swapo-led government has failed to deliver services to the needy people with regard to development, is only worth telling to people who were born blind.

Development is best understood as an endless process that creates positive changes aimed at socio-economic development of the people. Development is referred to as an endless process because there is no time when development shall be declared over.

There are countries like the United States of America (USA), the only superpower, a country that has been independent for over 200 hundred years, yet that country has not stopped with its development. Notably, the USA is classified as a developed country, but because Americans fully understand the nature of development as an endless exercise, at no time did the Americans contemplate taking a developmental break.

To try to put the argument in its right perspective, I used to criss-cross this country. That helped me to understand whether the government is making some dents with regard to development. There are undeniable factors on which to measure the state of affairs as they were before independence and the ongoing state of affairs after independence.

Without quantifying the developmental achievements after independence, look at health services, primary, secondary and tertiary education, urban housing, rural electrification, rural potable water provision, roads and communication networks, to mention but a few. These areas are yardsticks on which to measure the level of development that we have achieved after independence.

As mentioned, development is a continuous process aimed at taking nations forward. However, I want to underscore here that it would be unimaginable and suicidal that at any time countries on this planet earth should declare that they intend to close the chapter of development. As politics is an endless game, so is development.

In a nutshell, it is prudent that the general public exercise their own minds and form their own judgement, instead of accepting all kind of political spoon-feeding. Political lies, misleading rhetoric and misinformation shall not pay any positive dividends.

* Lt Gen (Rtd) is a former Chief of the Defence Force, holder of Master’s Degree in Strategic Studies, HOD and senior lecturer at IUM. The views expressed here are his own.