NEWS COMMENTARY RADIO KWARA, ILORIN
DATE: 16TH OCTOBER, 1989
TITLE: On The Outcome Of The Namibian Election.
WRITER: LANRE KAWU.
As was widely predicted, the Namibian Liberation Movement, SWAPO, gained the majority of seats in the elections into the constituent Assembly, that would prepare a new constitution for an independent Namibia. SWAPO won 41 of the 72 Seats in the assembly, but without gaining the absolute majority it required to write an own constitution.
The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), an amalgam of puppet Bantustan, and chiefly tribal-based outfits, came in second, while the relatively young United Democratic Front, came in third. This polarization of forces, should certainly make the Namibian Constituent Assembly an interesting chamber of debate.
Many analysts wondered why SWAPO was unable to win the absolute majority expected, and infact was trailing behind the DTA, until the votes in Ovamboland definitively gave the victory to SWAPO. What came out clearly, was that the internal wing of SWAPO, was unable to do enough political work in the population, especially in areas of working class concentration, such as Swaköpmund. This affected the outing of the liberation movement.
It is a peculiar colouring of the Namibian struggle that the war was fought so fiercely in the North, in Ovamboland, where the South African counter-insurgency unit KOERVOET, sowed destruction, despair, and deaths. That was the basis for the formation of the high level of political consciousness in the area.
The National liberation movement similarly lost some votes, in the wake of accusations over the treatment of detainees in the camps of Angola and Zambia, who were accused of being agents of South Africa, and had reported that they were tortured by SWAPO. In a country with a population of only one million people, rumours had a devasting effect on the fortunes of SWAPO, and explained the swing to the United Democratic Front.
But when all is said and done, the issue at stake in Namibia was not how much votes SWAPO won, but the fact that the Namibia people decisively rejected apartheid and the iniquities of colonialism, asTheo-Ben Gurirab , the SWAPO foreign Secretary said in a post- election interview.
In a past-election press conference Sam Nujoma said that the SWAPO government was going to extend a hand of fellowship to the white community, the business circles and pledged to build and mixed-economy.
The war in Namibia, was fought for the dignity of the African peoples, and was within the ambit of the democratic culture, that has inspired the peoples in all continents during the twentieth century. It was a graphic Illustration of the fact, that the will of the people can always triumph over guns and bombs.
As Namibia joins the international community as a potentially-rich independent nation, which made so much sacrifice to win its liberties, we salute its heroic people and their Vanguard organization SWAPO. But independence must also mean the fruition of the long-cherished hopes of the people for peace, freedom and social justice.