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Eurocentric media houses versus SWAPO Party government
By Asser Ntinda

With the opposition parties in the country unable to mount any effective campaign against the SWAPO Party government, coupled with their failure to provide the electorate with plausible socio-economic alternatives matching those being offered by the SWAPO Party government, some Eurocentric media houses have jumped in to fill the void with a view to influencing the outcome of the November Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Some such journalistic greenhorns have even appointed and repackaged themselves as spokespersons of the "poor people," claiming that the "ignorant masses" have been let down by the SWAPO Party government, meaning that SWAPO Party's mandate to govern should not be "renewed" when elections come in November. So, the battle of ideas this time around will be between the SWAPO Party government versus such Eurocentric media houses. And it will be nasty - falsehoods, fabrications and twisted facts will be peddled around and brandished as "news" in the coming weeks and months.

The overall objective of such media houses is to overshadow the successes the SWAPO Party government has made since independence, with magnified "failures" on sensitive sectors such as health, education, housing, employment and poverty to whip up emotions in the run up to the elections. Government policies on these sectors and SWAPO Party leaders will certainly come under fire from such media houses, not because the government has not done much, but because such sectors are easy to use to whip up anti-government emotions.

At the end of the day, such media houses want to project the SWAPO Party government as "a failure," while presenting the people as "ignorant masses" for not having "voted wisely" in the past, warning the people of "dire consequences" if they "vote unwisely" again this time around. SWAPO Party leaders, from President HifikepunyePohamba downwards, will get the biggest share of these coordinated attacks. They will be perpetually paraded as "corrupt, uncaring, selfish, insensitive and unfit to govern."

Look at how plans to construct the new Parliament building have been extremely blown out of proportion and lopsidedly twisted to make them look as if such plans were actually only approved last year, amid rising unemployment, poverty and severe lack of facilities at hospitals and schools!Are such plans new? Certainly are not. They were approved in the early 1990s. One hibernator probably deliberately leaked such information as if it was a recent capital project! Again this is election fever.

Our hospitals are depicted as "slaughter houses" where "uncaring and insensitive"nurses willingly escort patients to their early graves through deliberate negligence!I am not saying that our health facilities are 100 percent perfect. They are not. Indeed, the SWAPO Party government has been the first to admit that there are serious challenges, which are being addressed. The point is that such challenges, however daunting they may be, have not transformed our hospitals into "slaughter houses."

The health sector is a hot one because once you instil fears in the people about the minimal chances of their survival when they go there, all hell breaks loose. It is even made worse when "unhealthy conditions" at our hospitals are presented as the main reasons why "government ministers" do not go there, meaning they fear for their lives!

The "Editor-for-Life" of The Namibian, Sissy Gwen Lister, has on numerous occasions attacked Cabinet ministers and other senior government officials as to why they do not get "treated" at public hospitals if such hospitals were "fine." Or why they do not "send" their children to public schools! Such questions are not just unfair, but they are preposterous in the extreme. Only a perverted mind can ask such questions. Conversely, and using her own logic in challenging ministers to do so, can Sissy Gwen pack up today to go and live in Havana informal settlement in Katutura?

Hiccups that came with the National Mass Housing Programme have also been selectively edited to present it as a "massive failure." The programme has not even been completed, for goodness sake! President Pohamba has already had his unfair "share of the blame," being presented as "corrupt" because he chairs the National Committee that oversees and coordinates the implementation of this project.

But the example being used to present him as "corrupt" is neither related to nor does it fall under the Mass Housing Programme. His daughter's tender is as far away from the Mass Housing Programme as the Sun is from Mars.It is a separate tender. But such information was deliberately edited out to present him as "corrupt and uncaring."

In the run up to the November Presidential and National Assembly Elections, The Namibian has promised to expose the "rots in the mass housing programme." This commitment was made on July 13, 2014, in The Namibian's editorial. It reads like this: "The Namibian will be publishing information over the next several months, and years, that will highlight the wastage of this mass housing legacy of outgoing President HifikepunyePohamba."

Because the mass housing programme will benefit thousands of Namibians and impact positively on their lives and their families, Sissy Gwen does not want this project to succeed. If she wants and she is honest, I challenge her to offer alternatives on how it should be implemented to succeed, rather than merely condemning it as "wastage." Any fool can do that. Or is she suffering from elections fever?

The remunerations for politicians and public office bearers is also one case in point. It became a hot issue in the media these days, not because it has been approved but because it has provided enough ammunition to punch the government, while presenting it is "uncaring and insensitive," thanks to the way the issue has been selectively edited and presented to the public. The first MP to react, and for obvious political reasons, was Rally for Democracy and Progress, RDP's President, HidipoHamutenya. His reaction did not surprise anybody, but Sissy Gwen jumped on Hidipo's reaction in one of her Political Perspectives recently, heaping praises on Hidipo as "the only MP who has spoken out against" such proposed remunerations. And she left it there. Your guess is as good as mine.

These media houses have put on political jackets to do what opposition parties have dismally failed to do and achieve - that is to mock, vilify, fight and project SWAPO Party as a failure. As such, they must be unmasked and faced ruthlessly. They should not hide behind press freedom when they are actually conducting harmful political sorties and skirmishes on a mass scale against SWAPO Party and its government.

They are now our established and avowed political opponents. From them, we seek no advice. To them, we give neither. Let the war begin. We will fight it to the end. And on our terms





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