Already before the COVID-19 crisis, nearly half of Namibia’s approximately 2.6 million people lived in poverty and unemployment. Meanwhile, gender-based violence, abuse of women and children, and widespread corruption thrives in the ranks of government by a powerful elite. Last year, Namibia was captured in a scandal that rocked our shores when former ministers and their cronies stole billions from FishCor — a state-owned enterprise in the fishing industry.
COVID-19 has crippled our already suffering economy and is costing thousands their jobs, adding to the already high unemployment rate. It was recently reported that approximately 200,000 children suffer from malnutrition in Namibia. Access to health facilities and medication is still a nightmare. Police brutality has claimed many lives pre-COVID-19, and one during the pandemic, but still, the inability of police to treat civilians with dignity violates the very rights they are supposed to protect. People have complained of physical and verbal abuse, yet the police refused to lay charges against the culprits within their ranks. Instead, police officers are protected, justified by the state of emergency. The education system has failed. Online education is unfortunately not accessible for many, as most cannot afford the internet — much less electricity or conducive environments for learning.
In the first phase of the lockdown, thousands if not millions were limited to their homes, without having the ability to take care of themselves and their families. Even though food and money have been donated, alleged theft and discrimination in aid distribution have been the order of the day. Planning and proper care have not been provided to the majority of those living in informal settlements, despite an N$8.1 billion stimulus package rolled out by the government. This itself has evaded critical questions as to how it will stimulate the economy and has failed as many still have not received aid in their respective constituencies. The lack of proper planning and organizing by the Government to feed its people has been a tremendous failure.
The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) aims to restore the dignity of the Namibian people through mobilization of the masses to stand up for their rights and root out corruption. Our objective is to create better living conditions. Having won four seats in last year's election, we are using the resources at our disposal to fight for the most vulnerable in our society.
On 16 April, LPM released the document “Beyond COVID-19,” detailing our economic, social, and political solutions for Namibia. It details post-COVID-19 policy to help the majority of Namibians. LPM struggles to penetrate the indoctrinated minds of the oppressed to promote democracy, the rule of law, and people’s power for fighting the evils of corruption and state capture.
All branches of government have already been co-opted, making it extremely difficult for high-ranking officials to see justice. We will be having our regional and local elections in November, but because of the state of emergency and lockdown regulations, we are unable to conduct campaigning and mass meetings to discuss our objectives and plans.
Nevertheless, we will strive to build power through these elections so that we can fulfill our manifesto obligations to the masses: to provide them access to land; to reform agriculture so that we can start producing our own food; and to restore social justice.