Northern businessman Josua Haimbodi has defended campaigning for Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah at a funeral in northern Namibia on Sunday.
He said those who are unhappy with his comments are supporters of opposition parties.
Haimbodi said it is relevant to campaign at a funeral because death brings people together and mourners get the message.
“We were mourning a comrade and no one will prevent us from campaigning for Swapo at funerals,” he said.
The funeral took place at Onandjaba in the Omusati region.
Haimbodi, known as ‘Emirates’, was one of the speakers at the funeral for his maternal cousin Lahya Haihambo (50).
According to one of the people who attended the funeral, Haimbodi was called to deliver a message of condolence on behalf of the family.
In a livestream, speaking near a casket in a tent, Haimbodi told mourners to vote for Swapo and Nandi-Ndaitwah in next year’s general elections.
“Next year is a historical year for Namibia. We are expected to vote for the first Swapo female president. Young people, please listen to me, I want you to vote for Swapo. Swapo of Namibia is the only party that can keep the country at peace,” he said.
While Haimbodi was speaking, some people in the audience protested by saying “no”.
After Haimbodi spoke, the director of ceremonies took the stage and said people are not in a political rally, they are mourning.
His decision to use a funeral to campaign for Swapo has been slammed by some members of the public, who say this is an opportunistic tactic.
However, Haimbodi told The Namibian yesterday that he did nothing wrong.
“My cousin was a politician and I needed to campaign for Swapo and its presidential candidate, because that is the Swapo culture. I will not stop doing it. I am an educated person with a diploma in political science. Swapo is still relevant and will rule for another 33 years,” he said.
Political analyst Rui Tyitende said Haimbodi’s utterances are a classic display of political theatre to illustrate to Nandi-Ndaitwah that he (Haimbodi) should not be forgotten as a businessman, should Nandi-Ndaitwah ascend to the Presidency.
He added that business people have the propensity to support politicians if they believe they will benefit materially from such a relationship.
“It is more often than not a relationship based on reciprocity. At times, proximity to power deludes some into believing they wield it,” he said.
Tyitende said Haimbodi’s comments should be seen as a blatant act of political opportunism.