Newspaper: SWAPO Opponents Colluding To Capture Elections
WINDHOEK, Namibia (AP) _ Politicians, security officials and the man who will supervise elections met last fall to coordinate strategies to defeat the SWAPO guerrilla movement at the polls this November, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, South African President P.W. Botha said his country would not hesitate to launch raids against an independent Namibia if guerrilla attacks were staged from the territory South Africa has ruled for 74 years.
The Namibian newspaper, which supports the South West African People’s Organization guerrillas, said the secret meeting of the now-defunct National Security Council raises questions whether ″free and fair″ elections can be held in November as scheduled under a U.N. independence plan for the territory.
The Sept. 7 talks included Cabinet members of Namibia’s interim government, the heads of the territorial army and the police, as well as Andries Visser, Namibia’s chief electoral officer, according to The Namibian, which obtained the minutes of the meeting.
″It must now be worked out how to mobilize people and discredit SWAPO while boosting the internal (political) parties,″ Andrew Matjila, a Cabinet member who belongs to Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, told the meeting.
Dirk Mudge, leader of the multiracial Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, told a news conference Wednesday evening that no orders were issued for civil servants to help defeat SWAPO.
The recently disbanded interim government included a Cabinet made up of Namibians from several political parties chosen at elections that SWAPO boycotted because they were based on race.
South Africa is in charge of implementing the independence plan, which took effect April 1. More than 4,000 U.N. personnel are in Namibia to monitor the process, but their role is mostly supervisory.
SWAPO is favored to win the November elections but it is not clear if it will be able to capture the two-thirds majority needed to control the formation of a new government.
The guerrilla movement has fought a 23-year bush war against South African rule.
SWAPO officials were not immediately available for comment. However, they have repeatedly accused South African officials, the security forces, and even U.N. officials of being biased against the guerrilla movement.
The U.N. special representative to Namibia, Martti Ahtisaari, has raised the matter with Pienaar, according to a U.N. statement.
The statement stressed the need for ″strict impartiality″ in the elections. U.N. spokesmen declined to elaborate.
As part of the independence process, Botha on Tuesday approved the repeal of security laws that banned the African National Congress and other anti- apartheid guerrilla organizations in the territory.
On Wednesday, answering criticism from the pro-apartheid Conservative Party in South Africa that the action would make it possible for the ANC to operate from Namibia, Botha issued his warning.
Botha said in a letter to the Conservative Party that Pienaar had the ability to prohibit South African members of the ANC or other organizations from coming into the territory. Pienaar remains in charge of the territory until a new government is installed, expected some time next year.
After the territory becomes independent, Botha said, the South African government will not hesitate to send the South African Police and Defense Force into Namibia if it appeared that the ANC or other organizations were launching operations against South Africa from the territory.