Exclusive Report: EU Envoys Face Backlash Over Namibian Opposition Meeting

EU Envoys Face Backlash Over Namibian Opposition Meeting
IPC meeting-GettyImages

EU Envoys Face Backlash Over Namibian Opposition Meeting

Certain members of Namibia’s ruling party are advocating for the expulsion of European Union (EU) envoys from the country following their meeting with a prominent opposition figure. Last week, EU representatives held discussions with Panduleni Itula, the leader of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), at the residence of German ambassador Thorsten Hutter in Windhoek, the capital.

This meeting has sparked considerable backlash from the Namibian government and the ruling Swapo party. Vice-President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah characterized the meeting as “highly questionable diplomacy,”  insinuating potential interference in the upcoming elections in Namibia, as reported by local media outlets.

In response to the controversy, the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) issued a statement on Sunday condemning diplomats from Germany, Finland, France, Spain, and Portugal and called for their expulsion from Namibia. The SPYL urged Namibian authorities to designate any foreign representatives who seek to meddle in the nation’s internal affairs as persona non grata, without compromise.

However, the EU mission in Namibia has refuted allegations of discussing state matters or engaging in activities that could impact the forthcoming elections in November. They clarified that the meeting was an “informal lunch” discussing “the situation” in Namibia, including Mr. Itula’s election campaign.

The tensions surrounding the meeting underscore the delicate balance of Namibia’s diplomatic relations and domestic politics. While the ruling party views the engagement with opposition figures as inappropriate interference, the EU maintains that its discussions were within the bounds of diplomatic protocol. As the situation unfolds, it remains to be seen how the Namibian government will navigate these diplomatic challenges while upholding the principles of sovereignty and international engagement.

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