THE Swapo central committee has nullified or removed some delegates from Oshikoto, Hardap, //Kharas and Otjozondjupa who were set to attend the congress tomorrow.
This threw the ruling party’s leadership into a last minute scramble for votes and influence.
Party leaders also nullified Grootfontein’s list of delegates, and ordered fresh elections before the congress starts on Thursday.
The decisions were made at the Swapo central committee meeting in Windhoek on Monday, which also appointed lawyer Joshua Kaumbi as the returning officer to count the votes at the upcoming congress.
He replaces lawyer Sisa Namandje.
Swapo president Hage Geingob insisted that all is well in the party during Monday’s meeting. However, fresh information points to a bitter wrangling between rival factions.
Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa reportedly removed several delegates because of alleged irregularities in regions such as Oshikoto, Hardap, //Kharas and Otjozondjupa.
Prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila’s slate accused Shaningwa of manipulating a list of delegates to favour deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah’s slate. However, the same supporters admit that what Shaningwa is doing has been the norm over the years.
The difference now is that Shaningwa and president Geingob are not in the same camp. Shaningwa has taken a hard stance against the team that has sold itself as having the support of the president.
The central committee meeting, chaired by Geingob, also resolved to set up a committee, led by Swapo’s legal secretary Albert Kawana, to investigate irregularities around the list of delegates attending the congress.
Kawana, who is accused of taking decisions that benefit Geingob, will be supported by regional coordinators. They will produce a report, which they will submit to Geingob this week, on the way forward. To some, this move is seen as weakening Shaningwa’s powers.
Information seen by The Namibian shows that Shaningwa blocked former information deputy minister Engel !Nawatiseb from representing the Oshikoto regional executive at the congress because he was elected illegally.
Shaningwa wrote to Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu to instruct him to follow the ruling party’s constitution. She said she received a complaint about the former deputy minister’s inclusion as a delegate.
Shaningwa is competing with Amukwiyu for the secretary general position.
Speaking to The Namibian yesterday, !Nawatiseb said he wrote a letter to object to his removal from the delegates’ list.
He also accused Shaningwa of targeting the people she knows are not going to vote for her.
Shaningwa yesterday said she did not remove anyone, including !Nawatiseb, from the list of delegates, and asserted that she has no reason to remove anyone from the list.
She said complaints about members who are not eligible to participate in the congress were brought to her office from the regions, and the matter was looked at administratively.
For instance, what happened in the case of !Nawatiseb. Shaningwa said that upon receiving the complaint, she wrote to Amukwiyu to verify the issues raised in the letter from Oshikoto.
She said she did not tell Amukwiyu to remove !Nawatiseb.
“I don’t go to regions and look for problems, problems are being brought to the attention of the secretary general and the secretary general takes them to the regional coordinators,” Shaningwa said.
“I think if people have problems, they should rather deal with their regional coordinators and establish the facts instead of implicating me in the removal of people from the list,” she said.
Party vice president hopeful Nandi-Ndaitwah’s campaign manager, Kaire Mbuende, told The Namibian yesterday that his camp welcomes the decision to nullify delegates who were not elected procedurally.
“Any delegate who mysteriously made it to the list without complying with the constitutional provision of the party should not be allowed to participate in the congress. To me it’s not a question of which side they are from,” he said.