SWAPO secretary general Sophia Shaningwa has hit out at independent candidates who use Swapo songs in their campaigns.
“We are advising you to start generating your songs and leave Swapo songs alone,” Shaningwa said, while urging the candidates to join the ruling party.
“Even if you are an independent candidate, stand firm on your own, but please avoid associating yourself with Swapo. Come back and join us, it is boring out there, and it is cold out there. Come and join Swapo, a force to be reckoned with. I will receive you with open hands.”
Shaningwa was speaking at a rally in Katutura on Saturday, where Swapo launched its bid to retain the Moses //Garoëb constituency after the death of councillor Aili Venonya in October.
“For us, it is a celebration because we are saying, Aili Venonya, your legacy shall not let you down. We are going to make sure that the Swapo party seat shall be retained,” Shaningwa said.
The by-election is scheduled for 6 January 2023.
The Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) and the Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF) also have candidates in the by-election, alongside two independent candidates contesting in the Khomas Regional Council.
The Moses //Garoëb constituency comprises some of the poorest informal settlements within the Windhoek municipal area, with residents leaving in squalor, without proper housing, water and electricity.
According to the Electoral Commission of Namibia, 42 135 people have registered to vote in the by-election next month.
“We need to convince our people, every afternoon, we need to go to our people who are not convinced that the Swapo party is a force to be reckoned with, so that come 6 January, they go and vote for Swapo,” Shaningwa said during the event, attended by senior party officials including finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi and deputy speaker Loide Kasingo.
Shaningwa called on party members to rally behind Swapo’s candidate, Stefanus Ndengu, a unionist in the Mineworkers Union of Namibia, in the upcoming by-election.
Ndengu, who has lived in the consistency since 2003, said he has the right team around him. “And I am sure we are going to make it together.”
Meanwhile, the IPC last week introduced Moses Muandingi as its constituency candidate for the by-election. “We recruit from the grassroots level,” said IPC Khomas regional chairperson Fritz Kaufmann of Muandingi, who has been living in the constituency for 15 years.
Muandingi, who said he was born in exile, accused Swapo of reneging on its promises of prosperity made at independence.
“My parents did not go into exile to fight for people to live in poverty, with no access to land and better housing. Hence, I urge the people of Moses //Garoëb to support me and give me the opportunity to improve the living conditions in the constituency,” he said.
NEFF deputy president Kalimbo Iipumbu told The Namibian yesterday that they nominated Paulus Nakale, who is ready to serve.
“Taking over the constituency of Moses
//Garoëb, will ensure that all the inhabitants of the informal settlements will be looked after. And we will put up programmes that will cater to the developmental programmes and issues related to improving the lives of the people that are living in the constituency,” Iipumbu said.
“Therefore, we need to go out in numbers to support the candidate of the NEFF because he is the only capable person that really has the the interest of the people of Moses //Garoëb at heart. He is a person who has experienced poverty can really uplift the living standards of the people.”