Ithana Rejects Clique Claims


By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Swapo Party politburo member Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has dismissed allegations that she is a member of a so-called “powerful Omusati clique” that was responsible for the expulsion of Jesaya Nyamu from the party at the end of last year. Nyamu soon after his expulsion claimed that a powerful “clique” from the Omusati Region had engineered his expulsion. He also claimed that the same clique has hijacked the Swapo party. Nyamu fingered former President Dr Sam Nujoma, Justice Minister and Attorney General Iivula-Ithana and Lands Minister Jerry Ekandjo as part of the powerful “clique” that controls Swapo and was responsible for his political demise. Speaking to New Era recently, Ithana said Nyamu should not try and make his expulsion an issue between him and certain individuals because it was not. She said the issue of Nyamu’s expulsion was between him and his former party. “If there is any personal hatred between Nyamu and me, it must be a personal matter and irrelevant to his expulsion.” She said Nyamu was trying to divert public attention from the real issue, which was his “destructive notes”. He was looking for scapegoats, she said. “The ‘Omusati clique’, if it exists, or I, did not force him to write the notes. It was his personal decision and he should face up to the consequences.” She noted that it was the first time she heard about the “Omusati clique” and did not believe that it exists. “I come from Omusati Region, but does that mean that I belong to that clique?” She noted that it really puzzled her that Nyamu would accuse her of all sorts of things, even the Nghifitikeko e-mails. “Nyamu earlier accused me of being the author of these letters and I do not know what evidence he had to make such an allegation.” The minister added that she does not belong to any regional cliques. She noted that during other contests in Swapo, she supported Swapo leaders who come from other regions. “I supported former Prime Minister Hage Geingob for the Swapo Vice Presidency position in the Swapo 2002 Congress and he does not come from the Omusati Region.” She claimed that she and Geingob were called all sorts of names and humiliated. “Nyamu and others were the ones saying that I was acting like a non-Owambo and they called us names and questioned why I backed someone who had no constituency.” Ithana said she was deeply hurt by the remarks because she believed that she was backing a Swapo leader whom she had known for a very long time and grew up with, and whose constituency was the entire Swapo. “Geingob and I were humiliated but we did not go write notes like Nyamu did.” She added that Nyamu was bitter because his candidate, Hidipo Hamutenya, lost the race for the presidency at the 2004 Swapo Extra-Ordinary Congress. “Nyamu must face the reality. He must accept that they are the underdogs now.” Ithana said the Nyamu issue was not only dealt with by the Politburo, but also by the Swapo Central Committee. “If he claims that the ‘Omusati clique’ controls the Politburo, why was his expulsion not objected to by the Central Committee which consists of 81 members?” She maintained that only people with an agenda to destroy Swapo would support Nyamu. “Nyamu was hoping that his notes issue would be swept under the carpet and did not even approach any Swapo member to explain his action. If I was Nyamu, I would have approached a comrade to explain the notes.” Iivula-Ithana warned that she was noticing a tendency of the media being abused. She said there had been a lot of outcry from the media over Nyamu’s expulsion but little was said when she and Geingob “suffered”.