Swapo Rumblings in Omaheke

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek Some Swapo Party members in the Omaheke Region have written a letter to the party Secretary General Ngarikutuke Tjiriange calling for the party’s top leadership to intervene ahead of the District Executive elections scheduled for Saturday. The Swapo members are accusing their regional leaders of “favouritism and corrupt behaviour” in efforts to influence the outcome of the elections. Swapo District Coordinator Platini Katjaoha has been singled out as the main culprit by the concerned group in the ongoing dispute. The unhappy party members accused Katjaoha of sidelining some party members and of failing to inform all party members about the imminent district elections. The members claimed that Katjaoha on Monday evening called a meeting of selected Swapo members and held elections for the Kahimemua section. “Katjaoha held the meeting in the garage of Epukiro Regional Councillor Brave Tjizera and nominated five people as delegates to the elections on Saturday.” The concerned group added that most of the Kahimemua residents were not present at the meeting, and has vowed to oppose the nominated delegates. In the letter written to Tjiriange, the concerned members further claim that one person from the Nudo party was nominated as a delegate to the elections on Sunday. The Nudo member apparently confronted Katjaoha and informed him that she was a Nudo member but he insisted that she attend the elections on Saturday. The delegates also accused Katjaoha, who is also the Mayor of Gobabis, of using municipal resources including his official car to campaign for his re-election. The concerned members further claimed they have exhausted all avenues in their efforts to bring their grievances to the Swapo Omaheke regional leadership and were thus approaching the office of the Secretary General as a last resort. They claim that the Swapo Regional Coordinator Festus Ueitele and Governor Laura McLeod are all supporting the re-election of the incumbent district coordinator. In a telephonic interview with New Era yesterday, the concerned members also charged that any Swapo member who does not support the re-election of Katjaoha is branded a supporter of Hidipo Hamutenya. “Once you are branded with that tag, be sure that your political ambitions are over.” Contacted for comment Katjaoha refuted all the allegations levelled against him and labelled them as a campaign strategy by those eyeing the district coordinator position. “The decision to hold the election this weekend was approved by the Swapo regional executive and everybody was informed.” Katjaoha also noted that it was not true that he was using municipal facilities for his campaign and challenged those making the allegation to provide concrete proof. McLeod on her part refused to comment on the allegations and said people should first wait for the outcome of the elections before they start making accusations. “Why are they pre-empting the outcome of the elections?” Tjiriange could not be reached for comment on the issue. The chairman of the national leaders assigned to the Omaheke Region by the Swapo party, Hage Geingob said he was shocked to hear about the latest squabbles. Geingob said he visited the region two weeks ago and nobody complained or raised the matter. “Nobody told us about any problems and we had a good meeting.” The former Prime Minister said during his visit to the area, he called for unity among the party members and it was made clear that everybody had the right to contest for any position in the regional structures. He added that he had not been briefed by the Secretary General about the letter, which was written to him. He however noted that it has become common for concerned party members to write letters to the Secretary General. This is not the first dispute within Swapo in the regions. Some Swapo members in the Otjozondjupa Region recently launched a complaint about their district elections, calling for their nullification.