By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The next Swapo Party Elders’ Council (SPEC) congress, expected to take place within a year or so is, one of the most important topics currently under discussion at the Swapo Party Elders’ Council 2006 Annual Central Committee meeting, under way in Windhoek. Issues of national interest that also feature on the agenda include crime in society, corruption, road accidents, health concerns especially HIV/Aids, and the education system in the country. Officially opening the 2006 central committee meeting on Saturday, Secretary of the Swapo Party Elders’ Council, Kanana Hishoono, said that deliberations during the next few days would review the resolutions of the past year (2005) and chart the way forward. “We will also discuss the SPEC (Swapo Party Elders’ Council) structures in the regions to see how these can be streamlined and enforced to enhance the smooth running and operation of the programmes of the Council at grassroots level,” explained Hishoono when addressing members of the Swapo Party Elders’ Council at the party’s headquarters in the capital. At the same event members expressed their continued willingness to participate in the next phase of the Northern Railway Line Extension project. Now that President Hifikepunye Pohamba officially inaugurated the Nehale LyMpingana Railway Line and Station at Ondangwa, the SPEC Central Committee members will be discussing what Hishoono called “thorough preparations” for the next phase, which is building the railway line from Ondangwa to Oshikango. When asked by the media whether all the SPEC Central Committee members were present, Hishoono answered that this was not the case, explaining that a shortage of transport was the main cause for this situation. “Not all are here. Some of them are stranded on their way because of transport problems. But in any meeting we go with the majority present for a quorum to take place,” he explained. SPEC draws its membership from all 13 administrative regions of the country. Another question posed by the media was whether the Swapo Party Elders’ Council would be focussing on the “new parties” situation in the Caprivi, during their deliberations. The answer was no. “This is not part of our discussions and it is not on our agenda,” said Hishoono, adding that government is currently dealing with that situation in the north-eastern region. Since the focus of the annual meeting is mainly on national issues and some of regional significance, Hishoono also talked about the good rains experienced in the country this year. He added although the floods adversely affected some regions in the country, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. During this rainy season Hardap was the hardest hit region, especially the Mariental constituency. “I hope somehow the positive side-effects of the floods may (also) be felt,” he said. Another region affected by the heavy rains was Oshikoto, where Omuntele and Oniipa constituencies experienced severe damage to crops as well as homesteads. However, the advantage of these rains for both Oshikoto and Oshana was the high supply of fish for rural people near the rivers. “I hope that our people have made good use of the water that the floods brought and that the drought relief programme of the government be reserved for the lean years to come,” said Hishoono. The outcome of the SPEC Annual Central Committee meeting will be made public at a press briefing early this week.
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