… As Supporters Desert Iipinge By Kuvee Kangueehi RUNDU Politician Petrina Haingura was elected new Secretary of the Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) after she comfortably beat off a challenge from the former secretary Eunice Iipinge. Haingura obtained 244 votes at the 5th SPWC Congress while Iipinge only managed 188 votes during the congress which was held in Rundu at the weekend. Although the scoreline suggests a comfortable victory for Haingura, in reality it was far from it. The congress was characterized by strong lobbying and intense campaigning. When the congress started on Friday morning, Iipinge appeared to be in the driving seat as seven of the thirteen regions had pledged support for her candidacy. As incumbent, she appeared to enjoy support from Khomas, Caprivi, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Karas, Erongo and Oshana. There were also strong indications that Iipinge had support from certain delegates from the Kavango, Karas and Hardap regions. The chances of Haingura – whose definite support appeared to be only from Omusati, Kavango and Kunene – coming out tops looked rather slim. However, as political personalities arrived at Rundu and started making contact with the delegates from the different regions, support for Iipinge started eroding. Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Marlene Mungunda, and the Governor of the Hardap Region, Katrina Hansen, who had her wedding postponed because of the congress, had some influence on the delegates from Hardap and Karas. It is believed that they managed to salvage some votes for Haingura. Mungunda’s deputy, Angelika Muharukua, also consolidated support for Haingura from the Kunene Region while the Minister of Justice Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Khomas Governor Sofia Shaningwa were in constant contact with the Omusati and Khomas regions respectively. Another region which appeared to desert Iipinge at the final hour was Caprivi. The region which had Ellen Musialela as one of its delegates had pledged support for Iipinge because Musialela refused to back a candidate (Haingura) who was being supported by Iivula-Ithana. Some delegates from the Caprivi claimed that Musialela still blames Iivula-Ithana for losing her position as Secretary of the SPWC and she apparently felt it was her time to get even with Iivula-Ithana by campaigning against Haingura among the Caprivi delegates. However, some delegates decided to back Haingura after a counter-campaign by Doreen Sioka, also from that region and who was in the Haingura camp. On Saturday, the congress was clearly split into two groups. Each of the groups drew up a list of candidates who the delegates were advised to vote for onto the Central Committee. The one list, which backed Iipinge and Linea Shaetonhodi for Secretary and Deputy Secretary position, had the Minister of Information Broadcasting Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Michaela HÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼bschle, Lucia Hamutenya, Ndahasfa Nghifindaka and Clara Bohitile at the top of the list. The other had Loine Kandume Geingos, Rosalia Nghidinwa, Haingura, Muharukua, Iivula-Ithana, Doreen Sioka, Marlene Mungunda and Loide Kasingo on top. However, the size of the number of delegates from the different regions also played a big role in the outcome. Omusati which nominated Haingura had the most delegates at 53 while Kavango, another strong base for Haingura, had 41 delegates. Despite the lobbying and campaigning behind the scenes, the congress ran smoothly except for the counting which consumed a lot of time. After the delegates refused the use of new voting machines, the voting and counting was done manually. It took the election officers over ten hours to complete the counting. Shaetonhodi retained her deputy position and many of the Central Committee members who were on the list of Haingura’s backers were voted onto the Central Committee thus giving the new secretary more control of the SPWC. Ndaitwah obtained the highest number of votes for the Central Committee position with 276 while Iivula-Ithana came second with 255. The congress also voted 38 members of the Central Committee onto the SPWC. They are: Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, 276 Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, 265 Petrina Haingura 254 Rosalia Nghidinwa, 235 Loide Kasingo, 234 Loine Geingos, 232 Eunice Iipinge, 223 Linea Shaetonhodi, 222 Michaela HÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Â ‘ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¼bschle, 199 Doreen Sioka, 195 Muetulamba Haipinge, 188 Kauna Nashandi, 186 Selma Gases-Angombe, 185 Lucia Hamutenya, 184 Marlene Mungunda, 184 Margreth Mensah-Williams, 183 Ruth Nhinda, 179 Hileni Iilonga, 174 Angelika Muharukua, 172 Mildred Jantjies, 159 Ndahafa Nghifindaka, 157 Clara Bohitile, 156 Rebeka Iipinge, 155 Rebeka Kalola, 147 Emilia Amupewa, 146 Lucia Basson, 146 Veronika Naingwdja, 146 Helena Tonata Shipena, 145 Laura Mcleod 144 Ruusa Kayoo, 136 Sylvia Shuumbwa, 135 Liina Namupala, 134 Rosalia Sibiya, 134 Hilda Haipinge, 133 Canner Kalimba 129 Susana Nghidinwa, 129 Rosa Kavara, 127 Magret Mahoto, 121.
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