Ulenga Comes Out Fighting: Rejects Congress Fraud

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By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek – The Congress of Democrats (CoD) President Ben Ulenga has re-affirmed that his party’s newly elected leadership is legitimate and strongly rejected allegations of congress fraud. Ulenga issued a media statement yesterday following allegations by the spokesperson of the CoD group that walked out of the party’s congress last weekend, Ignatius Shixwameni. Shixwamweni said his group did not recognize any of the elected leaders at the congress. Ulenga said that the CoD regards the allegation of election fraud, stealing of election delegate lists, manipulation and the bussing in of schoolchildren as false and unfounded. “We note that those who allege irregularities and fraudulent activities have conveniently chosen to do so only after they were declared losers of the party’s presidential elections.” In the press statement, Ulenga added that at the commencement of congress, rules and procedures as well as a congress code of conduct were discussed and unanimously adopted by the delegates. He said congress business, including the conduct of elections, was carried out in accordance with the adopted rules and at no stage throughout the proceedings of the extraordinary congress was there a complaint or concern brought before congress, which had remained unresolved. He charged that had there been any such complaints, they would certainly have been investigated and resolved. Ulenga called on everybody to accept and respect the outcome of the congress as it was legitimate and noted that the leadership elected at the extraordinary congress is the only leadership authorized to speak, act and do business on behalf of the CoD. He added that for the sake of public transparency, the CoD is however prepared to cooperate in an independent investigation and forensic audit aimed at baring facts regarding the run-up and conduct of the extraordinary congress. He said the new leadership undertakes, accepts and abides by the findings of any such credible independent investigation and will resign if it is proved that it has been elected fraudulently. The rift, which has caused the confusion in the CoD, started after Ulenga garnered 155 out of 309 votes during the second round of elections, while Ignatius Shixwameni received 141 votes and one ballot paper was spoilt. Shixwameni alleged they walked out of the congress due to manipulation and smuggling in of congress delegates. Manipulation and bribing of people were the order of that day, he claimed. He also alleged that observers were accredited as delegates, stating “with this we are saying we could have won the election very clean and clearly”. Shixwameni is the spokesperson of the group while Elma Dienda, Kalla Gertze, Herbert Schultz and Pauline Dempers are members of the Coordinating Committee. Elected at the congress was little known Alfred Chilinda from Caprivi, who is the party’s new vice-president, and former CoD MP Rosa Namises as new secretary general. Ulenga retained the position of party president.