Swapo National Chairman Position Still Unviable

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By Kuvee Kangueehi

WINDHOEK

The issue of the Swapo Party amending its constitution to create a position of national chairman appears to be an unviable proposition after no party structure forwarded such a proposal to the office of the party’s secretary general before the deadline of July 27, 2007.

A source within the Swapo Party said no such proposal was received and that most of the proposals sent to the office the secretary general were nominations of preferred candidates for presidency and vice-presidency at the upcoming congress.

The source said Otjozondjupa, Karas, Oshikoto, Khomas and Oshana regions have declared their support for Nujoma as president and Pohamba as vice-president, while smaller structures such as the Regional Elders Conference for Kunene Region and the Khomas Regional Elders Conference also took the same decision.

He said the issue of national chairman was not even discussed at the last Central Committee meeting and was only mooted by certain party members who wanted Pohamba to vie for the presidency.

He said the members were hesitant to raise the issue at the Central Committee meeting and wanted to use the structures to push the issue through.

Secretary General of Swapo Party Ngarikutuke Tjiriange said he was not aware of any proposal to create a position of national chairman sent to his office.

He noted that he in fact advised the structures to forward their proposals to the Chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee, Helmut Ruppel.

“My office received two or three proposals and the secretariat sent it straight to Ruppel and we only acted as the post office.”

Tjiriange said he was surprised to hear about the issue of national chairman as he did not attend a single meeting that discussed such a proposal or read any minutes of a meeting to that effect.

He however noted that the position previously existed but was scrapped with the amendment of the constitution at a previous congress. “The amending of a constitution is a trial and error process.”

The secretary general said the issue of the fifty-fifty gender representation was likely to be one of the amendments. He said the fifty-fifty representation is a congress resolution and the homework is now being done to make an amendment to this effect at the next congress.

On the issue of the Khomas Regional Conference declaring the preferred candidate in public, despite a directive from the office of the SG to avoid this, Tjiriange said he was not in a position to say what action he would take against the structure.

Tjiriange said the structure defied a Politburo directive and it was up to the Politburo to make a ruling. “It was not my decision, my task was to communicate the decision to the regional coordinators.”

He said it was up to the Politburo to decide what action, if any, is to be taken against the offending structure.

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