Is Ipinge Set for Parliament?

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By Kuvee Kangueehi

Windhoek

At least two new parliamentarians are expected to be sworn in soon after the official opening of the 7th session of the fourth Parliament of the Republic of Namibia tomorrow.

The two new MPs are expected to replace backbencher Jeremia Nambinga and Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako from the Swapo Party and Nudo respectively, who resigned from the august House.

However, with only a day left before the National Assembly resumes its work, it is not clear yet who will replace Nambinga of the Swapo Party in Parliament.
In terms of the party list, former Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) secretary Eunice Ipinge is expected to replace Nambinga.

However, speaking to New Era yesterday, Ipinge said she has not yet been contacted by the party regarding the parliamentary position and is still waiting for the good news.

She noted that she is prepared to serve the country and wants to participate in politics at that level and she would be unhappy should the party decide to ignore her.

Asked why she thinks she might be ignored, Ipinge said there has been a suspicion that she is sympathetic to the new party Rally for Democracy and Progress because she supported the interim president of the RDP Hidipo Hamutenya.

Ipinge said she is still a Swapo Party member and supported Hamutenya during the 2004 Extraordinary Congress because Hamutenya was a Swapo member who was endorsed by the party as a presidential candidate.

The former secretary of the SPWC was also concerned with the time she has to serve in Parliament if accorded the opportunity, as it is only a year and a few months before the next parliamentary election.

Ipinge, who is employed at the University of Namibia (Unam) said university staff have received a circular which indicates that they will have to resign or take unpaid leave if they want to participate in active politics. She added that she will have to consider the economic implications of taking unpaid leave and joining Parliament as it is not a foregone conclusion that she could make it to Parliament after the 2009 national election.

If for whatever reason Ipinge does not make it to Parliament, former Deputy Prime Minister Hendrik Witbooi is next on the list, followed by Namibia’s Ambassador to Sweden Theresia Samaria and then National Youth Council (NYC) Secretary General Juliet Kavetuna.

Ipinge was chosen as secretary of the SPWC, the key post in Swapo’s women’s wing, in 2001. Ipinge first became involved in the SPWC in exile, and at the wing’s congress in 1991 she was chosen as assistant secretary for social welfare and legal affairs. She became assistant secretary for information, research and programmes at the 1996 congress.

It is also not clear who will replace Riruako, although Theophilus Uahongora is next on the list. However, a number of other people have been linked to the position in Parliament.

Nudo Chief Arnold Tjihuiko said he was out of town for the last week and at the time he left no name had been forwarded to Parliament yet.

The Nudo secretary general Asser Mbai could not be reached for comment.

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