Swapo politburo sticks with trusted old guard

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Nangolo Mbumba, Swapo Party Secretary General.

WINDHOEK – The Minister of Finance, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and former Swapo Party secretary for transport Helmuth Angula have returned to the Swapo Party politburo.

This follows their appointment by President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is also the ruling party president, and as provided for in the newly amended party constitution. Briefing the media in Windhoek yesterday on the outcomes of the politburo meeting held on Monday, the party’s Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba said like the other 21 members who were elected by the Central Committee, the presidential nominees will also have full voting rights in the politburo. Both Angula and Kuugongelwa- Amadhila, had served in the politburo before, and the latter headed the portfolio of economic affairs in the party secretariat. Many people within and outside the party were surprised when Kuugongelwa- Amadhila lost her seat in the politburo during a party election last year, given the fact that she enjoys some measure of popularity inside the ruling party, but also among the opposition for her prudent fiscal management and discipline in preparing national budgets. The economics portfolio is now occupied by Lands and Resettlement Minister Alpheus !Naruseb.

Although the president’s latest appointments reflect gender-balance, men still dominate the politburo by far. Out of the 23 members of the politburo, only six are women. “We still cannot strike the balance in terms of gender, because these are people that were elected last year before the amendment, but in the next election we will have to vote for 50/50,” said Mbumba. The politburo also appointed eight people who will serve on the newly established Disciplinary Committee that falls under the Office of the Secretary General. The committee will be chaired by Ngarikutuke Tjiriange and be deputised by Libertina Amathila. Others members are Theo-Ben Gurirab, Doreen Sioka, Willem Konjore, Connie Pandeni, Tommy Nambahu and Germina Shitaleni. Mbumba described the committee members as experienced elders of the party, who will be able to deal with grievances and maintain order and discipline within the ruling party. “It is an obvious thing, we have a mass movement, some comrades come with attitude, things happen such as personality clashes and we accuse each other of doing this and that and we need that mechanism in place,” he explained what necessitated the establishment of the committee. Mbumba said the politburo also discussed the issue of the party structures in the newly proclaimed constituencies and urged members to redouble their efforts to make sure that by the end of December 2013, all party structures are in place and fully functioning.

The current drought situation in the country was also discussed during the politburo meeting with President Pohamba expressing grave concern over the situation, its psychological effects on the minds of the people and its impact on livestock. The president has therefore called on all citizens irrespective of political affiliation to work together in order to ameliorate the effects of the drought on fellow citizens and their livestock, Mbumba said.

List of current members of the Swapo Party politburo

1. Hifikepunye Pohamba

2. Dr H a g e G e i n g o b

3. Nangolo Mbumba

4. Laura McLeod-Katjira

5. Nahas Angula

6. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

7. Ben Amadhila

8. Marco Hausiku

9. Dr Libertine Amathila

10. Charles Namoloh

11. Theo-Ben Gurirab

12. Dr Nickey Iyambo

13. Jerry Ekandjo

14. Immanuel Ngatjizeko

15. Katrina H a n s e-H i m a r w a

16. Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana

17. Alpheus !Naruseb

18. Erkki Nghimtina

19. John Mutorwa

20. Albert Kawana

21. Asser Kapere

22. Helmuth Angula (Presidential appointee)

23. Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (Presidential Appointee)

 

By Tonateni Shidhudhu

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