By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – The Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) elected its candidates for the party’s upcoming electoral college, with many members of the current National Executive Committee (NEC) missing out on nominations.
With half of the nominees coming from outside both the NEC and Central Committee structures of the SPYL, no member of the NEC made the cut.
The six SPYL candidates elected over the weekend are Heather Sibungo, Lucia Iipumbu, Paula Kooper, Muzee Kazapua, Sydney !Ganeb and Joshua Matati.
Kazapua, !Ganeb and Kooper are members of the SPYL Central Committee.
The six will go to the Swapo electoral college under the SPYL banner to contest for a place on the party’s list for the National Assembly elections in November.
Contrary to common past practices within the SPYL where candidates were nominated by the NEC, the mandate to nominate was this time around extended to the entire Central Committee (CC) of the SPYL.
A source privy to the CC told New Era that the meeting went on for about 24 hours as two centres of power, involving loyalists of SPYL secretary Dr Elijah Ngurare and those of Ngurare’s deputy Veikko Nekundi, battled to influence the final outcome.
According to the source, concerned members of the SPYL challenged the NEC regarding the way candidates are nominated for the electoral college “pot”. The group lobbied for the Central Committee [SPYL] to make the nominations and not the NEC.
“The NEC wanted to hijack the nomination process like it was done in the past, which was really unfair.
“It just shows that the NEC is losing power and Veikko [Nekundi] is gaining more and more support,” the source said.
During the opening of the CC meeting on Saturday morning, Swapo’s former secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana urged SPYL CC members to deliberate peacefully and devise ways to ensure that the ruling party wins the upcoming national elections.
“We must harness the spirit of comradeship because we will need each other to face our adversaries,” she said.
“I know that in the past your meetings were filled with unpalatable hidden agendas of regime change and others. If you spoil the spirit of unity now, the vibrations from your meeting will be felt beyond the forthcoming elections,” she warned.
Incumbent Swapo Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba has also been quoted on several occasions strongly warning members of the ruling party to desist from indulging in intra-party fights.
“No group lobbying will be allowed in the run-up to the electoral college, although individual candidates will be able to present their credentials and argue why they believe they should be on the candidate list,” Mbumba was quoted by one of the daily newspapers.
Bernadus Swartbooi, who is already guaranteed a place at the upcoming electoral college after the //Karas Region recently held its regional conference to choose its delegates, and National Youth Council Chairperson Mandela Kapere, who withdrew at the last minute from competing at the weekend’s CC, were also in attendance watching proceedings from the back row of the packed hall at the Swapo headquarters.
Apart from electing delegates that will head to the electoral college, the SPYL CC also devised a campaign strategy which it will adopt while canvassing for support to ensure that the ruling party maintains its grip over the country’s political arena.