WINDHOEK – Swapo Party’s Marina Kandumbu will finally take up her seat in the National Assembly on a yet-to-be-decided date after the party’s politburo gave her the green light to be sworn in as an MP.
This was decided on Monday by the ruling party’s politburo when it cleared Kandumbu to take up her seat in the National Assembly, according to Swapo Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba.
“The Political Bureau deliberated fully on the issue of whether Comrade Marina Kandumbu should take up a seat in the National Assembly. After a lengthy discussion, the Political Bureau resolved that Comrade Marina Kandumbu be allowed to take up her seat in the National Assembly,” stated Mbumba in a media statement released yesterday.
The spokesman for the National Assembly, David Nahogandja yesterday said the Swapo Party has not yet officially communicated anything regarding the issue.
Kandumbu’s position in the National Assembly was in limbo after it emerged that she was convicted of corruption last November.
Although she was convicted, the country’s laws however did not prevent her from going to parliament, yet the party went ahead and removed her from its parliamentary list. Some observers feel if some of the sworn-in parliamentarians are also subjected to similar scrutiny they could fail such a litmus test.
The party’s regional co-ordinator for Kavango West, David Hamutenya, welcomed the politburo’s decision, saying the decision would propel the party in the right direction again.
“I am very relieved. I am glad the politburo considered all possible angles to allow her to go to parliament so that we can continue talking about inclusivity,” said a relieved Hamutenya.
Hamutenya further urged party leaders to solve issues arising in future in the shortest possible time.
“When issues arise they must be dealt with by the relevant structures, that way problems will be solved promptly.
Like in this case, structures such as the disciplinary committee should have dealt with the issue and advised the top four accordingly,” said Hamutenya.
Hamutenya said the party risked losing support for the upcoming regional council and local authority elections in the region if Kandumbu was not cleared.
She was the only candidate on Swapo’s parliamentary list from Kavango West.
Kandumbu was last year convicted on corruption charges for allegedly renting out her government-subsidised house in Rundu.
She was found guilty of 55 counts of the charges by Magistrate Helen Olayia in the Rundu Magistrate’s Court and fined N$100 000 or five years imprisonment of which N$90 000 or four years were suspended on condition that she repays N$87 887 of the subsidy she received in 31 instalments of N$3 000 from November 27, 2014, according to court documents in New Era’s possession.
Even Swapo vice president Dr Hage Geingob intervened in the matter before the politburo sat by suggesting to Mbumba that he [Mbumba] make the necessary arrangements for Kandumbu to be sworn-in.
Describing the situation as a “dilemma”, Geingob told Mbumba that Kandumbu’s exclusion from the National Assembly will not bode well with the party’s policy of inclusivity.
“Furthermore, we have a dilemma regarding the Kavango West Region. At the moment there is no comrade from that region in Cabinet and given the incident of Comrade Kandumbu, it will not bode well for our policy of inclusivity,” said Geingob at the time.
That was before the party’s top four wrote to Kandumbu threatening her to withdraw herself from the list or have the party do it.
Kandumbu refused to succumb to the threat.
Swapo decided to prevent her from going to parliament despite the Namibian Constitution clearly stating that: “No persons may become members of the National Assembly if they:(a) have at any time after independence been convicted of any offence in Namibia, or outside Namibia, and for which they have been sentenced to death or to imprisonment of more than 12 months without the option of a fine, unless they have received a free pardon or unless such imprisonment has expired at least 10 years before the date of their election.”
Meanwhile, Mbumba has said that the disciplinary proceedings of the three suspended Swapo Party Youth League leaders-cum-land activists Job Amupanda, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and George Kambala is still in the hands of the party’s disciplinary committee.
“The Political Bureau felt that since the disciplinary committee was still seized with that process, it [politburo] should wait until the disciplinary committee completes its assigned task,” said Mbumba.