The ruling Swapo Party has ten days, starting Monday this week, to oppose or agree with the assertion that it expelled four of its youth league leaders without observing the legal rights of the ousted quartet.
In papers filed in the High Court on Monday former Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) secretary Dr Elijah Ngurare, as well as the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) trio, Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma are seeking recourse over the manner in which they were recently expelled from Swapo.
The three AR leaders were expelled due to their activism over access to urban land, while Ngurare was allegedly booted out for his sympathetic stance towards AR and its founders.
The final move that sealed Ngurare’s fate came when he attended a legal consultative forum of AR, where land activists searched for a legally sound manner to occupy land across the country, a plan originally slated for July 31.
Amupanda, Kambala and Nauyoma were initially on suspension, with the Swapo disciplinary committee tasked to drag them before a formal hearing, but as July 31 approached the party’s top echelons discontinued the disciplinary hearing and decided to summarily expel the three AR leaders and Ngurare.
The four men are now seeking justice and approached the High Court this week – through their lawyers – to declare their expulsion as illegal. Procedurally, Swapo is now required to respond to the nearly 200-page document filed by the quartet – in which they accuse the party of replacing the “rule of law” with the “rule of men”.
Party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba, in particularly, is the subject of sustained critique by the four, who accuse him of being possessed with a documented hatred of the expelled activists.
Mbumba and Amupanda have in the past exchanged harsh words through the media – as the pair’s disagreement over the approach to solving the country’s land and housing crisis heightened.
Amupanda issued a statement on behalf of the quartet yesterday in which he expressed the hope that the country’s independent judiciary would correct the “monumental political mistakes” made by the party with regard to the expulsions.
Swapo, a movement that fought for justice and fairness, should not allow anti-rule of law and undemocratic seeds to germinate in its rank and file, the ousted men said. “We do so because we believe that Swapo should not allow its constitution, rules and procedures to be subordinated to the rule of men,” they said.
“We also do so, because if we do not a dangerous precedent is being set where people can just wake up one day and receive expulsion letters from the ever rancorous and belligerent Nangolo Mbumba… If we do not stop this practice we are placing the youth in Swapo in a serious danger.”
Mbumba yesterday confirmed that the party has received the voluminous dossier of documents challenging the expulsions, saying the party will react accordingly. “Our secretary for legal affairs [Albert Kawana] is handling the documents served on us. We’ll do what we should do,” Mbumba told New Era.
Ngurare, Amupanda, Nauyoma and Kambala were expelled without the option of appealing the decision ahead of the party’s next elective congress in 2017.