Swapo puts its foot down on primaries feuds

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Windhoek

Swapo deputy secretary general Laura McLeod-Katjirua says the party continues to put out the fires that have sprung up from the friction at its primaries countrywide, where members are vying for candidacy in the upcoming regional council and local authority elections.

The disputes have raised concerns among ardent Swapo followers, who fear that the party could be plunged into political instability and infighting ahead of the key elections.

However, McLeod-Katjirua yesterday called for calm, saying that despite the recent developments being a concern to the party, “it is nothing the party cannot deal with”.

Earlier this month, the party had to stop its restructuring in the Grootfontein, Okahandja and Omatako areas because of several qualms and complaints.

Last week in Kalkrand, police officers had to be called in at a Swapo meeting after disgruntled party supporters locked a hall in which delegates, which included Hardap Governor Esme Isaack and Minister of Education, Arts and Culture Katrina Hanse-Himarwa,were having a district executive meeting.

The meeting was to elect four candidates whose names would be sent for vetting at the head office, before they contest the right to represent the party in Rehoboth Rural Constituency.

Yesterday The Namibian reported that the secretary of finance for the Swapo Party Elders’ Council at Oniipa, Eddy Kapembe, had accused Swapo district coordinator Jerry Ngwena of politically vicitmising him.

It was reported that Kapembe made the allegation after his name was struck off the list of Swapo candidates for the Oniipa Town Council in the forthcoming local authority elections. The list was drawn up at the party’s district executive committee meeting held at Oniipa on Sunday.

McLeod-Katjirua yesterday said: “This is not the first election. We have dealt with these things in the past because it always happens during elections. But anyway, these are inner party issues and I do not think they need to go to the media.”

With the fighting for positions out in the open, McLeod-Katjirua pinned the situation on “frustrated and vulnerable individuals”.

“Sometimes when people are frustrated they become vulnerable and run to the media, but those who go there may be wrong because media will not solve the problem,” she said.

She said there are those that are only after positions instead of the well-being of the party, and who claim they were disadvantaged after they lose internal elections.

Despite efforts from the Treasury to keep a tight lid on public spending, local councils remain a constant thorn in the flesh of those administering the state purse.

Several auditor general reports have highlighted how local authorities failed to properly account for their finances by underspending or overspending, while some have been lashed for bypassing normal procedures to award lucrative state contracts for road construction, land servicing and sales, as well as failing to fully implement capital projects.

The ruling party recently circulated a letter to all regional coordinators informing them that all districts must have elected their candidates by next Friday. This goes for the identification of local authority councillors as well.
The Electoral Commission of Namibia is yet to announce the date on which the elections will take place.

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