Disputes emerge from Okahandja primaries

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Windhoek

Swapo Party’s district coordinator for Okahandja, Valerie Aron, and the information and mobilisation secretary, Victor Nakapandi, want the party’s district conference that took place in Okahandja last weekend to be nullified.
Nakapandi said several irregularities, such as ineligible delegates and branches that did not complete the restructuring exercise, were recorded.

“The Okahandja Swapo members had initially restructured some of its sections, branches and the district, as per the latest directive from the acting coordinator Cde Steve Biko Boois. A number of irregularities were identified at three branches namely, Nehale, Utoni Nujoma and Anton Lubowsky branches,” said district coordinator Valerie Aron in a letter to secretary general Nangolo Mbumba.

In the letter, co-signed by Aron and Nakapandi, the two allege that some Swapo members participated in the exercise, while others had forged party membership cards.

National Assembly Speaker Professor Peter Katjavivi and Public Enterprises Minister Leon Jooste oversaw the proceedings during the marathon conference that lasted over 10 hours.

“Despite the fact that pertinent questions and concerns were ignored, the request to do the vetting at the district conference was completely ignored,” the two said.

“We told Katjavivi about these issues, but he did not listen to us. Some people were ineligible, because they were there under branches they did not belong to. Even the former mayor, Paulina Gomusab, who was expelled from the party, was part of the proceedings, although she did not take part in the elections,” Nakapandi said.

Professor Katjavivi denied the allegations on Monday, saying: “The allegations are a misrepresentation of the facts on the ground. No, no, no! Of course it was a very lengthy event, but all went well and it was a remarkable exercise in the sense that, despite particular challenges, the overall outcome was smooth.”

He said all the results were verified and that he has already informed party leaders of the outcome. Katjavivi said the focus now turns to district conferences in Grootfontein, Otavi and Omatako.

In the letter, which New Era has seen, there are also claims that a certain Kauna Angula, a member of the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), was allowed to take part in the district conference with voting rights, as representing one of the branches.

Political observers, however, note that the disputes are centred on factions within the regional and local authority councils fighting each other for positions. It is understood Okahandja Constituency Councillor Steve Biko Boois heads one faction, while the Mayor Valerie Aron leads the other.

Aron and Boois are not new to controversy. Earlier this year Aron accused Boois of instigating the town’s residents to demonstrate over alleged sidelining of the poor when it comes to the allocation of erven at the town.

The fight to become a candidate in the local authority and regional council elections – scheduled for November – has intensified in recent weeks, with complaints and disputes recorded at almost every district party conference across the country.

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