Geingob calls self-proclaimed campaigners to order

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Albertina Nakale

Windhoek-President Hage Geingob – in emphasising unity during the build-up to next month’s Swapo elective congress – yesterday strongly condemned individuals who publicly go around saying they are his campaign managers.
The president also condemned those who insult and belittle others in his name on social media.
Geingob is among aspirants for the Swapo presidency.

He furthermore responded to allegations made last week by, amongst others, former prime minister Nahas Angula, that he (Geingob) intimidated and threatened ministers who sit in the party’s politburo, ahead of nominations last Thursday.

Geingob reacted yesterday when he opened the Swapo central committee meeting that was set to finalise nominations for the party’s secretariat.

He specifically reacted to northern businessman and political activist Sigo Amunyela, who on Thursday held a press conference in Oshakati where he publicly declared he was under Geingob’s instructions to hold a conference to announce that he is the official campaign manager for ‘Team Hage’.

“He called a press conference and said he is ‘Team Hage’ and is also my campaign manager. I called him and condemned that he shouldn’t do that. So, let’s play the [game] and not the man,” Geingob reacted.
Amunyela said those against Geingob’s nomination list of the top four positions in Swapo were jealous for not making the list.

“If they don’t believe in him they must resign and leave the government under Comrade HGG [Hage Gottfried Geingob] now,” Amunyela said.

“This thing of someone saying I was threatening people holds no basis. My house has always been an open house, even in exile. I have never said comrade Nahas [Angula] is selfish. That person must come out and say that I said it,” Geingob challenged.

Geingob, after availing himself and revealing those he preferred to work with him at the helm of the party, was last week nominated to become party president.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah was nominated for vice-president. Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa was nominated for the secretary-general position, while Swapo School acting rector Marco Hausiku, himself a former cabinet minister, was nominated for the deputy secretary-general position.

Regarding people insulting people on social media in his name, Geingob said: “I am not part of that. I have never done that and I am not instructing anybody to attack the character of others. I condemn those doing it.”
Geingob said this year Swapo’s internal democracy would be tested.

He cited chapter II of the Swapo constitution, which states that a member of Swapo Party has the right to elect and be elected to positions of authority.

Therefore, he said, those who qualify to contest elections have the right to do so as per the constitution.
“Today we will be launching our official campaign. It should be a campaign based on issues and not personalities. It should be a robust campaign characterised by presentation of concrete proposals to take the country forward,” he noted.

In all democratic elections, Geingob said, there is nothing wrong with having factions during contestation.
“Contestation will be there to deliver a winner. Let’s kick the ball and not the man. When you play the ball and the game is over, then you kick the ball away and you go on and build your nation. But if you kick a man, there will be a wound and it’s going to disturb. I appeal that we do things the Swapo way. Debate, argue and not fight, and at the end hold hands,” he encouraged.

He said he would lead by example, adding that during the 2012 Swapo congress he emerged a victor but still made his congress opponents, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Jerry Ekandjo, his ministers.

“When elections were over, since we were fighting in a straightforward way, the ball was kicked away. Both didn’t make it to parliament but I picked them up and brought them to parliament. I appointed them as ministers – they are still ministers,” he said.

Ekandjo reportedly expected to be nominated as a candidate for the Swapo presidency at yesterday’s central committee meeting. Also expecting nominations were Iivula-Ithana and Helmut Angula for vice-president, while Nahas Angula had also hoped for a nomination for presidency.

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