Windhoek-Former Prime Minister Nahas Angula, who will stand against President Hage Geingob for the position of party president during the Swapo Party’s 6th congress next month, says there are no sour grapes within ‘Team Swapo’, and that they are committed to working with all Swapo members to revitalise, revive and restore the ruling party.
He made the remarks yesterday at the official launch of their joint election campaign. The joint campaign includes seven candidates who are running for the position of Swapo Party president, vice-president, secretary general and deputy secretary general at the upcoming Swapo congress to take place in Windhoek on November 23-27.
The candidates for president are Nahas Angula and Youth Minister Jerry Ekandjo, who will compete against Geingob.
The candidates for the vice presidency include Swapo secretary for information and mobilisation Helmut Angula and Home Affairs Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who will compete against International Relations and Cooperation Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Armas Amukwiyu is vying for the secretary general position against Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa, while Petrina Haingura and Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun will run against the rector of the Swapo Party School, Marco Hausiku, for the position of deputy secretary general.
Nahas Angula yesterday dismissed reports suggesting they are a “bitter” group, saying they are “Team Swapo” and aim to save the party from collapse. He said it currently lacks clear political ideologies and content.
“There are no sour grapes within Team Swapo. Team Swapo is there to save Swapo from collapse. For the past two years, we see a party without ideological and political content. We see that Swapo is just a bureaucracy.
“There are no political guidelines, which you have to mobilise the people. That is why there were problems with regional conferences that were so chaotic… People are just there working that they want a job out of Swapo,” he said.
Angula, himself a former prime minister, further said, although they have been part and parcel of government since independence, their contribution and views were often shot down when it came to decision-making processes.
He cited the case in which a landmark judgment was issued by the High Court last year by acting Judge Collins Parker, who told the Swapo Party they had violated their own rules when they expelled Dr Elijah Ngurare, Job Amupanda, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and George Kambala in 2015.
“I can give an example, when the youth comrades Ngurare and others were expelled from the party, I warned my comrades at central committee that we should respect natural justice. I was ignored. What happened? These comrades took the matter to the court and it was found we have violated our own rules. We were ashamed to have violated our own rules. If the comrades could have respected natural justice, we could not have been taken to court,” Angula remarked.
When asked why they are playing the blame game in suggesting the current top leadership caused the county’s credit rating to be relegated to junk status, Angula said during their tenure Namibia was never downgraded.
“When we were there Namibia was not a junk status. I can tell you from junk status, the next step is a failed state if we don’t arrest the situation. So, Swapo is the only party that mobilise the masses, especially the productive forces to rescue the country from economic collapse,” he said.
Iivula-Ithana, who is vying for vice president, has called on the Swapo leadership to ensure every candidate gets an equal share of available resources during their campaigns.
This follows speculation that some candidates contesting for top positions have requested the party leadership to avail resources to fast-track their campaigns. Swapo Party secretary general Nangolo mbumba is yet to give feedback in this regard.
“Our statement is saying we are hiding information about the economy of the country from the public… Why should we hide the situation from ourselves? This is the time we should tell ourselves the truth and tighten the belt and work harder,” Iivula-Ithana remarked.
She also queried how Namibia can establish food banks if it cannot produce sufficient food for the population.
“We must work hard to contribute to the economy and not wait to be given food. How can you have food banks if you can’t produce food yourself? We can have [a] food bank, because our country is prone to weather disasters. When we are faced with disasters, then we can revert to food banks, but able-bodied Namibians being fed from shops worked by others is sinful.
“We can work for ourselves. The spirit of working hard for ourselves must be rekindled. We can’t be a junk status, she said.