Rundu-Minister of Youth, Sport and National Service Jerry Ekandjo, who is vying for the Swapo presidency under Team Swapo, told a campaign at Rundu on Saturday that the Swapo constitution does not make provision for candidates eyeing the party’s top four positions to get endorsements.
He made the remarks in response to several wings of the party and regional structures endorsing President Hage Geingob and his team as preferred candidates for the positions of Swapo party president and vice president, secretary general and deputy secretary general for the congress.
Ekandjo said in his view such political endorsements were illegal and unconstitutional, but did not specify which parts of the party constitution or the law prevents such endorsements of preferred candidates.
“For those that are endorsed, you are misled because at the end of the day it is a secret ballot. Endorsement is illegal and the issue of sole candidate is also illegal, and the statement that was made in Gobabis that they have won is illegal.
“What about if they don’t win? The congress can produce wonders, the outcome will be different, that is why we all have to defend the constitution of Swapo Party, not those that wants to hijack it by coming through the backdoor of endorsement,” Ekandjo charged.
The regional political leadership, including the governor and local and regional constituency councillors was conspicuously absent from the campaign rally, but Hambukushu leader Erwin Munika Mbambo and Vambunza leader Hompa Alfons Kaundu were present.
“We are not going to allow endorsements; never again in the history of Swapo will we violate the constitution. Election has to take place and during the congress the returning officer will dissolve the whole central committee, including the top four, and call for fresh elections. That’s why Team Swapo is here to defend the constitution of Swapo Party,” he continued.
Ekandjo said the two factions, Team Harambee and Team Swapo, were not supposed to campaign separately and suggested his rivals bring their supporters to his campaign rallies.
“We are here as Team Swapo and it will also be good if they can also join us here. We have got different supporters, but we brought them together so that their supporters can also be here, so that after the elections we can form unity.
“But they want to stay apart and call themselves Harambee. So, I think in the future even if we have 10 candidates for the same position we must serve as one team as we are here, then there will be no differences,” he said.
“I have got my supporters, Helmut has got his, but they are missed. Why has Hage taken his [supporters] apart? So has [Nandi] Ndaitwah, as well as Sophia [Shaningwa], so I hope in the future we should just be one team, because at the end of the day we are all Swapo members, not Team Swapo and Harambee members,” he said. Ekandjo further claimed Team Harambee has been going around telling candidates, supporters and traditional authorities – especially in Zambezi Region – that Team Swapo are campaigning to take over the presidency of the country.
“The current president of the Republic of Namibia was elected unanimously. We all campaigned, we went to the villages, so that he can get 87 percent as a Swapo presidential candidate and he will continue with his term of office until 20th of March 2020.
“President Geingob is acting as party president after former president Pohamba relinquished the presidency duties, because the party presidency is elected through a congress,” Ekandjo said.
Meanwhile, Nampa quoted former prime minister Nahas Angula as having said that as a Team Swapo candidate for the Swapo Party presidency he was ready to serve the party, as it was under siege from those given the mandate to lead it. Angula claimed there were deliberate efforts under way to weaken the party and eventually to destroy it.
According to Angula, the first thing the current leadership did wrong was to weaken the party’s political values and ideologies, which caused people to lose political direction. This, he said, was the first attack on the party.
The second attack, he said, was the alleged attempt to alienate the party from its traditional support base. “I am speaking here about the workers, the youth, peasants, students and women who have been the pillars of the party,” he said.
The third attack, Angula claimed, was the unprocedural expulsion of the dissident youth of the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL), whom he said have since been replaced by young ‘yes-men’ and ‘yes-women’.
The rally was attended by several former ministers, including Richard Kamwi, Lempy Lucas, Rosalia Nghidinwa, Isak Katali, Moses Amweelo, Peter Ilonga, Ngarikutuke Tjiriange, as well as business personalities like Desmond Amunyela and Vaino Nghipondoka.