Windhoek – Drama erupted at the Swapo headquarters on Monday when the party’s secretary general Sophia Shaningwa lost her temper over allegations that she had a hand in recommending the award of a contract by Swapo’s business arm, Kalahari Holdings, to her brother Ignatius.
This happened at a press conference that was called by Kalahari Holdings management to clarify an article published by The Namibian last week titled “Swapo deals cause uproar”.
The article suggested that Kalahari Holdings last week rejected a recommendation to award a contract to build party offices at Mariental to a company co-owned by Shaningwa’s brother.
During the conference, Shaningwa demanded that Kalahari Holdings’ acting chairperson Christian Maketo clear her name regarding the tender process, evaluation criteria, adjudication and award of tenders by the party’s company.
Kalahari Holdings is busy awarding tenders to construct party offices in several towns. It has been reported that companies such as Jack Mutua Architects and Richard Frankle & Partners have been roped in to advise and recommend firms that will build some of the offices.
It was also reported that Jack Mutua Architects was tasked with advising Kalahari Holdings on who should get the tender to build the Mariental office, valued at N$7 million.
The Namibian reported that documents show that Jack Mutua Architects shortlisted four companies, but recommended a company called Omatende Trading cc, co-owned by Ignatius Shaningwa and Emilia Kloepas.
Sophia Shaningwa lost her cool on Monday and charged that The Namibian journalist Shinovene Immanuel and Maketo have dragged her name through the mud over allegations that she had something to do with her brother being picked to construct the Mariental office.
She said the article gave an impression that she was “corrupt”.
Shaningwa, who regularly pointed her finger in Maketo’s direction at the press briefing, said she did not bring Jack Mutua Architects on board as insinuated by Maketo, saying she does not know them.
“I never brought any Jack Mutua in this office. I never went to Jack Mutua’s office. I don’t know them. But your information is stipulating that I picked Jack Mutua,” said an irate former Omusati governor.
“I asked these people of Kalahari Holdings to provide me with the list of companies that have been [working] for them. They provided me those companies – it was not through my hands. As a team we sat down and said these are the companies which we think will be able to transform what we are thinking into reality,” she said. She warned to will “deal” with Maketo for dragging her name into their tender process.
“If you haven’t been dealt with then this time I will deal with you. You cannot come here and put issues on my head. I don’t take things easily like that,” a furious Shaningwa warned.
Shaningwa asked why Maketo came to her house on Sunday evening to beg for an apology.
She wanted Maketo to elaborate publicly on his visit to her house.
“Comrade Maketo, on Saturday after the Mariental Swapo Party celebration, without any invitation by myself, ten minutes to eight o’clock you came to my house kneeling and crying that you apparently wanted to apologise. I want you to tell the public why you came to my house and apologise? You wanted to apologise for which damage? The apology you have given at my house privately, I demand the same apology here as I am talking. I can’t go on with my name being damaged for nothing,” Shaningwa demanded.
Maketo responded: “With all fairness, unfortunately, Comrade Sophia Shaningwa, that was a private conversation. I won’t answer that.” Shaningwa went on to warn Maketo not to play with her but just apologise.
Maketo then said: “I will repeat the apology again. If in any manner I offended you my senior and with due respect I will apologise but I will not comment on that one. We have structures and if there is a difference between me and the secretary general then it can be addressed.”
Shaningwa said she has her integrity to protect that she shaped over many years.
“The brother you are talking about is not my child. The brother you are talking about is over 40 years old. The brother you are talking about does not depend on my pocket. I have a question back to you, nonsense… are you saying my brother should not get any work in the Republic of Namibia, or what is this you want to tell me?”
“If my brother is not going to tender and if he is not going to get any work in the republic, is he going to eat at your house?” she asked journalist Immanuel, whom she constantly referred to as “nonsense”. She said she was never implicated in any corruption allegations since her days as a regional councillor for Windhoek West, governor of Khomas and Omusati regions as well as minister of urban and rural development.
“You have never ever heard that Sophia Shaningwa is implicated in taking a single penny from government coffers. If I wanted to be rich, I could have been a corrupted person, having sat on the National Housing Enterprise for more than 10 years dishing out houses to the public. But please don’t cleanse you dirty name with my honourable name,” she reacted angrily.