PM denies attacking independent candidate

15 May 2019 | Politics

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has denied claims that she attacked 27-year-old Angelina Immanuel, who is standing as an independent candidate for the upcoming Ondangwa Urban by-election.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who is also a member of the Swapo politburo and central committee, said her statements at a ruling party rally in Ondangwa this past weekend were simply about the Swapo rules and procedures with regard to elections.

She said further she called on Swapo members to vote for the party's candidate, 60-year-old businessman Leonard Negonga, as he was obliged to implement the Swapo manifesto.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila was responding to subsequent remarks made by Immanuel.

“In a democratic state, such as ours, people have the freedom to hold and express their different views.

“However, the allegations that the independent candidate was attacked and that the keynote statement at the rally focused on that, instead of outlining government policies, is not true,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila.

“The statement also outlined the achievements of the party and its government, as well as the government policies in place to address the remaining challenges facing our country, including in the Ondangwa Urban constituency.”

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said the mobilisation of party members to throw their support behind their party candidates is a normal way of campaigning all over the world, “including in our country”.

Immanuel, earlier this week labelled Kuugongelwa-Amadhila a “selfish” individual who was handed a high government post and rose to the position of a prime minister, but never created opportunities for young people.

The prime minister hit back by saying she has supported state empowerment programmes for Namibian women and youth “without any reservations”.

She said at party level, where the aim has been to empower women and the youth, she has done the same.

She added whatever support had been provided by government to the youth, was provided as part of systematic efforts to assist young people, and not because someone forced the government to do so.

“We know that there are challenges that continue to face our youth, and government efforts to assist our youth continue.

“Whilst individual Namibians do undertake efforts that support development efforts, including those aimed at women and youth empowerment, these have been to complement the efforts of the government, and it does not mean that the government is not prioritising these issues,” the prime minister said.

“With regard to the assertion that Omashaka location has not enjoyed priority in terms of visits, that is also without substance. As a party and government, we are consistently in touch with our electorate, including through visits to different parts of the country. We know our people and we are informed about the needs of our people, whose needs we have been seized with addressing, and we have a record of several achievements in this regard.”

ILENI NANDJATO