2017 congress ‘destroyed’ Swapo

The ruling party SG says factions along Team Harambee and Team Swapo almost brought the party to its knees, but believes these mistakes have now been rectified.

23 November 2020 | Politics

TUYEIMO HAIDULA







OSHAKATI

Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa said factionalism emanating from the elective in 2017 ‘almost destroyed’ the party.

Addressing a mini rally at Oshakati on Saturday, Shaningwa said the party has introspected and that factions are now a thing of the past.

“We had Team Harambee and Team Swapo. It almost destroyed the party. After our introspection, we have decided enough is enough,” she said to a crowd.

“We then sat and discussed what is causing problems in Swapo. No more factions. We are all one,” she said.

In 2017, President Hage Geingob’s Team Harambee slate won all positions on offer. Allegations of buying votes using money from the so-called Fishrot scandal emerged, but Shaningwa on Saturday denied this again.

Deeply divided

The party went into the 2019 general deeply divided and the final results, where the party lost its two-thirds majority, were largely blamed on internal factionalism.

The ruling party has this year changed its slogan to “We have heard you”. Shaningwa denied they did this because they lost votes last year. She said this move was to reiterate that they have always heard the Namibian people.

Fishrot shouts

While addressing the gathering, some party supporters in attendance chanted “Fishrot”, much to Shaningwa’s annoyance, who challenged Namibians who have evidence that the party benefitted from the landmark fishing quota bribery scandal to come forward.

“We don’t care about Fishrot money. Some of them also ate Fishrot money. It was eaten by individuals and not the party. If anyone has seen Swapo with that money, come and take out the money you think Swapo has in its coffers,” she said.

Don’t vote for anarchy

Shaningwa told Namibians to make sure the ruling party does not lose its two-thirds majority in the National Council, saying they voted ‘unruly’ people into the National Assembly last year.

She pleaded with voters to correct the ‘mistake’ the made.

Swapo enjoyed an overwhelming majority in the National Assembly since 1994 and reached a high of winning 77 out of 96 voting seats in the 2014 election. This changed last year when the ruling party secured only 63 seats.

Shaningwa said those voted into Parliament are frustrating the ruling party’s leaders as no bills are being passed and no constructive discussions are taking place. This, she said, because of ‘never-ending bickering’.

She said the ‘unruly’ members of the National Assembly are always busy swearing at the founding president Sam Nujoma, former president Hifikepunye Pohamba and President Hage Geingob.

“These are the people you want to vote to National Council? The mistake we made should not be repeated. We should feel guilty that our salaries don’t commensurate with the work we do. We are in parliament making noise. They just want to cause distractions and come to blame us.

“Don’t allow them to get seats. They will be a distraction. We want to work but we are distracted because there is no order in the house,” she said.

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