'Do not insult us'

The head of state says individuals may have received unexplained monies, including from the Fishrot scandal, but none of these funds were paid directly into Swapo's bank accounts.

13 July 2020 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKES

WINDHOEK



President Hage Geingob has bluntly denied that any delegate was paid a cent to vote for certain candidates during the 2017 Swapo congress, calling this accusation “an insult” to those who elected him, the rest of the top four and the central committee.

He also reiterated that he had personally not received a cent from Fishrot accused and former Fishcor board chairperson James Hatukuilipi.

Geingob said he had said as much to an Al Jazeera journalist, who had asked him specifically about this.

“Why should I be stupid, after I lived a good, moral life, and destroy it when I have only a few years to go. They (Al Jazeera) never said anything about me in that (Fishrot) documentary,” he said.

Geingob also responded directly to ongoing accusations that a portion of the N$17.5 million paid into the trust account of his personal lawyer, Sisa Namandje, who was also the returning officer at the Swapo congress election in 2017, had been used to bribe delegates.

“It is an insult to hundreds of delegates, who voted with their conscience for candidates of their choice, only to be accused, without any basis, that they were paid to vote for certain candidates. This is not the Swapo Party way,” he said during a media conference yesterday at the Swapo headquarters in Windhoek.







'We will defend Swapo'

Meanwhile, the party's secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday blamed former party member and independent presidential candidate, Dr Panduleni Itula, for provoking her into saying: “Swapo has all the money.”

She stressed that the party will not shy away from defending itself from attacks.

According to her, Itula threatened the party with legal action and she responded: “Swapo has all the money to defend herself.”

“I did not say we have Fishrot money. We do not have Fishrot money.”

Shaningwa further invited the Namibian nation to come and inspect their audited financial reports and statements.

Geingob also said individuals may have received unexplained monies, including from the Fishrot scandal, but none of these funds were paid directly into Swapo's bank accounts.

The president also said claims that the ruling party deliberately defunded the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to undermine its operations, is a very serious allegation.

“That is not fair, we are setting up these institutions. We love our people and our country, we want to see that our country succeeds and is happy,” he said.



Other parties must come clean

Geingob also kicked the ball into the court of all political parties and independent candidates, who are now obliged to reveal local donors who give more than N$4 million and foreign donors that swell their coffers by more than N$2 million.

On 18 November 2019, the ECN published regulations relating to the declaration of assets and liabilities of political parties and independent candidates, relating to the disclosure of their foreign and domestic funding.

Geingob yesterday blamed “prolonged consultations” and “other bureaucratic processes” for the dillydallying in coming up with the maximum thresholds for disclosure, as required by the Electoral Act of 2014.

“Therefore, until 17 November 2019 the ECN regulations required under the Act, to fix a maximum donation threshold, were non-existent… I must immediately point out that this is the case across the whole political spectrum, including donations, foreign or local, made to other political parties and independent candidates.

“On 18 November 2019, the ECN published regulations relating to declaration of assets and liabilities of political parties, and any other person such as independent candidates, on disclosure of foreign and domestic financing of political parties, in Government Gazette No. 7053,” Geingob said.

He said with the new regulations, for a political party receiving donations beyond the thresholds, it is mandatory that within a period of 30 days this must be published in two Namibian newspapers, specifying the amount of money received, the source from which the money was received, any condition upon which the money was donated and the manner in which it is intended to be used.



Top four candidate funding

Geingob also said Swapo will be appointing a central authority, preferably its secretary for finance and economic affairs, to accept and register donations made to the party. This will enable them to carry out internal due diligence processes before formal acceptance of a particular political donation and to publicly disclose donations exceeding the prescribed threshold.

“The idea is that in future, those who will be vying for internal party positions, such as the top four, will have to receive donations through the central authority of the party. This will not only enhance internal party funding; it will also address the challenge of factionalism within the party.”

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