Harambee delight

The list of Swapo’s 96 National Assembly candidates for the November general election is dominated by President Hage Geingob loyalists.

09 September 2019 | Politics

The outcome of the Swapo electoral college has seemingly confirmed President Hage Geingob’s unshakable grip on power, with most of his loyalists emerging in pole position to warm the National Assembly benches and cabinet seats after the upcoming general election.

There was a sigh of relief when returning officer Sisa Namandje announced the outcome of the so-called pot in the early hours of yesterday morning.

Geingob’s blue-eyed boys, former Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) MD Tobie Aupindi and National Youth Council (NYC) boss Mandela Kapere, are headed to parliament, after securing enough votes. Aupindi, who was last year convicted on a charge under the Anti-Corruption Act, ended 29th, while Kapere finished 45th.

Geingob was also confirmed as the party’s presidential candidate and yesterday declared there were no losers in the contest.

“Our party won. There are no losers. We should now work with unity of purpose for victory in the November 2019 elections,” he said.

However, those who are not aligned to his so-called Harambee faction were dealt a major blow, and ended low on the parliamentary candidate list.

Among those who performed badly include National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) pot candidates Job Muniaro (135th), Elijah Ngurare (141th) and Jezzy Nombanza, who ended up at 91, although making the 96-strong National Assembly candidate list.

At least two cabinet ministers have been left out in the cold, after failing to make it high enough to return to the National Assembly in March next year. Safety and security minister Charles Namoloh and his labour counterpart Erkki Nghimtina performed dismally at the electoral college, while their cabinet colleagues earned top spots on the Swapo list.

Namoloh, who in 2014 impressively came in at 11 on the Swapo list, completely lost out on a potential seat next year, after finishing at 103. Nghimtina, who finished 43rd during 2014, this time around sneaked in at 95th. However, this will not be enough to secure him a seat, as Swapo only won 77 seats in 2014.

At least four other cabinet ministers, who are currently non-voting members in the National Assembly, were not delegates or candidates at the Swapo pot. They include poverty eradication minister Zephania Kameeta, Kalumbi Shangula (health), Martin Andjaba (presidential affairs and acting education minister) and Obeth Kandjoze (economic planning).

Missing out

Deputy minister Engel Nawatiseb, who was in 2014 part of former President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s ten president nominees, finished at 87, while deputy labour minister Tommy Nambahu also finds himself at the wayside, after finishing 109th. The deputy minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Chief Samuel Ankama, finished at 117th, while former cabinet minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana followed at 118th. Jerry Ekandjo, who was reduced to an ordinary backbencher after the 2017 Swapo congress, where he challenged Geingob for the party presidency, finished at 107, while Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) secretary Eunice Iipinge ended 106th.

Businesswoman Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun, who lost the Swapo deputy SG position to Marco Hausiku in 2017, also performed miserably and came 152nd. However, some of Geingob’s supporters fared badly.

The notable poor performers include former education minister Katrina Hanse-Himarwa (82nd), works deputy minister James Sankwasa (81st), National Assembly speaker Peter Katjavivi (89th), National Council chair Margaret Mensah-Williams (92nd), deputy minister of economic planning Piet van der Walt (85th) and deputy minister of land Priscilla Boois (88th). Deputy public enterprises minister Veikko Nekundi secured 73rd position, while youth league leader Ephraim Nekongo ended 75th. Geingob still has to appoint his ten presidential nominees, who will feature in the top 40 of ruling party’s candidate list.

Shifeta, Iipumbu top

For the second time running, following the 2014 pot, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta dominated the male list of candidates, with well over 190 delegates giving him the nod.

Deputy industrialisation minister and former youth leader Lucia Iipumbu topped the female list, improving from her second position in 2014. Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and home affairs minister Frans Kapofi, as well as MP Johanna Kandjimi, are amongst the top pot performers. They were followed by the likes of Peya Mushelenga, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, Calle Schlettwein, Lucia Witbooi and current Vice-President Nangolo Mbumba. It is not clear at this point whether Mbumba will continue as the country’s vice-president next year, which means he would have to resign from parliament. Shifeta yesterday told Namibian Sun he was humbled by the support and votes he received at the electoral college. “I have no much word to express, in thanking all party members who continue to show confidence in me,” Shifeta said.

“I have no political ambitions really, rather than serving the Namibian nation through my party, Swapo, and its leadership, which deployed me into positions to do my services to the nation to the best of my ability.”

Iipumbu also expressed delight, adding she was overwhelmed by the faith shown in her by the pot delegates.

“I believe those who voted for me see something that I don’t see myself,” she said. Iipumbu also gave an assessment of the performance of the youth, saying they have done relatively done well.

“Myself, Verna (Sinimbo), Jennelly (Matundu) and Paula Kooper are young people of my generation. Even those that are still serving in the structures can prove themselves and eventually make it.”

Dark horses

The pot also served up some surprises and saw former journalist Modestus Amutse making the top 50. Amutse, who is a regional councillor for Oshikuku, finished 47th, while former Rundu mayor Sinimbo is number 34. Oshakati local authority councillor Katrina Shimbulu made the candidate list at 76th, while town CEO Werner Iita came in at 79. Former environment deputy minister Uahekua Herunga came in at 77, while SPWC Erongo regional coordinator Theresia Garises finished at number 80. Over 200 delegates participated in the electoral college.

FESTUS NAKATANA

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