Itula 'schools' Swapo on his candidacy

The independent candidate feels that the ruling party's commitment to an exclusive candidacy of the president to run for election is a violation of the Namibian constitution.

31 December 2019 | Politics

The independent presidential candidate in last month's general election, Panduleni Itula, says no clauses exist in the Swapo constitution that bar him from standing as an independent candidate while retaining his party membership.

He also feels that the ruling party's commitment to an automatic candidacy of the president of to run for election is a violation of the Namibian constitution and takes away Namibians' right to vote for an independent candidate.

According to him, that creates a situation whereby only Swapo members holding the title of party president may contest elections.

“In 2014, Hage Geingob achieved 87% of the votes. In 2019, it had been reported that Geingob received 56% and I received 30% with the opposition parties' share of the vote remaining relatively the same as in 2014.

“Implicitly, those, including members of Swapo, who voted for Hage Geingob in 2014 changed their votes to me. How then may they be disciplined for voting against party nominated candidate?

“It appears that those members who voted for me are guilty by association and should be subjected to the same measure intended for me. It is practically impossible to elicit those members who voted for me. It nonetheless, practically, impossible, in the absence of a paper trail,” he said.

Itula's response follows a letter that Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa wrote to him, demanding him to show cause why the party should not expel him for his decision to stand as an independent candidate despite the party's decision to endorse President Hage Geingob as its automatic candidate.

In a 28-page document, the dentist explained that it is not a mere response to point out challenges to Swapo's case and what exonerates him but also an effort to school Shaningwa and the party in general.

He also pointed out that the party has not stated clearly which part of the Swapo constitution was violated by his decision to stand independently and also did not make it clear as to who had brought the case against him and what their locus standi in the matter was.

Locus standi is the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court.

“And the allegation appears to be premised on hearsay and extraneous factors. These are contrary to the principles of legality,” he said.

He therefore takes it that if a 'show cause notice' like in the present case indicates that a decision has already been taken by the Swapo Party Central Committee to expel him that there will be no fair hearing because of a premeditated conclusion.

Itula stressed further that the Namibian Constitution allowed him to run as an independent candidate, and therefore in his view Swapo's letter has a deleterious effect of loosening the integrity of the legitimate and valid vote cast by part of the sovereign people.

“The letter or show cause notice is defective in quite a number of areas and one can take exception to those parts although it is not an ordinary court pleading. It is not a proper notice for it does not disclose a cause of action as stipulated above. Although this is not a court case yet the principles set out by the courts in regards to the notices to make representations or to show cause why someone should not be disciplined apply squarely to this case. These cases are normally found in situations where employers write notices to employees asking them to show cause why disciplinary action may not be taken against them,” he said.

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JEMIMA BEUKES

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