Nujoma told to affirm Geingob candidacy

The nonagenarian had avoided citing names in his prepared speech but he was made to make a commitment on the party's candidate.

11 November 2019 | Politics

Justice minister Sacky Shanghala on Saturday had to stop a Ndilimani Cultural Troupe performance and send former president Sam Nujoma back to the podium to affirm that President Hage Geingob is Swapo's sole presidential candidate in this month's election.

Nujoma's written speech, delivered at Oshikuku, did not cite any candidate's name – with Swapo divided between official party candidate Geingob and party member Panduleni Itula who carved his own off-ramp route towards the same destination of country president.

Nujoma, who still commands a lot of respect within the party after relinquishing its presidency 12 years ago in 2007, had to be whisked back to the podium to publicly declare Geingob as the only party candidate in the November 27 contest.

When Shanghala realised that Nujoma's speech was coming to an end without delving into candidacies, the minister rushed to the former head of state and asked him to affirm Geingob's candidacy.

Geingob served 12 years as prime minister from 1990 to 2002 during Nujoma's presidency.

After Nujoma declared Geingob's sole candidacy, Shanghala translated that announcement into Oshiwambo for hordes of attendees to understand.

In his prepared speech, Nujoma said that all peace-loving Namibians need to campaign peacefully and not to create enemies.

He said that the peace and freedom that Namibia enjoys today was achieved through the barrel of the gun in a war waged by Swapo against foreign colonial occupiers. After independence, the Swapo led government concentrated on nation-building because its leaders remained faithful to the ideologies of those who started the liberation struggle.

“I am calling on all peace-loving Namibians to campaign peacefully because it is a battle of ideas and not a platform to create enemies. Let us all focus on issues and our election manifestos. Let the true character of our nation be revealed in the majority of our debates. I therefore appeal to members of the Swapo Party to find election objectives, politics and election programmes and promote unity of purpose and action,” Nujoma said.

“In the same vein, I appeal to the Swapo district, branch and section leaderships to be ready and make sure that our people are ready to vote for the Swapo Party which is the only political movement that can address the challenges in our country.”

Shanghala said Geingob is the only presidential candidate who will represent Swapo in the election. He therefore urged people to stay away from people calling themselves independent candidates – in a veiled dig at Itula.

“Let us refrain from people calling themselves independent candidates. Don't worry with them travelling all over attracting large numbers of followers. Many of those people are only there to enjoy the benefits that they are offering. Teachers and nurses who are following them will only practice in accordance with the policies put in place by the ruling party,” Shanghala.

Light-heartedly, Shanghala said in 1989 he also followed and attended DTA (now PDM) rallies but with a sole motive to only eat food provided at such events and to listen to what the party was saying. He never voted for DTA, he said.

ILENI NANDJATO

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