Swapo does Hage no favours

12 July 2019 | Opinion

Much has been said and written about Katrina Hanse-Himarwa’s corruption conviction and her subsequent resignation as education minister.

For now she remains a Swapo MP in the National Assembly. With months to go before the 2019 general election, there was little choice for Hanse-Himarwa, with reliable information pointing to the fact that President Hage Geingob would have removed her from his cabinet in any event. Those who have leapt to her defence point to the fact that others in the ruling party have enjoyed impunity in terms of not being held to account for their supposed crimes. They have also pointed to Swapo factionalism playing a part in the prosecution of Hanse-Himarwa, given that she is a leading member of the so-called Harambee grouping, which is being opposed by the Team Swapo faction. It has not helped that these two factions, who contested for the top positions in the party during the 2017 Swapo congress, seem to still be on a collision course. The all-or-nothing approach to the congress, which saw the factions presenting different slates, has led to a hangover of immense proportions.

However, Swapo SG Sophia Shaningwa, who was on the Harambee slate, is not helping matters. Her response to questions posed about Hanse-Himarwa’s political future within the party on Wednesday was as follows: “Listen here, I really want to tell you that at this time honourable Katrina Hanse-Himarwa is going through too many things. And it is also painful, wherever she is. I do not want to discuss with anyone of you about those issues of honourable Katrina. I do not enjoy the downfall of anybody, it is not my culture. Do not ask me and do not call me anymore,” Shaningwa said.

This is all good and well, but Swapo needs to say something, because one of its own has been ruled corrupt by a High Court judge. Factionalism needs to give way to principle, as Geingob continues his drive to hold leaders accountable.

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