Swapo suspends dissidents

Otjozondjupa governor Otto Iipinge is one of six Swapo Party regional leaders who allegedly resisted a “regional restructuring exercise”.

14 June 2019 | Politics

Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday refused to comment on the sudden suspension of six influential party leaders in Otjozondjupa.

Otjozondjupa governor Otto Iipinge, along with three regional councillors and two local authority councillors at Grootfontein, were suspended from all Swapo activities this week, allegedly for their continued interference in a regional restructuring exercise.

Among those suspended are Okahandja constituency councillor Steve Booys, his Otjiwarongo counterpart Julius Neumbo and Nelao Amagulu, the regional councillor for Grootfontein.

Two Grootfontein town councillors, Jack Tsanigab and Absai Haimene, have also been suspended. Their suspension is expected to be discussed at an upcoming politburo meeting.

“Why do you want to put your nose in the business of the politburo?” Shaningwa asked yesterday when approached for comment.

Booys also refused to comment, saying he was not aware of his suspension, while Iipinge also would not comment.

The six are accused of undermining the elected leadership of Swapo in the region.

They have also been accused of conducting illegal and “unauthorised renewal of mandates” within districts of Otjiwarongo and Grootfontein.

“A necessary corollary or consequence of the suspension is that the suspended comrades must forthwith cease to engage themselves in any Swapo Party activities pending pronouncement by the political bureau of the Swapo Party,” said Swapo regional coordinator Susan Hikopua.

“The regional executive committee has on numerous occasions condemned these unsavoury actions. In particular, the leadership sought the intervention of the office of the secretary-general in order to restore normalcy. However, the Otto Iipinge-led group has rebuffed these bona fide attempts and vowed to take all necessary actions to remove the current leadership from their positions,” Hikopua said.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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