Swapo tells Ya Nangoloh to apologise or forget membership

02 November 2021 | Politics



Swapo yesterday said the membership of self-styled human rights defender and staunch critic of the ruling party Phil ya Nangoloh will not be approved until he apologises to founding president Sam Nujoma and other party leaders.

The party’s secretary-general, Sophia Shaningwa, said at a press conference that the Politburo and the Central Committee had resolved that Ya Nangoloh should only be issued with a membership card if he complied with the apology requirement.

Ya Nangoloh was quoted in The Namibian yesterday as saying he would never apologise for whatever he had said about Nujoma in the past.

Yesterday on ‘The Evening Review’, Namibian Sun’s daily talk show, it was pointed out that Ya Nangoloh’s application to indict Nujoma at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes has not been withdrawn.

“How can you have a Swapo member with an active indictment request at the ICC against the founding president of the same party? What’s the hype about Ya Nangoloh? Swapo will not gain anything by having him as a member. In fact, we could lose votes,” said Benitha Nakaambo of the Namibia Exile Kids Association (Neka) on the show.

Neka and the Swapo Windhoek East district leadership have both issued public statements condemning plans by Swapo leaders to issue membership to Ya Nangoloh.

Apologise first

Ya Nangoloh recently applied for Swapo party membership to the office of the secretary-general, who then took his application for scrutiny by the party’s Politburo “for a collective decision to be taken”.

The Politburo on 1 September resolved to issue Ya Nangoloh a membership card, provided that he first tendered a public apology to the founding president and other party leaders.

On 14 September 2021, Ya Nangoloh was engaged by the secretary-general and the administration deputy director and allegedly agreed to publicly apologise, but has not done so.

“Bear in cognisance that Mr Ya Nangoloh had previously been a critic of the party and its leadership, to the extent of requesting the ICC to investigate the founding president of the Namibian nation and other Swapo leaders,” said Shaningwa.

Shaningwa said the press conference was meant to be a platform for ya Nangoloh to apologise and not to parade Ya Nangoloh as a new member.

“It was never ever the intention of the Political Bureau, nor of the Central Committee of Swapo Party, nor of the secretary-general, to have a red carpet welcome for Mr Ya Nangoloh.”

Shaningwa further explained that the membership card of Ya Nangoloh still has not been signed off pending his apology.

“Swapo Party will therefore not proceed with issuing a membership card to Mr Ya Nangoloh pending this public apology and that must be very clear.”

She further explained that the decisions of the party’s Central Committee and Political Bureau are not her own.

“The secretary-general has no authority to change the decisions of the Political Bureau.

“The decisions of the congress of Swapo Party are not the secretary-general’s decisions. I don’t make decisions as a secretary-general.”

She added that the party would “reject any attempt, or pressure of any form or kind to be used as a vehicle in reducing the respect towards the founding father of the Namibian nation”.

Shaningwa stated that the party would not hesitate to issue Ya Nangoloh a membership card if he changes his mind about the apology.

“The Swapo party will not have any problem if Mr Ya Nangoloh reconsiders to publicly apologise. I do not see any problem why the party should refuse.”

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