Swapo to tackle Kavango East standoff

Senior leaders of the ruling party will meet at Rundu tomorrow after the regional leadership failed to elect delegates to the electoral college at the weekend.

02 September 2019 | Politics

Swapo secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa will be in Rundu tomorrow to meet with the party's Kavango East Regional leaders after the regional structure failed to elect delegates to the electoral college at the weekend.

This follows after events on Friday where the party's Kavango East Regional Executive (REC) failed to execute the directive of the Politburo by not conducting its regional conference which should have elected candidates and delegates to the party's electoral college.

According to Shaningwa's letter to Swapo's Kavango East regional coordinator Ottilie Shinduvi, dated 31 August, the meeting will also be attended by the party's leaders assigned to the region, some members of the Politburo as well as party members delegated by her office.

“I am writing this letter to inform you that I am going to undertake an official visit to your region on Tuesday, 3 September 2019, with the view of meeting the Swapo Party Rundu Urban District Executive Committee and the Swapo Party Kavango East Regional Executive Committee members,” the letter reads.

When contacted comment yesterday, Shaningwa refused to confirm or deny the authenticity of the letter before she abruptly ended the call.

Prior to the letter announcing her visit, Shaningwa had written to Shinduvi in a letter dated 29 August, informing her about a Politburo meeting that took place on 28 August where the report on the issue of the renewal of mandate in the Kavango East Region, which was prepared by the leaders assigned to the region, had been endorsed.

The Swapo Politburo had then instructed the Kavango East Region to conduct its regional conference before or on Friday, where candidates and delegates to the party's electoral college, known as the “pot”, were to be elected.

However the conference did not take place as scheduled because of the feud between the Kavango East REC members and the party's leaders assigned to the region.

A demonstration also took place at the entrance of the party's offices which resulted in the regional conference being called off.

Swapo party's chairperson of the leaders assigned to Kavango East, James Sankwasa, and his delegation were left with no option but to leave the party's offices because their meeting with the REC was a flop.

The feud between the Swapo Party Kavango East REC and the leaders assigned to the region currently is all about the outcome of the Rundu Urban District conference which took place on 13 August where Gabriel Hakusembe was elected as the new district coordinator.

It appears that certain members of the Swapo Party Kavango East REC do not approve of Hakusembe's victory over the former Rundu Urban district coordinator, Muranda Malakia. The matter remains complex as factions appear to exist within Swapo's Kavango East political landscape, an issue which Shaningwa and her delegation is expected to address tomorrow at their meeting.

With Shinduvi absent from office because of health reasons, Swapo Party Kavango East regional mobiliser Bonifatius Wakudomo will handle the events in the region as they unfold.

Wakudumo on Friday made it clear to the public that they will not proceed with a regional conference as long as the issues surrounding the Rundu Urban District conference are not ironed out.

But Kavango East is not alone in its chaos.

According to Swapo's regional coordinator for Otjozondjupa, Susan Hikopua, they will have their conference on Wednesday and has also not yet submitted their names for the electoral college yet.

Otjozondjupa has had its fair share of political troubles and has been at loggerheads with Shaningwa when the regional leadership suspended six party officials, including governor Otto Ipinge, with immediate effect in June this year.

These included Okahandja constituency councillor Steve Biko Booys, regional councillor for Otjiwarongo constituency Julius Neumbo and Jack Tsanigab, local authority councillor for Grootfontein municipality.

Also, suspended are Grootfontein mayor Absai Haimene and Grootfontein constituency councillor Nelao Amagulu.

At the time Swapo's regional coordinator for Otjozondjupa Susan Hikopua said the group were suspended because they were allegedly arranging demonstrations against the legitimately elected leadership in the region, with the ultimate aim to remove them from office.

They were also accused of interfering with the Otjiwarongo, in particular in Ombili and DRC settlements.

The suspension has since been overturned.

KENYA KAMBOWE & JEMIMA BEUKES

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