Swapo Walvis candidate 'snubbed'

None of the party's top four leaders has addressed Sirie Topulathana's rallies, with some saying this is due to factionalism, while others say it was to avoid further infuriating the town's fishermen, who lost their jobs due to the so-called Fishrot scandal.

13 January 2020 | Politics

Despite Swapo support dwindling in Walvis Bay and the Erongo Region in general, none of the party's top four leaders have graced any of the rallies for the party's candidate for the Walvis Bay Urban Constituency by-election that takes place on Wednesday.

Sirie Topulathana has seemingly been isolated for her perceived links to Team Swapo, a faction that lost to Team Harambee at the 2017 Swapo elective congress.

Observers said by isolating Topulathana, the party leaders have missed an opportunity to promote unity in the party by embracing all those who contest on its ticket.

She faces a challenge from three candidates, two independent and the other from the resurgent Popular Democratic Movement (PDM).

Swapo insiders claim there had been an internal struggle right from the beginning to get Topulathana endorsed as the party's candidate, because of her perceived association with Team Swapo.

With Swapo hanging onto its Walvis Bay support by its fingernails, there has been a feeling that the party should have unleashed its top leadership - in the form of party president Hage Geingob, vice-president Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah, secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa and deputy SG Marco Hausiku - to reassure the constituency's electorate about the party's plans for them.





Swapo losing support in Walvis Bay has been linked to thousands of fishing jobs being lost through retrenchments that came about after a decision to strip many private companies of their fishing quotas. These quotas were then dished out to the benefit of those involved in the ongoing Fishrot saga, in which over N$150 million in bribes allegedly changed hands.

Former fisheries minister Bernhardt Esau is currently in custody and so is former justice minister Sacky Shanghala. Four other men are also behind bars in relation to the saga.

The retrenched fishermen feel the party and its leaders in government deserted them in their hour of need.

While some believe that the Swapo top four have deserted Topulathana in her quest for office, others feel the leaders have lost credibility at the town and chose not to show up at the rallies.

“Their presence would infuriate the electorate further, especially in Erongo,” a party leader said.

Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah also shares this view.

“I think the main issue is that you do not want to send a person who people are angry with, and thus running the risk of being chased away. It is a very dire situation Swapo is in right now, so it was also like a rescue situation and asking for forgiveness by sending the founding father [Sam Nujoma],” he said.

He added that if Swapo loses the by-election, Nujoma would be in the firing line.

“Let us say an independent candidate wins, then Nujoma's legacy is at risk, because it will say a lot about the legacy of Swapo and the legacy of the big man.”

Only Nujoma and his son Utoni have so far addressed Topulathana's rallies in the build-up to this week's by-election.



No top support

Some insiders, however, believe that Topulathana has no support from the top.

“I would believe that if she was given proper support by the party, she would be so comfortable and confident. It is not only Walvis Bay, the same goes for the Khomasdal candidate. There were also a lot of misgivings and squabbles in the internal selection of a candidate and eventually the current candidate was imposed onto people,” said another source.

Swapo secretary for information Hilma Nicanor said she is aware of people who want to set the agenda for the party, but emphasised that the party has structures and does not believe in individual leadership.

She also rejected the notion that the Team Harambee vs Team Swapo divisions are still at play.

“Swapo has a programme and guiding documents according to which we do our thing as a party. It is unfortunate for those who want to prescribe our things; we do not do our things like that. The members know exactly what to do in terms of identifying candidates. In both cases, the necessary party structure has done the identification in line with party processes. And once the candidates were identified, the whole party rallies behind them,” she said.



Nujoma endorses Topulathana

During a rally on Saturday, Nujoma said Topulathana's experience in the Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) and the Swapo Party Women's Council (SPWC) in the Erongo Region makes her the right person to be next regional councillor for the constituency.

“Comrade Sirie is one of the most dynamic, energetic, focused and humble young leaders in our society. For the past 12 years, she has dedicated her youthful life to the service of the Swapo Party and the community of Walvis Bay,” said Nujoma at a packed Kuisebmund stadium.

Topulathana was entrusted with several responsibilities within the party, Nujoma said.

These include serving as the SPYL secretary for information, mobilisation and publicity for the Getrude Kandanga branch in the Walvis Bay Urban Constituency.

She was also the SPWC's treasurer of the same branch, as well as a member of Swapo's urban district executive committee.

Nujoma also said the party in the Erongo Region has relied heavily on Topulathana, especially for political mobilisation.

“Comrade Sirie understands the needs and aspirations of Walvis Bay residents and has demonstrated the ability to articulate these needs and aspirations very well.”

“As a youth, Comrade Sirie is well-versed with the various challenges faced by the people in the Walvis Bay Urban Constituency, particularly the youth in this constituency,” he said.



Ready

Topulathana thanked the Swapo leadership for nominating her to be the party's candidate and assured the residents of the constituency that she will improve their standard of living.

“My nomination is not a personal victory, but a victory for the Walvis Bay Urban Constituency collectively with the talent that exists in our constituency and to ensure a better life for all our people.

“The Walvis Bay Urban Constituency has a population which continues to grow rapidly. I must therefore ensure that our people have access to education, healthcare, nutrition and skills development, to ensure that they participate in the mainstream of our economy and become skilled,” she said.

ADOLF KAURE AND JEMIMA BEUKES

Similar News

 

Swapo has crippled Rundu – APP

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Politics

All People's Party (APP) secretary-general Vincent Kanyetu says the infighting between Swapo councillors serving on the Rundu town council and the party's various structures is...

Urban voters to decide elections

1 day - 27 January 2020 | Politics

Namibia is fast approaching a tipping point where young, largely urbanised unemployed and relatively educated voters will outweigh less educated and older rural voters in...

N$450m party funding unaudited

6 days ago - 22 January 2020 | Politics

OGONE TLHAGE Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke says there is no law authorising him to...

Louw suspended for Cash Converters shenanigans

1 week ago - 17 January 2020 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia has suspended its technical director, Milton Shaanika Louw, who allegedly pawned five laptops belonging to the Commission. “I can...

EVMs challenged amid by-election joy

1 week ago - 17 January 2020 | Politics

The opposition, which now comprises of the new independent candidacy phenomenon, yesterday celebrated by-election victories against Swapo at Walvis Bay and Keetmanshoop on the eve...

By-elections dampened

1 week ago - 16 January 2020 | Politics

Voting was slow in by-elections that took place in the Khomasdal, Gobabis Urban, Keetmanshoop Urban and Walvis Bay Urban constituencies yesterday, with the opening of...

Scramble for urban vote

2 weeks ago - 14 January 2020 | Politics

This year's regional and local authority elections could produce another watershed moment in politics, with analysts predicting tight contests, especially in urban areas.The tipping point,...

By-election candidates promise change

2 weeks ago - 14 January 2020 | Politics

Candidates standing for key constituency by-elections that will take place tomorrow have promised voters change, saying they will do whatever they can to improve their...

Too broke to challenge ­election results

2 weeks ago - 14 January 2020 | Politics

The Landless People's Movement (LPM) will not be able to make good on its promise to challenge the outcome of last year's general election.The party...

Swapo Walvis candidate 'snubbed'

2 weeks ago - 13 January 2020 | Politics

Despite Swapo support dwindling in Walvis Bay and the Erongo Region in general, none of the party's top four leaders have graced any of the...

Latest News

No evidence of ritual killing

20 hours ago | Crime

The police are contemplating DNA tests, if the police kitty allows, to identify the young Zimbabwean girl whose charred remains were found in a garbage...

Lightning kills 11 cattle in...

20 hours ago | Accidents

A farmer at Epingiro village in the Kavango West Region's Ncamagoro Constituency suffered a loss when lightning killed 11 of his cattle on Sunday evening....

A day in the life...

20 hours ago | People

Michelline Nawatises Samuel Mayele Nghipandulwa is 23 years old and hails from Ruacana, Oshifo. He started grade one and two at Oshoopala Combined School and...

Land question remains unanswered

20 hours ago | Opinion

We have said before that land reform in Namibia, which is currently a hot topic, should not be politicised. There is a general agreement that...

The importance of a pat...

20 hours ago | Columns

Ester KamatiWe often overlook how important it is for a person to be thanked or praised after they’ve put their energy into something which eventually...

Judges throw out shocking spliff...

20 hours ago | Justice

A N$4 000 fine or two-year prison sentence for possession of a single two-gram dagga joint worth N$20 was tossed out by two High Court...

Your future in dance awaits

20 hours ago | Youth

Ester Kamati The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust has the main mandate to create social awareness through the arts and has been doing so for the...

The youth speak up

20 hours ago | Education

Elizabeth JosephYoung people all over Windhoek came together this weekend to discuss ways in which the health ministry and the government can make hospital facilities...

Grade 1 class receives hope

20 hours ago | Education

Elizabeth Joseph Many Namibian children go to school without shoes or so much as a meal to get them through the day. The children...

Load More