Swapo's Itula albatross

Swapo says it is consulting its lawyers on how best to deal with the Dr Panduleni Itula situation, amid increasing calls for the party to expel the dentist, who has now been confirmed as a presidential candidate for the 27 November elections.

21 October 2019 | Local News

Swapo effectively has two presidential candidates for next month's election - one duly elected by the party's congress of 2017, and an unorthodox one that is seeking to exploit perceived loopholes in the former liberation movement's constitution. President Hage Geingob was ratified by formal party structures as its sole presidential candidate for the November 27 elections, but around his neck is an albatross called Dr Panduleni Itula, a UK-trained dentist who independently carved out his own path towards the state presidency. And, as in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', in which a sailor who shot a friendly albatross was forced to wear its carcass around his neck as punishment, Itula is a burden that the formal Swapo structures have not been able to rid the party's neck of. Academics in Swapo and the party's own think tank have exhausted all avenues of its constitution to find that killer clause that would put the final nail into the coffin of Itula's unprecedented ambition, but seemingly to no avail.

Now the party literally has two candidates - although the dentist is not formally considered as such by party insiders.

Both men registered their candidacies with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) last week.

Party secretary-general Sophia Shaningwa was in foul mood on Friday when asked what action, if any, the party was contemplating against the man considered a “rebel candidate” by the establishment.

“You are so cowardice, you are asking me [instead of Itula] (sic),” she told journalists at the ECN headquarters after the party had registered Geingob as its sole candidate. Shaningwa was reacting to questions on what action the party intended to take against Itula. “I'm not a culprit, the culprit is there.”

“On whose flag is he standing? We will deal with the situation. Swapo Party is a party of discipline,” the former Omusati governor said.

She said it was none of the journalists' business that the party has been dragging its feet on Itula's candidacy, which was birthed earlier this year, but was laughed off like an amateur comedian's joke.

Commenting on the possibility of Itula contesting as an independent candidate while retaining his Swapo membership, President Geingob in an interview with New Era in March this year said: “Don't forget I'm a political scientist. How do you field an independent candidate within Swapo?

“The party constitution is very clear that the candidate has to be the president of Swapo. To be an independent candidate you have to leave Swapo.

“Even then, you have to look at the Namibian Constitution - it's not that simple. People have freedom to say things - stupid or clever.”

Swapo said over the weekend that it is consulting its lawyers on how best to deal with the Itula situation, amid increasing calls for the party to expel the dentist.

On the possibility of being ushered through the exit door, Itula yesterday said: “I shall retaliate with devastating consequences.”

He did not elaborate on this.

A party insider says Swapo was “caught off-guard” by Itula's candidacy.

“It seems all along the view was that Itula would not garner enough votes in the regions to register. Little did the party realise that the anger and resentment seems overwhelming, because of economic hardship, especially around the issue of fishing striking workers that were dismissed and the party did nothing,” the party official said.

There is also a feeling within Swapo that the party helped create an unwanted precedent by not plucking holes in its constitution, especially after one of its members, Katjanaa Kaurivi, stood as independent candidate for the Otjombinde constituency elections in 2015.

Kaurivi became a councillor by beating Swapo-endorsed candidate Karii Marenga with 1 396 votes, while the latter received 681 votes.

“The issue of Otjombinde independent candidate, where the party did nothing [set a bad precedent]. These were the undercurrents which seem to have been ignored,” another party insider said.


Similar News


Ta futitha epangelo oomiliyona 1.4

4 hours ago | Local News

JANA-MARI SMITH OVENDUKA Frederik Petrus Fridel ota pula ompangu opo yi zimine a futwe oshimaliwa shomiliyona yimwe omolwa efufu lye lyokomutse...

Ye vulithe po 120 ya kanitha iilonga popoloyeka yaWu

4 hours ago | Local News

KENYA KAMBOWE RUNDU Konyala aantu ye li pe 120 oya kanitha iilonga yawo mEtiyali moRundu sha landula omananathano pokati komunangeshefa Omuchina, Stina Wu,...

Red Cross raises N$8.8m for Covid-19

1 day - 03 June 2020 | Local News

NAMPARUNDUThe Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS) has so far raised a total of N$8 815 805 for its N$31 million national response plan to the...

Kavango vote haunts PDM

2 days ago - 02 June 2020 | Local News

Kenya KamboweRUNDU Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) leader McHenry Venaani blames the party's poor performance in last November's general election in the two Kavango regions on...

'Kalunga oye awike te mu pangula'

2 days ago - 02 June 2020 | Local News

FRANCOISE STEYNBERGOVENDUKABabi gwongeleka yoHouse of Joy Ministries, pamwe nomutamanekwa naye, Friza Dumeni otaya tamanekelwa iipotha mbyoka omolwa ooniga dhoompanda oshilwitho niikuti mbyoka ya adhika megumbo...

Omudhipagi gwomoRundu a shunwa mondjeedhililo

2 days ago - 02 June 2020 | Local News

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDU Omulumentu ta tamanekelwa edhipago, ngoka a li a yi kombanda yiikundaneki sho a mangululwa mondjeedhililo yaRundu sho oshipotha she sha kuthwa mo momusholondondo...

Lockdown fully enforced at Walvis Bay

3 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Local News

LEANDREA LOUWWALVIS BAY Walvis Bay is now home to three active coronavirus cases after a 51-year-old man tested positive for the virus last Saturday....

Wanted: Executives for Rundu council

3 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Local News

KENYA KAMBOWERUNDU The financially-limping Rundu town council has launched a hunt to fill several positions, including that of a CEO.The council is looking...

Aayugi ya mono oshiponga

3 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Local News

ILENI NANDJATOOMAALALA Omuniilonga omukiintu moshipangelo shopaumwene shOndangwa Private Hospital okwa yugwa komulungu gwondjembo kaalumentu yane, oshimaliwa sha thika pooN$200 000 komeho goombaanga yoFirst...

Omalovu taga patululwa

3 days ago - 01 June 2020 | Local News

JEMIMA BEUKESOVENDUKA Omalvou otaga ka pitikwa okulandithwa okuza uusiku wesiku lyotango lya Juni, kakele mondoolopa yaMbaye.Ondoolopa yaMbaye moka aantu yaali ya kwatwa kombuto yocorona...

Latest News

Pupils in God's hands

4 hours ago | Education

ILENI NANDJATOOMUNGWELUMEWhile learners at Omungwelume Senior Secondary School squat in shacks due to an incomplete hostel, their principal has placed the situation in God's hands.“They...

Shimbulu wins first round against...

4 hours ago | Justice

ILENI NANDJATOOSHAKATIThe Windhoek High Court yesterday ordered the Oshakati town council not to implement an order by Swapo to replace councillor Katrina Shimbulu.The court also...

Central hospital gears for corona...

4 hours ago | Health

STEFFI BALZARWINDHOEKPresident Hage Geingob yesterday inaugurated an intensive care and isolation ward at the Windhoek Central Hospital, which will be used as part of the...

Heavy is the head

4 hours ago | Opinion

President Hage Geingob will deliver his State of the Nation Address today during what many have described as the gravest time for post-democratic Namibia.If any...

Fishrot investigators get more time

4 hours ago | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKThe State has been allowed more time to complete its investigations into the Fishrot bribery scandal. Windhoek magistrate Ingrid Unengu yesterday refused to set...

Ondangwa robbers still at large

4 hours ago | Crime

ILENI NANDJATOONDANGWAThe Oshana police have so far recovered over N$92 000 of the N$200 000 stolen from a woman in front the Ondangwa FNB branch...

Gustavo denied bail

4 hours ago | Justice

OGONE TLHAGEWINDHOEKFishrot accused Ricardo Gustavo was denied bail in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court yesterday.Magistrate Johannes Shuuveni said in his judgment that the charges faced by...

Let's be positive – Steenkamp

4 hours ago | Education

STAFF REPORTER WINDHOEK The executive director in the ministry of education, Sanet Steenkamp, yesterday encouraged teachers and learners to be positive, saying that...

No community transmission of Covid-19

4 hours ago | Health

ELLANIE SMIT WINDHOEK Health ministry executive director Ben Nangombe has confirmed there has still been no community transmission of the coronavirus...

Load More