Young lions kick Swapo to the kerb
27 August 2020 | Politics
A raft of radical youth, among them Walvis Bay Urban constituency councillor Knowledge Iipinge and Affirmative Repositioning leader Job Amupanda, chose yesterday's Heroes' Day commemoration to formally announce their departure from Swapo, setting the scene for a bruising contest with the ruling party in the upcoming local and regional authority elections. AR's branches in Walvis Bay and Windhoek have already registered with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN), so they are free to field candidates in the upcoming election, with Amupanda having expressed his ambition to become the mayor of Windhoek.
AR's top brass explained yesterday that their official departure from Swapo was because they could no longer be associated with a party that is synonymous with corruption.
They also railed against the looting of state funds, the “betrayal” of the liberation struggle and the construction of the new Swapo headquarters, to the tune of N$730 million, by a Chinese firm.
Among the young lions who have now officially left the ruling party are Amupanda, George Kambala, Dimbulukeni Nauyoma and Pau Pau.
Amupanda, Kambala and Nauyoma founded AR in 2014 and in November that year cleared land in the leafy suburb of Kleine Kuppe, naming the plot 'Erf number 2014', while raging against high rental prices in Windhoek and nepotism when it comes to the allocation of Windhoek plots.
After being booted out of Swapo, along with former youth wing leader Elijah Ngurare, they were reinstated by a landmark High Court ruling, but the enmity continued, with AR widely supporting independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula during last year's State House election race. The contest saw Geingob's votes declining sharply to 56% compared to the 87% attained in 2014, while Swapo lost its two-thirds majority for the first time since 1994.
“It is high time; our thoughts and consciousness will not sit well with us. It is not in contact with its values and members,” Kambala said yesterday about their decision to leave Swapo.
“It is immoral to be associated with such a party,” he added.
Kambala also took issue with the construction of the party's new headquarters, saying the timing was off.
“A socialist movement will not build a multi-storey building next to a dilapidated hospital,” he said.
Pau, the movement's head of elections, said the reason its top brass left the party was to honour the heroes of the liberation struggle.
“I honour the veterans that are being betrayed by the Swapo regime,” he said. “Our sins to resign from Swapo are younger than those who are auctioning our heritage and looting our state funds. Imagine a secretary to cabinet, without acquiring any loan, is able to afford to buy a farm worth N$10 million?” Pau said.
Nauyoma added: “Economic transformation will never change under this regime.”
Iipinge joins chorus
Iipinge, who has been at the forefront of Walvis Bay's Covid-19 response, said: “I cannot associate with a party that is linked to corruption; I need to serve my people.”
The footballer-turned-politician also said he does not want to be linked to the party, having been elected as an independent candidate.
AR recently got the nod to participate in the local and regional authority elections slated for November.
Chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro announced the approval of both the Walvis Bay and Windhoek AR branches to compete as organisations, while Swapo's vote is also under threat from Itula's Independent Patriots for Change (IPC).