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SPITTING FIRE: Swapo VP aspirant Jerry Ekandjo. PHOTO: FILE
SPITTING FIRE: Swapo VP aspirant Jerry Ekandjo. PHOTO: FILE

Ekandjo’s integrity a threat in VP race – lawyer

STAFF REPORTER
Jerry Ekandjo’s honesty and decorated history, including serving eight years on Robben Island for freedom and democracy, is a threat to those who lack his credentials, his lawyer Richard Metcalfe said yesterday.

Speaking on behalf of his client, who is fighting to be formally included in the campaigns for Swapo vice-president at this year’s congress, Metcalfe said there are concerted efforts to keep the 75-year-old out of the race because he has credentials others in the race lack.

“Those of lesser political and moral integrity have their own agenda to exclude him at any cost,” Metcalfe told Namibian Sun when asked what his client’s next course of action would be now that the 23 September deadline to recognise his candidacy has lapsed.

Those formally recognised in the race for vice-president – Pohamba Shifeta, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila – addressed congress delegates in the Omaheke Region last Saturday, and are headed for a similar engagement in Erongo this weekend.

This leaves Ekandjo, who contests that his exclusion from the race as well as the initial inclusion of ministers Frans Kapofi and Tom Alweendo was an illegality the party must rectify.

Alweendo did not garner enough votes to be formally recognised as a candidate, while Kapofi quit the race five days after he was endorsed by the central committee.

Ekandjo, who garnered the third most votes after Kapofi, believes he should have automatically replaced the defence minister after he quit the race, bringing the number of vice-president candidates to four.

Obvious candidate

“As the obvious candidate who is next in line following Comrade Kapofi's withdrawal as a vice-president candidate, there was not any necessity to refer the matter to the central committee. It is a practice in Swapo to render a vacant position to the next-in-line candidate. It appears, though, that when it comes to Comrade Ekandjo, a different yardstick is used,” Metcalfe said.

“Those who regard themselves as the guardians of Swapo Party virtues display open discrimination when it comes to Comrade Ekandjo. The contemptuous excuse for applying a so-called transitional provision to contrive to exclude Comrade Ekandjo fell away with Comrade Kapofi's exit as a vice-president candidate.

“The resonating refusal to even give the dignity of a response to Comrade Ekandjo's obvious succession as vice-president candidate evokes nothing but contempt for the so-called guardians of our democracy. Swapo has descended into the realms of opposition political parties who are incapable of abiding by their own constitutions.”

Metcalfe continued: “As Comrade Ekandjo’s lawyer, it is specifically pointed out that Comrade Ekandjo spent eight years of his life sacrificing himself for Swapo. Not one other vice-president candidate has credentials of self-sacrifice for Swapo like Comrade Ekandjo. We need a leader who is not tainted by ghosts of corruption or self-interest to live a life of perpetual luxury at the expense of taxpayers”.

Campaigning anyway

Ekandjo’s legal team said he will kickstart his campaign outside the prescription of current campaign rules, since some in the party seem to be allowed to shirk regulations.

“Comrade Ekandjo will simply commence campaigning without being bound by the artificial beauty pageant-like constraints imposed on the other hand-picked candidates.

“If Swapo Party feels it is not bound by its constitution, why should Comrade Ekandjo be constrained to follow undemocratic control mechanisms imposed by party apparatchiks to control vice-president aspirants?”

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Namibian Sun 2022-12-04

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