I will win – Shifeta
A confident Pohamba Shifeta exclaimed these words, saying he is the perfect vehicle to “connect the legacy of Swapo to the future”.
The 54-year-old is the youngest in the three-horse race for Swapo vice-presidency ahead of congress, and some have apparently urged him to withdraw, as he still has an opportunity to compete in the future.
One of those who allegedly urged him to place his candidacy on ice was former president Hifikepunye Pohamba, something Shifeta has not denied.
“I cannot deny that there was that kind of conversation, talking about my candidacy, but the exact details of that conversation are between me and the former head of state,” he said in an interview on The Agenda, which premieres this Sunday.
Not ‘too young’
“I’m not too young. I’m at the pinnacle of my career in politics. This is the right time to unleash my potential.
"I’ve gathered experience in the party and government, that’s why I conceded to the demands of my candidacy.”
While some consider Shifeta “too young” to compete for the position, others think his fierce rival Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who turns 70 next month, is too old.
Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who is also in contention for the same position, turns 55 next month.
Shifeta said: “At my age, I have the energy to bring vitality to the party”.
Should he win, he will be the first Swapo member who was not in exile to lead the party, with President Hage Geingob set to leave his party position in 2025.
Not a ceremonial role
Shifeta said contrary to popular belief, the Swapo vice-presidency is not a ceremonial role. He seeks to bring life to the position once elected at the party congress this year.
“The vice-president is the principal assistant to the party president who, in the current moment, has too many duties. He [Geingob] is head of state and head of government and, believe it or not, these are two different roles.
“The vice-president’s role is to look at the duties, functions and responsibilities of the president. The vice-president must innovate, initiate and advise. That’s why I am the right candidate for the position. I know the Swapo Party instruments and I know the process to get things right.”
We are colleagues
He added that although the three candidates are all eyeing one spot, there is no friction between them.
“We are colleagues in the party and government. We laugh and joke when we meet, even at platforms where the three of us engage delegates to market our ideas ahead of congress.
“Competition is competition and we have to accept one another. We are in one party and we want to remain friends after congress, colleagues working for the party.
“Our supporters will need to be united again and it’s the three of us who must unite them,” the environment and tourism minister said.
The interview will screen on Sunday, 2 October, at 19:00 on Facebook and YouTube, as well as on NTV on DStv channel 285 and GOtv channel 94.