11 June 2012

Namibia: Succession Can Derail Development

With Swapo holding its district and regional conferences, more emphasis is being placed on the election of delegates to attend the upcoming party congress than on streamlining policies for a better Namibia.

At the same time, the faction fighting in the ruling party is continuing in the regions, with accusations that some of the members are deliberately victimised because of their support of certain presidential contenders.

During the Windhoek East Swapo District Conference held in Windhoek over the weekend, the party's secretary general, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, said the party comes first and not individuals.

"I made it clear that the delegates should stick to the issues in their district and do not get derailed by the song about the congress. The much-talked-about congress should be issue driven so that Swapo can come up with policies to address the burning issues such as poverty, hunger and unemployment," Ithana told The Namibian.

According to her, the election of office bearers at district and regional level should not be the priority, but the delegates should rather identify problem areas and resolve how to address them.

"Forget about campaigning and rather concentrate on the real issues that are affecting the country. They must give the next President the solutions to these problems so that he or she could make Namibia a better place for all of us," said Iivula-Ithana.

At the district conference Matheus Amathila and Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun were re-elected as district coordinator and treasurer respectively, while Sarafina Shilunga was elected as mobiliser of the district in the place of Isdol Angula.

In some regions, there are accusations of victimisation of supporters of Trade and Industry Minister Hage Geingob, who is one of the presidential contenders.

One such region is Kunene, where the office administrator, Maria Shihepa, who was nominated by the Outjo and Khorixas districts for the position of regional coordinator, was suspended due to alleged misappropriation of funds and insubordination.

Opuwo nominated Agnes Mussaso and Sesfontein supports John Gawusab, while the Kamanjab and Epupa districts did not send in any nominations.

The names of these two, together with the name of the current acting regional coordinator, Rosa Tjinyama, were sent to the Swapo headquarters to verify whether they could contest the position during the Kunene regional conference scheduled for June 23.

A committee consisting of four Kunene regional executive committee members has been appointed to investigate the allegations against the administrator, who claimed to be a Geingob supporter.

"It was just a reason to get her out of the way ... to disqualify her for the election as the regional coordinator for Kunene because she is supporting the (Swapo) vice president," a regional executive committee member told The Namibian.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, Peter Iilonga, who is one of the Swapo leaders assigned to the Kunene Region, told The Namibian that he is aware of an office administrator that has been suspended, but according to him, that has nothing to do with the election of a regional coordinator.

"Myself and comrade Alpheus !Naruseb were not party to the suspension and are also not part of the investigation," he said.

Iilonga said Swapo has not yet announced its presidential candidates, "so how is it possible that a person could be victimised if we do not know who the candidates are?".

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