12 October 2012

Namibia: SPYL Nominates Retired Generals

Retired Major General Peter Nambundunga, Retired Lieutenant Martin Shalli and Retired Lieutenant General Salomon 'Jesus' Hawala also known as 'The Butcher of Lubango.

Shalli and Hawala officially enters political fray THE Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) has nominated three retired army generals to represent the youth at the Swapo Party congress at the end of the year.

The nomination by the youth of retired Lieutenant General Salomon 'Jesus' Hawala, also known as 'The Butcher of Lubango', retired Lieutenant General Martin Shalli and retired Major General Peter Nambundunga has added more confusion to the party's elective congress and will seemingly create more factions. SPYL said yesterday that Hawala and Shalli would be available for the party's Central Committee while Shalli would also be available for the Politburo or positions in the secretariat.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Shalli told The Namibian that it was news to him and he only heard about the nomination from this reporter.

"I have no official communication to make at the moment. Let's leave it as it is. It will play itself out," he said.

The three will be joined by the youthful duo of Lucia Iipumbu and John Kantana in the Central Committee 'pot'.

Iipumbu is the former SPYL secretary for finance and administration in Erongo Region while John Kantana, aged 36, is a youth activist and civil servant residing in Rundu.

The SPYL will have 15 delegates at the congress.

Shalli's nomination comes three years after President Hifikepunye Pohamba suspended him due to "serious allegations of irregularities which must be thoroughly investigated".

The SPYL secretary for information, publicity and mobilisation, Job Amupanda, added that Shalli was nominated because he was a liberation struggle leader at a young age. Hawala head-ed Swapo's security apparatus at Lubango in Angola during the liberation struggle where most of the then liberation movement's detainees were held in dungeons, and where he became known as 'The Butcher of Lubango'.

Hawala has never publicly refuted accusations that he detained his own comrades, some of whom continue to publicly profess their innocence.

Amupanda said the decisions on the nominees were made at Wednesday's National Executive Committee meeting in the Windhoek.

He also revealed that the meeting nominated Utoni Nujoma for the position of Swapo secretary general and Abraham Iyambo as deputy secretary general.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Nujoma has been out of the country for the past five days and according to him, the nomination was "breaking news" to him.

"I have no idea what you are talking about. I feel honoured but I do not have any comment for now. I will wait for them to tell me themselves," he said.

The secretary general's position is one of the most powerful positions in the party and it would give the son of the founding President the opportunity to gain political influence and work himself up to the top seat of the party.

According to new rules and procedures adopted by the Central Committee of Swapo, if the vice president of the party is not available to stand for election, than the secretary general is the next automatic choice.

Currently, Nujoma does not have a position of influence in the party and he will battle it out with Nangolo Mbumba for the position.

The nomination might also be interpreted as showing that former President Sam Nujoma does not support incumbent vice president Hage Geingob, as his son also nominated incumbent secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana for the vice presidency.

Geingob, on the other hand, had nominated Mbumba for the SG position at the last Politburo meeting.

Minister of Education Abraham Iyambo is the current chairperson the ruling party's Think Tank and is highly regarded within the party.

He might contest against Omaheke's governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua and the already nominated Minister of Environment and Tourism, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

Asked why they choose the three generals as top leaders to the congress, Amupanda said the youth wing deliberated on their credentials and decided on "tested credentials".

SPYL secretary Elijah Ngurare is already a Central Committee member of the mother body and thus automatically enters the 'pot'.

Ngurare will nominate the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Jerry Ekandjo, for the position of vice president at the next Central Committee meeting.

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