23 November 2012

Namibia: Swapo Revamps Structures

THE fifth congress of the Swapo Party scheduled for next weekend is expected to have a major and lasting impact on the ruling party’s future.

The congress, among other issues, will discuss party governance, equal representation of women on party structures and the accountability of governors and Swapo local councillors to the party.

The congress will also elect a vice president who would be Swapo’s presidential candidate for the 2014 national election to succeed President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

The Swapo Central Committee is meeting this afternoon to make the final preparations for the congress.

The Central Committee meeting will also finalise and approve policies that were adopted by the Swapo Party’s policy conference in September.

“All that I can say is that the Central Committee will have to look into the preparations of next week’s congress to ensure that everything is in place and finalised. We have to submit a report to the congress that has to be approved,” Swapo Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana told The Namibian yesterday.

During the policy conference the media were informed that the party is intends to implement the decision of the fourth Swapo congress to make the position of secretary general (SG) a full-time job. It was indicated that the office of the SG should be strengthened in the areas of administration, management, human resources and information technology.

Consideration should also be given to making the positions of regional mobilisation officers full-time jobs to enhance their work in the regions.

Several amendments will also be made to the Swapo constitution, including one to accommodate 50/50 gender representation.

A proposal is on the table that two of the top four positions, being the party president, vice president, secretary general and deputy secretary general, should be occupied by women and that the composition of all Swapo structures must comply with 50/50 representation.

This includes that 33 of the 66 Central Committee members should be women and that three of the six presidential appointees to the CC should be women.

The party will also introduce an election system for its National Assembly candidate list whereby female and male candidates are elected separately and then the list is then finalised by using the ‘zebra style’.

“The Swapo Party Women’s Council should mobilise for the education and training of all potential female candidates to prepare them to take up leadership positions,” says the report of the national policy conference of the party held in September. The report will be tabled at the congress for adoption.

The party constitution will also be amended to make provision for Swapo local councillors to be ex-officio members of the party’s district executive committees and also to accord regional governors ex-officio membership of the regional executive committees.

Another grey area that will be addressed is when party office bearers assume higher official positions, such as when a regional coordinator is elected as a regional councillor. In such case the office bearer who assumes the higher position must relinquish the lower position.

“The Swapo constitution must be amended accordingly to provide for such incidentals,” it is said in a document seen by The Namibian.

In addition the party has to consider appropriate remuneration for district and branch coordinators and accelerate the finalisation and implementation of its code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.

The party is also called on to “develop sufficient pool of talent” for cadre deployment in government. “The party must ensure that the selection of cadres and their deployment are done with due regard to professional profile and the required skills.”

The congress will also deliberate term limits for positions in the party to “avoid stagnation at the top structure” of the party.

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