The Namibian (Windhoek)

Namibia: Oshikoto Pledges Support to Geingob, Omusati Divided

ALL 40 Oshikoto regional delegates to the Swapo congress, starting tomorrow, are reported to have pledged their support to incumbent party vice president Hage Geingob, according to the Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu.

Amukwiyu told The Namibian that even the seven delegates from the party’s wings who also attended the Monday meeting at Tsumeb are behind Geingob.

But all is not so rosy for the Geingob campaign in the Omusati Region, where chaos allegedly broke out at a meeting on Monday. The Swapo regional coordinator, Erkki Endjala, and Governor Sophia Shaningwa allegedly tried very hard to convince the delegates to vote for Geingob at the congress, which some delegates disagreed with.

According to Amukwiyu the transport arrangements were discussed at the Tsumeb meeting and at the same time he informed the delegates of President Hifikepunye Pohamba’s request that delegates should vote for Geingob.

“In 2004 the Founding Father called us in and informed us that he will retire and that he wants to hand over to comrade Pohamba. This time the president [Pohamba] is retiring and he informed us that Comrade Hage should be his successor and that was the message I brought to them at the meeting.”

Amukwiyu said out of the blue the delegates got up one by one and pledged their support to Geingob. The Oshikoto governor, Penda Ya Ndakolo, in his capacity as the assigned leader to the region and a member of the Central Committee, witnessed the event.

“We did not force them to pledge their support and each one will individually vote at the congress and how will I know who voted for whom. Their votes will be a secret,” said Amukwiyu.

The Outapi meeting in the Omusati Region where delegates were to be informed about logistical arrangements is said to have ended in chaos when Endjala and Shaningwa told the delegates that they have to go to the congress with one voice to vote for Geingob.

Apparently many delegates objected against the proposal, saying they found it unacceptable as each individual had the right to vote for his or her candidate of choice.

“There was chaos and the meeting ended without any agreement reached. Some people already decided to make use of their own transport as they fear that the two leaders will try to persuade them to vote for Geingob,” some delegates told The Namibian.

According to Endjala he found the behaviour of some of the delegates unbecoming. “Some of them refused to obey President Pohamba’s request to vote for the incumbent vice president.”

However, he quickly pointed out that the main aim of the meeting was to discuss transport arrangements.

“The president’s request was just an additional item, but not the main one. Yes, we are living in a democratic society and everyone has the right to say what he or she likes to say,” Endjala said.

The more than 600 delegates are expected to arrive in Windhoek today for accreditation to this weekend’s Swapo congress, which starts tomorrow morning.

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