Windhoek — Swapo Party Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana rounded off her campaign yesterday with a call for delegates to vote freely for the candidate of their choice, despite calls from the "top of the hierarchy" to vote for certain candidates.
Yesterday the Acting Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Alfred Angula, rallied behind Iivula-Ithana and appealed to delegates to vote for her.
Iivula-Ithana, one of three candidates for the coveted Swapo vice-presidency, said it is an inherent right of Swapo Party members and Namibians in general to exercise their democratic rights as provided for by both the Swapo Party and Namibian constitutions.
"No one should therefore be subjected to making a sworn statement committing oneself to vote for somebody as a result of the so-called hierarchy directive," said Iivula-Ithana in defiance of a well-circulated ruling party directive.
Iivula-Ithana said delegates should exercise their democratic right through a secret ballot on the basis of the leadership qualities, trustworthiness and performance track records of the candidates to maintain democracy.
She further said promoting or retaining someone to a position should be done by embracing a culture of service delivery and performance, and not through what she termed "populist politics" or being promised positions in government.
"We must remain guided by the principles of objectivity, justice and serving a greater purpose than just individuals. A principle that has seen many sons and daughters of this soil sacrificing their precious lives for the greater good of others," she said.
She said her approach has been to lead a dignified campaign, and as such took a lead in appealing to the other two contenders to also lead clean campaigns free of intimidation, character assassination and defamation.
Before concluding her speech, Iivula-Ithana reiterated her call for delegates to the congress to vote for her, emphasising that she has been in the leadership of the party for 32 solid years.
She said if Namibia elects a female president, it will boost the country's democratic credentials as well as attract much-needed investment and tourism. "I respectfully call on all distinguished delegates to vote for me and I would like to assure you that I will not let you down," she urged delegates who arrived for the 5th Swapo Party Congress in Windhoek.
Iivula-Ithana was once again flanked by Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Loide Kasingo and Eunice Ipinge, the Deputy Secretary of the Swapo Party Women's Council, who also urged delegates to vote for Iivula-Ithana.
Acting Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), Alfred Angula, was the master of ceremonies and also asked delegates to vote for Iivula-Ithana.