13 September 2017

Namibia: Swapo Omaheke Conference Concluded

OMAHEKE'S Swapo regional conference was finally concluded on Monday after a series of postponements due to conflicts between the regional leadership and the team of national leaders assigned to the region, led by fisheries minister Bernhard Esau.

The regional conference was delayed because of unconstitutional district conferences before the initial regional conference held in July.

There were also claims that regional governor Festus Ueitele and national councillor Phillipus Katamelo had been meddling in district conferences in order to push for their preferred candidates to be elected onto the regional leadership.

Verification team member in the region, Libertina Amathila, yesterday said Monday's conference was free and fair, although now former regional coordinator Kejamuina Mungendje and other members of the regional executive committee were not present at the conference.

Amathila, however, declined to reveal information about what had transpired at the conference because at the time she had yet to submit her report to Swapo headquarters, which she was supposed to have done by today.

"I am not giving any news to the newspaper because I have to finish the report and submit it to the secretary general [Nangolo Mbumba], and you can get stories from the SG," she said yesterday.

Amathila added that the conference was successful, despite the Otjombinde district being disqualified because "they were misbehaving".

The conference elected Ruth Mbura as regional coordinator, to succeed Mungendje, while former Swapo Party Youth League regional secretary Eben Handura was elected regional information secretary. Eliot Hiskia is the new regional treasurer.

The conference also nominated four candidates to contest for central committee positions at the Swapo congress scheduled for November this year. Those nominated are Omaheke governor Festus Ueitele, national councillor Phillipus Katamelo, Sylvia Makgone and Christine //Hoëbes.

Mungendje yesterday said he did not attend the conference because of many irregularities, and because members of the verification team were also compromised over their support of unconstitutional processes. "I wanted the conference to look at the issues of constitutional compliance before we continued with the conference; issues such as the vetting of delegates and processes followed at district conferences," he said.

He said most of the delegates at Monday's conference were neither nominated through the recognised structures nor vetted by the party's politburo, and the list of delegates used at the conference was the same list used at the previous conference which was nullified in July.

"My office provided me with the letter of the approval of candidates which was done during the nullified process.

That was the same list they were using for this one now. For me, that was a nullified process, so this one must be a different process on its own," Mungendje said.

He also said he had written to the verification team before, highlighting the irregularities from the district conferences, but Amathila and her verification team ignored his complaints, saying that they were tired of letters.

"They said they were tired of documentation," he stated.

Sources who attended the conference said half of the delegates who were nominated from the district conferences did not participate in Monday's conference.

OTJOMBINDE DISQUALIFIED

The Otjombinde district was excluded from the regional conference after claims by the verification team that the district leadership had demonstrated "unruly attitudes", and had been "threatening to harm" them.

Mungendje said claims that the Otjombinde leadership had insulted and threatened senior leaders and the verification team were untrue.

He said the verification team had conducted a conference at Otjombinde without having a quorum, and included delegates from the party's wings in district conferences.

"The people who complained had facts. How can you include a wing in the district restructuring process while we don't have their reports of how their processes were conducted?" asked Mungendje.

Esau yesterday said he was not at the conference due to illness, but confirmed that "everything went well".

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