14 September 2017

Namibia: Calls to Nullify SPYL Congress

Some former Swapo Party Youth League leaders have petitioned the ruling party's politburo to nullify the outcomes of the youth wing's 6th congress held at Katima Mulilo in the Zambezi region last month.

Seventeen members of SPYL, including former SPYL economic secretary Immanuel Nashinge, former health secretary Sioni Iikela and former central committee member Paulus Mbangu submitted a petition to Swapo's politburo to investigate claims of irregularities at the recently concluded SPYL congress, and to nullify the outcomes.

The congress elected Ephraim Nekongo as SPYL secretary and Christine Haindaka as his deputy. It also elected 30 members to the youth league's central committee and nominated candidates to attend the Swapo elective congress in November this year.

In their petition, Nashinge and others listed issues such as the vetting of delegates and candidates at the congress, drawing attention to the qualifications and eligibility of certain candidates, including new SPYL secretary Nekongo.

They stated that most of the delegates to the congress had not been delegated by appropriate structures of the youth league, such as districts and regions in which "they reside and serve", and did not meet the minimum five-year membership requirement to sit in the youth league's central committee.

The petition also highlighted issues such as the outstanding district and regional financial reports, the intimidation of delegates at the congress by "especially guests", and the presence of the police at the venue.

The petitioners furthermore claimed that the election committee, responsible for vetting delegates and conducting elections at the congress, was not appointed by SPYL's national executive committee.

They said the election committee was foisted on the congress by former acting secretary Veikko Nekundi to "smuggle in people who did not qualify" to attend the congress while keeping out those who were qualified.

"Nekundi should be charged with misconduct for violating the constitution of the party," they said.

The petitioners also stated that Haindaka (who is from Kavango West) and central committee member Mirjam Nghidipo (from Khomas) attended the congress as delegates from the Epukiro and Kamanjab districts, respectively. Both were not serving or residing in those districts, "which is a violation of the Swapo Party constitution".

"The verification of all candidates will reveal it all. How were they qualify [sic] to stand while not meeting the requirements?" asks the petition, which had copies of the membership cards of some SPYL leaders attached to substantiate their point.

"The 6th Congress of the Swapo Party Youth League was not properly constituted and was not held in a free and fair atmosphere. Hence, we demand the nullification of the whole congress, and urge for the upholding of the constitution to the letter and spirit," the petitioners state.

Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba yesterday confirmed receiving the petition, but refused to comment, saying he was busy. Swapo's information secretary, Helmut Angula, said he was not aware of the petition.

Nekongo yesterday said he had seen the petition circulating on social media but had not paid attention to it because "it was nothing".

"It was like a love letter, and we don't respond to love letters. We have grown-ups now (sic)," he said.

He added that the petition was not addressed to "anyone", and that the allegations it contained were "weak". He also alleged that some of the people whose names appeared on the petition had written to him to distance themselves from the petition, saying they had not been consulted by those who compiled it.

"The funny thing is that I hear some people saying they were not consulted. I don't know what is happening. It's nothing," Nekongo said.


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