7 November 2017

Namibia: Omaheke Members Sue Swapo Over Congress

Four members of the Swapo Party in the Omaheke region are suing the party in an attempt to prevent 27 delegates from their region from attending the party's congress later this month.

An urgent application in which Omaheke Swapo members Kejamuina Mungendje, Maleagi Ndisiro, Frans Murangi and Progarius Muriambihu are suing the ruling party and a host of fellow Swapo members in a bid to stop delegates selected from their region from attending the congress from 23 to 26 November, was filed at the Windhoek High Court on Thursday last week.

On Friday, after hearing a first round of oral arguments in the matter, deputy judge president Hosea Angula ordered that the four applicants should communicate their court application to the 76 individual respondents in the case by having it broadcast on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation's English and Otjiherero radio services on Sunday evening, and by publishing it in The Namibian and New Era.

Judge Angula turned down a request to issue an interim order restraining the 27 selected Omaheke delegates from attending the Swapo congress, or to declare the Swapo district conferences and the regional conference held to select Omaheke's delegates to the congress as null and void.

He directed that respondents intending to oppose the application should give notice of their opposition by today, and should file their answering affidavits by Friday, and postponed the matter to 20 November for a hearing.

Mungendje, who is a former regional coordinator of Swapo in Omaheke, alleges in an affidavit filed at the court that the electoral processes followed in the region to elect delegates for the party's congress were flawed, and resulted in delegates being chosen irregularly.

He alleges that Swapo members at Aminuis and in the party's Ondorozu section and the Otjiuetjombungu branch in the Otjinene district were not given an opportunity to choose delegates who went on to the Omaheke regional conference where congress delegates were selected.

In the Kalahari district, one delegate who was chosen, Elliot Hiskia, was not eligible as he was not a delegate to the Kalahari district conference that took place on 25 April 2015, Mungendje also claims.

He further claims that in the Okorukambe district, the second applicant in the case, Maleagi Ndisiro, was elected as district coordinator in February this year, and that the Swapo politburo endorsed him in that position in August. However, in September, the first respondent in the case, Gideon Kavari, was irregularly elected as district coordinator for Okorukambe while he was not eligible to be nominated and chosen because he had not been a delegate to the district's conference in February, Mungendje also alleges.

Except for asking the court to prevent the 27 Omaheke delegates from attending the Swapo congress, the four applicants are also applying for an order in terms of which the ruling party's Omaheke regional conference and the district conferences held in the districts of Aminuis, Kalahari, Okorukambe and Otjinene are declared null and void, and set aside.

They are further asking the court to order Swapo to pay their legal costs - even if they lose the case.

Lawyers Tuhafeni Muhongo and Kadhila Amoomo represented the applicants in court on Friday. Swapo was represented by Sackey Akweenda and Dirk Conradie.

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