Namibia: Swapo Clears Confusion Over Candidate

Swapo coordinator for the Oshana region Samuel Nelongo says Abner Shikongo remains the party's candidate for the upcoming Oshakati East constituency by-election, despite investigations into his nomination.

Nelongo told The Namibian that the party is not going to nullify Shikongo's nomination.

He said tension around the legitimacy of his candidacy was caused by a misunderstanding between him and Veikko Nekundi, Swapo's chairperson of leaders assigned to the Oshana region.

"We are not going to nullify his nomination. We are just suspending the registration process [of the candidate] until we iron out all the differences and misunderstandings," said Nelongo.

Nelongo told The Namibian that two candidates, who were dropped during the nomination process because they did not meet the requirements, allegedly forwarded their complaints directly to Nekundi without consulting the regional structure.

"I had no idea that the candidates were not happy with the vetting process, because I informed every candidate elected for nominations before the vetting process. The vetting process was also given the go-ahead by the party's secretary general," said Nelongo.

On Tuesday, Nekundi wrote to Sophia Shaningwa, stating that due to the serious allegations in the region, which include the nomination of candidates for the Oshakati East constituency by-election, the national leaders assigned to the region had resolved to urgently investigate and finalise all complaints.

"It is critical to state and inform your good office that prior to the district conference to elect the final candidate, we have communicated to the regional coordinator not to proceed with the said conference pending investigations into the nominations, and unfortunately such call was not adhered to," stated Nekundi.

Nelongo said Nekundi did not consult him before writing the letter, hence the misunderstanding between the two.

"He (Nekundi) apparently tried to contact me, but I was engaged in several meetings with the councillors, so he thought I was ignoring him".

"After he managed to get hold of me, I briefed him on the matter, and he proceeded to issue an apology. He has apologised and admitted his mistake," said Nelongo.

Contacted for comment, Nekundi admitted writing the letter, saying it was an internal party matter not meant for the public. The Namibian, however, saw the letter of apology written by Nekundi.

"In view of our letter dated 9 July 2019 on the Oshakati East district conference, we hereby submit our correction that there was a miscommunication. As such, the message to put the district conference on hold was not delivered to the regional coordinator," stated Nekundi in his apology letter.

Shikongo (64) was on Sunday elected to represent Swapo in the upcoming Oshakati East by-election.

According to information obtained from the Electoral Commission of Namibia, there are about 18 411 registered voters in the Oshakati East constituency.

The Oshakati East constituency fell vacant after the death of councillor Lotto Kuushomwa on 27 May.

Independent candidate Fiina Sheehama and Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters member Festus Damomwene Shaduva will also contest the by-election, slated for 24 August.

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