The ruling party’s regional leaders in Omaheke could face disciplinary action after it emerged that candidates who were initially selected to go to the women’s congress currently underway in Keetmanshoop were handpicked.
After irregularities allegations emerged, Swapo Party Politburo declared null and void the restructuring process by Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) in Omaheke, which involved candidates for the ongoing congress.
The investigation team, led by Hamunyera Hambyuka, is in agreement with the Politburo’s decision to nullify the SPWC Omaheke regional restructuring process.
“We want the restructuring to be redone from the section up to the regional level,” the report stated.
The team was in Omaheke last weekend to conduct the restructuring process, which concluded with a regional conference on Monday where delegates to the congress were chosen.
“The task team is in support of the Politburo because precedence of this nature must not be entertained at all means,” reads the report
According to the report finding, it is “undisputed” that people in Omaheke were handpicked for positions not only in the SPWC but in all wings, including the mother body.
In the report, Swapo was able to establish that in most of the restructuring process that had taken place, the holding of branch conferences was not in line with both the Swapo Party and the SPWC constitutions.
The task team carried out its investigations, as directed by party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba on 7 October 2016.
Moreover, the irregularities that were found during the investigation process in some districts indicate that the restructuring was not done in accordance with the Swapo Party rules and regulations like in Aminuis. Moreover, in the Epukiro District it was found that verification of membership cards could not proceed because only a few members brought their cards with them.
Additionally, in the Gobabis district most of the party structures were in place but were incomplete because people were not fully versed in the restructuring process. Furthermore, in the Kalahari district, it was found that some areas were overlooked in the restructuring process.
In addition, the Okorukambe district consists of nine members but only five were active and some branches were left out due to political differences, according to the investigations. Going forward, the task team found that there was no cooperation between the district mother body (Swapo) leadership and SPWC in Otjinene.
Finally, in Otjombinde district the SPWC membership cards were only distributed to members during the attempted restructuring by “a brother and a sister of the independent candidates” who were non-Swapo members.
Secretary of the SPWC, Petrina Haingura and Deputy Secretary, Eunice Ipinge are both vying for the top spot during the council’s 7th congress underway in Keetmanshoop.
The SPWC will elect new leaders today. Ipinge was the council’s secretary before her unseating by Haingura, who is serving her second term in that position.
The two will be challenged by Sylvia Kandanga.Fransina Kahungu, Bernadette Jagger and Katrina Liswani will come head to head for the deputy secretary position.
The nominations of all six candidates for the top two posts were endorsed at a SPWC Central Committee (CC) meeting held in Windhoek last month, according to delegates. Nampa understands that additional candidates may join the elections.
One of these could be Executive Secretary of the Pan-African Women Organisation, Mildred Jantjies, who might contest for the position of secretary. The congress will also elect a 53-member CC. Approached by Nampa yesterday, Haingura said all contenders were mature in their campaigning.
“There is no tension, we are all Swapo Party members and it doesn’t matter who wins.” Haingura said the aim of the congress is to ensure that the 50/50 gender rule is implemented in all structures. She said women are doing well in Parliament with a representation of 45% and a representation of 43% at local authority level.
“The concern remains at regional council level with a poor showing of 24% and in boardrooms in the private sector.”Kahungu also said campaigning has been peaceful so far.The congress is held under the theme ‘Embracing 50/50 for prosperity beyond generations’. Election results will be released on Saturday morning.
President urges solidarity
President Hage Geingob urged members of the SPWC to remain united and accept the outcome of the forthcoming election.
“We will never move forward if we don’t accept democracy and unite in order to support the victor,” Geingob said. Referring to his own shaky trajectory towards becoming the current president, Geingob said it was indeed possible for Swapo contenders to work together in the interest of the country.
“Today, I work alongside my fellow party contenders, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Jerry Ekandjo, who are both ministers.”
Geingob said he also never tore into the Swapo party after his apparent fall from grace when he was removed from his position as prime minister by Founding President Sam Nujoma in 2002.“The enemies tried to get interviews from me, but I kept quiet and chased them away.”
He urged the women’s council leaders to use him as an example, to hold hands and to collaborate in delivering goods and services to the electorate. The SPWC Congress is held under the theme ‘Embracing 50/50 for prosperity beyond generations’. Geingob said it was impossible to talk of economic emancipation while leaving out half of the population [women]. He said women were hard-hit by oppression from both inside and outside their homes.
“They suffer patriarchy at home, apartheid outside their homes and gender inequality at the workplace, simply because they are women,” Geingob said. He said it was up to both men and women to address gender-based violence (GBV) and imbalances, and asked the congress to come up with strategies in this regard.
“GBV in our country is out of order. Maybe men feel inferior and are losing their masculinity. Maybe that is why they fight and kill women,” Geingob said.
Over 700 delegates from all 14 regions of the country are attending the congress that will elect a new secretary, deputy secretary and a 53-member SPWC Central Committee. The election results will be made public on Saturday morning.
– Additional reporting by Nampa