Wednesday 21 April 2021
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Comrades jostle for Khomas positions

Namibia’s ruling party is at risk of further splits amid a battle for positions in the party’s top structures in the Khomas Region, the party’s regional coordinator for Khomas Eliot Mbako said.There is intense jostling to replace Mbako as the head of the party in the region and for other top positions, despite the official campaign trail still not being declared, he said in an interview this week. The concern is that the losing group could destabilize the regional structures, as has happened in the lead up to or after previous Swapo Party elective conventions.Some of the candidates tipped to run for the coordinator’s position include Mbako, John Elago the district coordinator for Khomas Rural and Linekela Tsubaloko who serves as the Danger Ashipala branch information and mobolisation officer. Mbako stands accused of plotting to stand unopposed at the regional conference slated for July this year. A claim which he vehemently denied.“Those allegations hold no water, they are purported by those who also want to stand. We all know that contesting for positions in the party is provided for in the party Constitution, who am I to state otherwise?” Mbako questioned, as he sought to clear his name. The region will hold extraordinary district conferences for all 10 districts in June when all top positions will be contested.
Sources say Mbako wants to stand unopposed because he only entered office in 2015. He succeeded Godfried Kasuto who vacated the office to take up a seat as a backbencher in the National Assembly.Speculation has been rife that Mbako and Windhoek West coordinator Christian Shivolo are spearheading a campaign to ensure that Mbako retains his spot as the head of Swapo affairs in the Khomas Region.Kasuto’s five-year term was due to end this year. Having been elected in 2015, there are claims that Mbako wants to serve his full five years.“The claims are not true, but I can confirm that I will stand for reelection. We have some people who want to stand who are making these claims to confuse everyone” Whereas canvassing is known to start a month or two before the elective congress, party bigwigs broke the long-standing tradition by hitting the campaign trail, lobbying for support across the country, albeit clandestinely in some instances. Commentators suggested that Mbako’s remarks was indicative of the party’s intention to control fissures and prevent bloodletting that has often characterised the scramble for positions in the party. The party’s leadership contest comes at a time when the party looks to maintain the majority support it garnered during the 2014 general elections. While rules still prohibit campaigning, groups continue to push for their candidates for the December election.
Mbako is confident that the run-up to the elections will not have any adverse effects on the party’s structures in Khomas because “everyone knows what is expected of them.”“Our regional executive committee is very united. I do not think we have any commotion,” he said.Mbako also said the region will not endorse any candidate at the congress or do any block votes.“We have different people and they are all entitled to elect who they want. We will not impose candidates on our delegates because such arrangements are the source of disunity, looks what happened to the youth league in 2012 where the,” he said.“But I must say our youth in Khomas are very united and organized, the only problem is the SPYL at the national level,” he said.Mbako said the congress will be handled like any other party gathering because it is “just another internal process as prescribed by the party’s Constitution.”

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