Sunday 16 May 2021
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Pendukeni: Everyone must be allowed to stand

Anyone in the ruling party who wishes to stand for any of the top four positions during the party’s November congress must be allowed to do so, says Swapo stalwart Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana
The endorsement of Swapo acting President Hage Geingob as the sole presidential candidate at the party’s ordinary congress in November by some structures such as the Swapo Party Elders Council (SPEC) and Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) have come under criticism in recent weeks.
However supporters of Geingob maintain that, like his two predecessors, he must also be given a chance to see out two terms.
“Even though it is not a written rule in the party that the president should automatically get two terms, we cannot deny the fact that it is a tradition in the party and the precedence has been set, why must it change now that Geingob is at the helm of the party?” questioned a central committee member who wished to remain anonymous.
To the contrary, however, Iivula-Ithana holds a different view around Geingob’s endorsement as the nomination for presidential candidates at both Central Committee and Politburo is yet to take place.
Iivula-Ithana said, as per the constitution of Swapo, candidates for the party’s top four positions ought to be nominated by the CC and politburo levels, prior to their endorsement.
“Whoever is ready to stand for the top four positions has to be nominated. People cannot just nominate themselves. These nominations are supposed to be done first at the Politburo level and second at the Central Committee level,” said Iivula-Ithana.
More so, it is only after nominations by the CC and Politburo that party structures such as the SPYL and SPEC can endorse their preferred candidate, which is the direct opposite of what has transpired as far as Geingob’s endorsement is concerned.
“For people…for structures like the elders council and the youth league to come out and declare that they are supporting[Geingob], what are they supporting when the nomination have not been done? How do they know that the person they are supporting is actually going to stand? Who told them?” she questioned.
She went on to say that “things are sometimes done in an ambush way which is not proper and meetings that are held in short notice, and meetings at which some people are not called  on who are supposed to be members[present] are things that are causing unnecessary suspicion among ourselves. And when we cause suspicion, we create unnecessary problems of mistrust.”
Iivula-Ithana took time to discuss incidences where Swapo’s constitution was seemingly dragged in the mud to drive individual agendas.
One such incident was nullification of the Oshikoto regional conference results at which Oshikoto coordinator Armas Amukwiyu finally emerged victorious.
According to insiders, a pro-Geingob faction within Swapo was hell-bent to ensure that Amukwiyu does not make it to the party’s congress in November, come hell or high water.
However, the attempts to get rid of the youthful Amukwiyu failed dismally after he retained his position at the just-ended regional elective conference despite trying circumstances.
To this, Iivula-Ithana said: “We have an expression that goes: “Kuna mutanda kuna ngombe, kuna mpagona kuna iilya”(If there are no calves, then you do not have cattle. If you do not have young crops, you are likely not to harvest). That to me that is a basic principle. And when I see a young person with potential, it is for you[leaders] as an adult to guide them through the process. You discipline them, you punish them, but you keep them closer.”
The former Swapo SG added: “I grew up in Swapo. When I left this country, I was 20. And I had the abilities. Therefore in the liberation army I had titles, in school I had titles and wherever I was, I was recognised. And I can tell you, Comrade Hage (the president) of this country, we had running battles[we competed] just because I was not a pullover. I was somebody who stood out all the time.”
Iivula-Ithana added that competition has always been a part of her political career adding that she had running battles with the two former Presidents, Hifikepunye Pohamba and Sam Nujoma.
According to analysts and talks in the Swapo corridors, Iivula-Ithana has been touted as a possible Geingob challenger for the party’s presidency at the highly anticipated congress.
When it was put to her to come clean on whether she intends to challenge frontrunner Geingob or not, Iivula-Ithana retorted: “I know we are getting probably late. But, I have trust in the party. Some of us are not new to system (and) to the party. If I am nominated (for presidency) tomorrow I will not cry at the congress if I am not voted for, to say that I was given a short time[to campaign].”

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