A year after the sixth divisive Swapo elective congress, questions are being asked as to why Khomas regional governor Laura Mcleod-Katjirua is still a parliamentarian.
Mcleod-Katjirua became a legislator on 20 March 2015 by virtue of being Swapo deputy secretary-general, a position she had given up at the party’s sixth congress in November 2017.
Sources within the ruling party told this publication that the former Omahake regional governor was supposed to have relinquished her parliamentary seat since former party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba and herself were not voted as party legislators at the party’s electoral college in 2014, but merely happened to be members of parliament by virtue of their positions.
The sources further added that Mcleod-Katjirua should have surrendered her seat to the current Swapo deputy secretary Marco Hausiku.
However, Hausiku told media last August that he had no ambition to be a parliamentarian again, since he had in the past been a parliamentarian for 24 years.
Queried about her presence in parliament, Mcleod-Katjirua said she would only leave parliament if the party removes her.
“Only the party can remove me from parliament but up to now I have not been told to give up my seat,” she said.
The Patriot understands that Swapo is tactically keeping people in the National Assembly to block those that are next on the party’s parliamentary list from joining parliament.
The party is said to have retained former presidential affairs minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko in the National Assembly despite the fact that he has not been attending the Assembly for almost a year, because his resignation would have paved the way for the rise of a certain party member who is next on the party’s parliamentary list.
If the allegation is true, it gives credence to reports of a political witch-hunt against “Team Swapo” members because they did not support Geingob’s candidature at the congress. Last year President Hage Geingob removed former deputy minister of health Petrina Haingura from parliament, a step which was interpreted to mean that the president was not interested in party unity and reconciliation.
The sacking of former youth and home affairs ministers Jerry Ekandjo and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana for challenging for Swapo president and deputy president positions respectively followed hot on the heels of Haingura’s dismissal. Geingob defended his decision to remove Haingura from the August House saying that it was due to her loss of secretary of the party’s women council’s position to Eunice Ipinge in November 2016.
Swapo at the time also gave directive for the demotion of local authority councillors who were perceived to be anti-Geingob, while Geingob’s perceived allies, while the likes of Nangolo Mbumba and Veikko Nekundi were elevated to vice president and deputy minister positions respectively.