By Staff Reporter
After several regional coordinators of the SWAPO party requested for more time to put their candidates forward for the Electoral College, Swapo’s executive director Austin Samupwa, confirmed last week, that a postponement was indeed granted. The date has now been extended to 9 August. Vetting must take place by 17 August 2019.
“We are now busy with the renewal of mandates, which means the election of leaders in our sections, branches, and districts,” Samupwa is reported to have said in a local daily.
The party had eyed commencing with the college in May 2019, however “it needed more time as many regions asked the office of the secretary-general for an extension, so the Electoral College is now slated for early September,” Samupwa explained. This year, the Electoral College will take place from the 2-3 September in Windhoek.
In 2014, the Electoral College was attended by around 280 delegates and witnessed a fierce and frantic jostling for positions. What was defined as an “generational transition”, resulted in a list of 96 members being elected. The pot includes the 85 central committee members, Swapo members of parliament, 15 delegates from each wing of the party, and six from every region.
The different wings of the SWAPO party are; Swapo Party Youth League, Elders Council and Women’s Council.
“The electoral college is an open contest for all qualifying Swapo members who wish to serve the Namibian public through Swapo (on the Swapo ticket) in Parliament. Those who want to participate will participate. It’s a fair and credible process. We don’t handpick people. All our decisions are done through a transparent process which is done through an election,” Samupwa is quoted as saying.
The Patriot has had sight of a letter penned by Swapo party Secretary General Shaningwa, on the preparations for the Electoral College, which is now slated to take place on 2nd and 3rd September 2019.
The communication, addressed to all regional coordinators, says that the final date for nominations is today, 9 August 2019 and comes with strict rules to follow in order to be considered.
“Regional Executive Committees should identify 6 delegates to the Electoral College from qualifying candidates in the region. Zebra-style (50/50) must be observed in these nominations,” the communication reads.
The instruction further is; where males or females exceed the required 3 nominations, the Regional Executive Committee will initiate a process of elimination by voting through a secret ballot, as 50/50 must be adhered to at all times, Shaningwa wrote in part.
Shaningwa reminds the regional coordinators that “aspiring candidates for Electoral College must provide proof of 10 years’ uninterrupted membership to the party, national identity document, proof of annual and 1% payments as well (as) valid voter’s card.”
The ruling party’s extraordinary congress had decided in December last year, to add more requirements of experience for one to be party president and by extension to qualify for participating in the Pot.
The extraordinary congress at the same occasion agreed that people who are involved with social movements or organisations that differ with the ruling party, should be expelled.
A decision was allegedly taken that an aspiring politician who wants to be a Swapo president should be a party member for 20 uninterrupted years, the counting of which would start when (and if) the person had joined the party’s Pioneers movement, whose members are between the ages of 6 and 17.
The new rules stated that a party president should be in the central committee for a period of 10 years.
Essentially, a 21-year-old who aspires to be Swapo president would have to wait until they are 41 years old.
Shaningwa’s directive concludes with a stark reminder: “Dear Comrades, you are hereby reminded that any structure that fails to conclude the renewal of mandates shall be excluded from participating in the Electoral College 2019.”