Hishoono steps down as SPEC secretaryBy: OSWALD SHIVUTE at ONGWEDIVA
VETERAN Swapo leader Kanana Hishoono, after 20 years as the secretary of the Swapo Elders' Council (SPEC), has made way for his deputy to fill the position at the weekend's congress held at Ongwediva.
The new SPEC secretary, Frederick Matongo, has served as Hishoono's deputy for the past 20 years, therefore not much change in the leadership style of the elders' wing is expected.
Matongo was elected unopposed, contrary to speculation ahead of the congress that a contestant would be nominated from the floor. Whether Hishoono would be standing for re-election also was a well-guarded secret. Reports ahead of the congress were that Hishoono's group tried to exclude their opponents as delegates to the congress, particularly people from the Caprivi Region.
Hishoono, despite stepping down as secretary, will still yield influence in the SPEC, because he has been re-elected to the central committee of the wing.
Mukwaita Shanyengange was elected to the deputy secretary position left vacant by Matongo. Shanyengange was the only one nominated for the position.
The chairperson of the organising committee of SPEC, Theopolina Mushelenga, confirmed to The Namibian that both Matongo and Shanyengange were elected unopposed.
Shanyengange is the President Hifikepunye Pohamba's special advisor on media in the State House. The congress also elected 26 new members to the central committee.
The Otjozondjupa and Omaheke regions were not represented at the congress, because they had not held their regional conferences.
Mushelenga at the conclusion of the congress declared the elections as free and fair.
The 26 elected central committee members, plus the secretary and the deputy secretary, 13 regional secretaries and four members nominated by the secretary make up the central committee of SPEC.
The central committee will select 15 delegates to the Swapo Party congress scheduled for the end of the year.
Matongo said in his acceptance speech that the fifth SPEC congress made history when it elected 12 women to its 26-member central committee.
“This is a history made by the Swapo Party Elders’ Council, because you cannot even find it in the mother body or in other wings. This shows you that we older people are mature enough and we are treating all equal,” Matongo said.
Officially closing the congress, Swapo secretary general Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana congratulated the delegates for keeping a gender balance in electing their leaders.
She said the party leadership had been advocating for the implementation of 50/50 gender representation in decision-making bodies in Swapo and the government, but this has not been easy. “Now today, the elders of our party have set the trend.”