Hold extraordinary congress, or we go to court: Swapo trio tells Shaningwa

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa has been instructed by lawyer Richard Metcalfe, from Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys, to hold an extraordinary congress on or before the 4 May or face a court challenge.

The law firm represents three Swapo party members, namely Reinhold Shipwikineni, Peter Shituula and Joshua-Vaino Martins.

In a letter dated 26 April 26 2024, they told Shaningwa that the central committee decision not to hold an extraordinary congress within three months after the death of President Hage Geingob was ridiculous

They said, through their lawyer, that the party has been blinded by the reasoning that it is constitutionally bound to call for, and not to hold, an extraordinary congress within three months after the passing of the president.

This interpretation was made by lawyer Sisa Namandje, who a month ago said calling for and holding an extraordinary congress were two different things, adding that Swapo would then choose its president next year on 19 April.

“Such interpretation conveniently blinds itself to the peremptory provisions of Article 15(9) which provide that an extraordinary congress shall be called by the central committee within three months of the vacancy occurring, to elect a new president to complete the unexpired terms of the former president,” the trio said.

“Any nonsense spouted that the holding of such meetings can be set to any time, trashes the provisions of Article 15(9) of the Swapo constitution. Unless the central committee complies with the Swapo party constitution by calling and convening an extra-ordinary congress to elect a Swapo party president on or before 4 May, this matter will result in litigation to demand the fulfilment of that is established in the Swapo party constitution,” they said.

Last month, the Swapo’s central committee decided that 19 April 2025 will be the date when an extraordinary party congress will be held, not anytime this year.

Namandje said there is nothing in the Swapo constitution that forces the organisation to hold an extraordinary congress this year.

This pronouncement came in the wake of a central committee decision to take note of vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as the ruling party’s presidential candidate, without her having to contest for the party presidential position at an extraordinary congress.

Namandje said in legal terms this was not an endorsement of the candidacy of Nandi-Ndaitwah, who on Saturday afternoon invited supporters to her house for celebrations after the central committee meeting.

“The party is entitled in the circumstances to choose a date that is convenient in the political realm, and that is practical. Therefore, the party considered various matters,” he said.

“We are not under obligation to explain to anybody because our constitution does not give us or specify a time period within which we must [hold an extraordinary congress]. Secondly, we said we have good reasons not to hold it now, and we chose the birthday of our party next year, thank you,” Namandje said

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News