Itula warns Swapo against intimidating opponents

Panduleni Itula

Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) president Panduleni Itula has warned Swapo that his party will not tolerate intimidation.

Speaking at an IPC campaign at Oshakati on Saturday, Itula accused the ruling party of organising an event at the same time that an IPC gathering took place at Oniipa in the Oshikoto region.

Contacted for comment yesterday, Swapo Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu denied that Swapo tried to intimidate the IPC.

He said Itula is looking for political attention and relevance from Swapo.

“Our meeting was long planned and it was not a public meeting, it was a leadership meeting,” Amukwiyu said.

Oniipa district coordinator Paulus Shimakeleni could not be reached for comment.

“The incident that took place at Oniipa when Swapo organised an event at the same time as us shall no longer be tolerated in Namibia. We know they have run out of strategies and they only rely on what we do,” Itula said.

He said his party respects the rights of every party to participate in political activities, but referred to the way in which Namibians were intimidated by the apartheid regime in the 1960s and 1970s.

“We will do what we did to them [the apartheid regime] if they are intimidating us. We will take them out of power, but we shall have no revenge. We shall have the dignity of respecting even our opponents,” Itula said.

He condemned Swapo for allegedly saying his party is led by “imperialist agents” because the IPC leader studied in the United Kingdom (UK), while some Swapo leaders also studied in the UK and the United States (US).

“Show me one single leader in that party who did not get a western education,” Itula said.

He said both former president Hage Geingob and current president Nangolo Mbumba studied in the US.

According to Itula, chief justice Peter Shivute, judge president Petrus Damaseb, the speaker of the National Assembly, Peter Katjavivi and minister of home affairs, immigration, safety and security Albert Kawana all studied in the UK.

“I found them there and I know them all because I was their leader. I was the Swapo leader of students in the UK from 1981 until 1988. I know them all. They all studied in imperialist countries – why are they not imperialists?” he asked.

Speaking at the same event, IPC vice president Trevino Forbes said Namibians have been in “an abusive relationship with Swapo”.
He said his party is the only party that can free Namibians.


Some purported IPC supporters have recently claimed they would not allow Namibia to be ruled by a woman.

In response to this IPC spokesperson Immanuel Nashinge said: “All citizens are at liberty to express themselves. It’s a free country.”

Nashinge went on to point out that Swapo members and leaders have similarly made negative remarks about IPC president Panduleni Itula, labelling him an imperialist and a British handler.

“I am also quite sure people making utterances that they cannot be led by a female president are frustrated Swapo supporters. IPC supporters don’t make such utterances.

“We also have women in the IPC leadership as a matter of fact. Our slogan remains that it’s Namibia first, and we are all for Namibia,” he stressed.

Gender activist Rosa Namises has called on Namibians to give women in leadership the support they deserve.

“As much as men have been in leadership as presidents for so long, they also have weaknesses. Women also come with weaknesses, but we have to stop downplaying women.

“Women are powerful and experience has revealed great women who brought up great men with no support system, nothing and they excelled.

“Leadership is inborn. You don’t have a formula you learn in school that teaches you to be a great leader,” she says.

Meanwhile, political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah says the IPC should publicly condemn the controversial statements, as they reflect poorly on the party’s image.

“Some 34 years after independence, we have people in such a backward way. Citizens are supposed to be mature and should not make decisions based on patriarchy. It is expected, though, that our women presidential candidates will face patriarchal challenges in the coming elections.”

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday said: “You want to waste my time. You people are always working on rumours and that is what you get paid for, so go ahead and write what you want already.”

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