Shaningwa denies Chinese funding for election

Sophia Shaningwa

SWAPO secretary general (SG) Sophia Shaningwa says there is nothing sinister about her recent visit to China, amid speculation that she was sourcing funding from the Communist Party of China (CPC) to drive the ruling party’s campaign ahead of the November elections.

Swapo and CPC are close allies with very similar structures in their hierarchy and the Chinese party has been a regular visitor to Swapo engagements in the past. The two parties believe in a communist style leadership and have worked together since the liberation struggle.

“I would like to make it categorically clear that political bilateral relations between Swapo and the Communist Party of China have been there since the days prior to independence. It shall be a continuous process that the two parties will assist each other until something happens between us,” Shaningwa said upon her return from China on Saturday.

She said the meeting with the CPC was purely political and key topics discussed included the training of Swapo youth leaders, practical training in various fields such as agricultural technology and political short courses for Swapo central committee members.

“Exchange visits between Swapo and CPC leadership enables us to learn from each other’s experiences and strengthen our party-to-party relationship,” Shaningwa said.

She further said she also travelled to China in 2018 in her role as secretary general to meet with the CPC ahead of the 2019 elections.

“As SG, I have a responsibility to maintain the bilateral relationship between parties who stood with us during the time of bitter struggle,” Shaningwa said.

These parties include the CPC, People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola, Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania,

Communist Party of Cuba, Communist Party of the Russian Federation, United Russia, African National Congress of South Africa, Frelimo of Mozambique and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, she said.

“As SG, I am moving with the times and am not only a politician but am broad within the understanding of contemporary politics and global development,” Shaningwa said.

Shaningwa denied that Chinese-born property mogul Stina Wu formed part of her delegation to China.

She also dismissed claims that her recent trip to China was to conspire with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) to print ballot papers in order to undermine the democratic process in November this year.

“Swapo is a law abiding party and would follow laid down procedures on the printing, distribution and verification of ballots by all parties in a manner that includes all participating contestants,” Shaningwa said.

She further said her delegation only included members from the Swapo central committee under her office and one politburo member.

Meanwhile, the ECN refuted claims that its chief, Peter Shaama, formed part of Shaningwa’s delegation to China.

“The commission refutes these allegations in the strongest terms. They are completely false, malicious and unfounded,” noted the ECN in a statement yesterday.

The ECN further noted that it operates independently.

“We, therefore, urge the public to refrain from spreading false and malicious information that has the potential of casting aspersions over the integrity of the electoral processes and the upcoming national and presidential elections. Let us continue to uphold the values of sound democracy in Namibia,” the ECN noted.

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