Swapo tells aggrieved parties to put their concerns in writing

Uahekua Herunga

Swapo deputy secretary general Uahekua Herunga says party members who have grievances with Swapo should formally write to the office of the secretary general.

“Anybody who wants to talk to the party or advise the party, they must put it in writing and send it to the office of the secretary general. It is always good to have it in writing,” Herunga says.

This comes after party member Pedro Mwenyo dismissed the notion that Swapo does not have the money to hold an extraordinary congress.

The Namibian reported on Tuesday that Swapo said it does not have the funds to organise an extraordinary congress, which some members are legally pursuing to elect a new party president.

Swapo now finds itself at a cross-roads grappling with both internal anger and financial constraints, while a legal case from a faction of party members calling for Swapo to host the extraordinary congress is set to head to court this week.

A faction led by Swapo veterans and represented publicly by Reinhold Shipwikineni, Peter Shituula and Joshua-Vaino Martins, gave Swapo until 5 May to hold an extraordinary congress.

The faction, legally represented by lawyer Richard Metcalfe, in April wrote a letter demanding that Swapo host an extraordinary congress to replace party president Geingob.

Swapo, however, denied this request.

“Our client denies, in strongest terms, the allegations of illegality contained in your letter,” reads a letter dated 3 May from Swapo’s legal representatives Murorua Kurtz Kasper Incorporated.

Mwenyo has advised Swapo to call Shipwikineni, Shituula and Martins to the negotiating table to find an amicable solution to end the legal action.

He says if the claims are true that Swapo does not have funds, then as party members, they will summon party leaders to explain how they spent funds during the past congress.

“From what we know, candidates at the past congress had to source their own money for their activities, including transport, food and accommodation. It is not the party that catered for them. And the party has only spent that money in that hall where the congress took place. We know that a hall per day cannot be too expensive,” Mwenyo says.

“Even if it was above N$7 000, the amount of money that is spent on the congress on the party ticket is very low in order to fulfil the mandate of the party constitution. It does not make sense at all to say we are broke. We want our leaders to be open and realistic. We all want the party to win and the candidate of the Swapo party to win, but let us be clear and truthful.”

Mwenyo says if members argue that the party constitution was violated, they should be called to meet in order to reach an amicable solution rather than using the lack of funds as an excuse.

“Swapo can never be out of money. The Swapo party has been ruling the country for 34 years and it has companies that were created to sustain Swapo’s needs, and that money has not been used and the only time it can be used is when there is a congress or when there are legal suits, like this that has occurred. So where is the money? We need answers to these questions,” Mwenyo says.

He further says he has not yet submitted a formal complaint to Swapo but he has called the secretary general to make an appointment, to no avail.

“I also called the deputy secretary general and advised him that people who are taking the party to court are not wrong. In my own opinion, they are not wrong. There is no way you can violate the constitution of the party that governs you and keep peace between party members. Therefore, I advised him to call these comrades and to at least arrange and call them and find a solution,” he says.

“If those members go to court the party will lose. The violation of the constitution is wrong. Wrong is wrong. To avoid this, they must call the comrades and negotiate and finish the misunderstanding once and for all. We need to go to elections with a clean and clear mind and with one heart,” Mwenyo adds.

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