‘They misuse Nujoma’s name’

Sam Nujoma
… Former executive director warns Swapo factions against using founding president’s name

Former executive director of works and transport Peter Mwatile has warned against abusing founding president Sam Nujoma’s name in Swapo’s succession politics.

Nujoma cannot endorse decisions violating the party’s constitution, he has said.

A speech read by prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila on behalf of Nujoma at Swapo’s central committee (CC) meeting on Saturday endorsed vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as the ruling party’s sole presidential candidate in this year’s elections.

Over the years there have been concerns that people close to the president are abusing Nujoma’s name for political gain.

Mwatile, who worked as permanent secretary in former president Hifikepunye Pohamba’s office, yesterday said the endorsing statement was not prepared by Nujoma.

He said the speech bypassed and violated Swapo’s constitution.

“It was not made out of Nujoma’s conscience. They have misused Nujoma’s name,” he said.

Peter Mwatile

He said: “I believe someone drafted that speech and sent it to officials at Nujoma’s office for a Sam Nujoma Foundation logo. Because we respect Nujoma, we could not stand up on the floor and condemn that speech.”

Mwatile said officials at Nujoma’s office have sold him out.

“Nujoma cannot prepare a speech that bypasses and violates the party’s constitution.”

He said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila could have asked Nujoma whether he prepared the speech before reading it.

Mwatile said before the prime minister started reading the statement, some CC meeting members started clapping hands and jumping up and down.

“It’s as if they knew what was in the speech. What type of a central committee is this? I suspect this was not Nujoma’s speech. It was signed by him. It was taken from the corridors,” he said.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila did not respond to two text messages sent to her yesterday. However, Nujoma’s personal assistant, Paul Shipale, yesterday said Nujoma did prepare the speech.

“In fact, I personally travelled to Henties Bay on Wednesday and drove back on Friday with that statement, which he wanted to deliver personally in the central committee, as he was duly invited as a permanent member of both the politburo and the central committee of the Swapo party,” he said.

Shipale said due to other commitments and unforeseen circumstances, Nujoma could, however, not attend the meeting and instead delegated Kuugongelwa-Amadhila to deliver his statement.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

“It is malicious to insinuate someone can speak or deliver a statement on behalf of the founding president without his consent,” Shipale said.

He said: “The founding president gave his own personal opinion as he was entitled to as a disciplined cadre of the party.”

Mwatile said despite Swapo leaders saying all went well at the CC meeting, this is not the case.

He said some attendants called for the agenda of the meeting to be amended, but were allegedly blocked by a faction pushing for Nandi-Ndwaitwah to sail through as Swapo’s only presidential candidate.

Mwatile also accused Nandi-Ndaitwah of not chairing the meeting fairly.

“The chairperson did not provide leadership; the meeting was controlled by the floor. There was no actual fairness. The meeting did not go well. There was a conflict of interest and a violation of the constitution of the party,” he said.

During the meeting, party veteran Ben Amathila asked for the speech to be distributed so that CC members could scrutinise it, which did not happen.

Amathila yesterday confirmed that the speech was not distributed.

“I guess there were no facilities to multiply it,” he said.

Some CC members allegedly started questioning the authenticity of Nujoma’s speech.

One of these members was allegedly Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun, who asked for proof.

Namundjebo-Tilahun could not be reached for a comment yesterday.

Contacted for comment yesterday Nandi-Ndaitwah sent The Namibian a text message, saying: “Sorry, I can’t talk now.”

She did not respond to further text messages sent to her. Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah says if the suggestion that Nujoma did not prepare the speech is legitimate, his name was used to influence the outcome of the CC meeting.

“Let the man live his life and enjoy his grandchildren. He has done a lot. It’s not a wise move to use his name,” he says.

Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana


The Namibian has been informed that former Swapo secretary Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana endorsed Nandi-Ndaitwah as the party’s sole candidate for the presidential position after Nujoma’s speech was read.

Iivula-Ithana yesterday said she would not be buying favours ahead of the general elections slated for 27 November.

She could not say whether she would be campaigning for Nandi-Ndaitwah, but said she would go with the decision of the majority.
The former home affairs minister has had an acrimonious relationship with the late president Hage Geingob, which saw her being kicked out of the government.

“I have always been there. I was just chucked out of the leadership by some forces. I never resigned, I never campaigned against the party. I just went home and rested.

“My appeal to the house was that now that people have given that statement of the founding father a standing ovation it allayed the fears there would be other instances.

“Therefore it made it easier for us now to negotiate and discuss the implementation of provision 15 (9) of the constitution of Swapo.

“That contribution of mine did not buy favours. I do not want to be seen to be going against what was eventually decided,” she said.

The secretary of the party’s women’s council, Fransina Kahungu, has, however, said Iivula-Ithana is in the Nandi-Ndaitwah camp.

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