Namibia: Swapo affirms Pohamba

BY: CHRISTOF MALETSKY

SWAPO yesterday once again threw its full weight behind President Hifikepunye Pohamba, saying he remains the party's only presidential candidate for the November presidential elections.

The affirmation of Pohamba as its sole candidate follows a turbulent Politburo meeting over the weekend at which the President confronted the issue of behind-the-scenes attempts to oust him as the presidential candidate.

Attempts to throw another Swapo presidential candidate into the mix are said to be at the core of the latest internal divisions within Swapo.

Pohamba told the Politburo meeting he had had enough of the infighting and challenged those who do not want him to stand to tell him so to his face.

Yesterday, the Party pledged its loyalty to Pohamba.

Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana also told a packed hall at the Swapo HQ in Windhoek that Swapo is targeting all 72 seats in the National Assembly this year.

The media briefing was called to share, from the horse's mouth, resolutions taken at the past weekend's Politburo meeting.

Ithana did not dwell much on what President Pohamba was reported to have said at the marathon weekend Politburo meeting and instead devoted herself to decisions taken at the gathering.

Ithana said Swapo wants a 100 per cent victory in the upcoming election.

Recently, the President is reported to have issued a circular to all regions encouraging them to go for a 95 per cent victory in the upcoming elections.

Pohamba's reasoning apparently is that Namibia is a democracy and needs to accommodate other political parties too.

However, sources claim the five per cent difference on the target is a clear sign that the party's head office and State House are operating on different levels.

Is that perhaps a sign of division or a mere lack of communication between the party's leader and operatives? These are small issues for some but mean so much if you look at things in the context of the environment that the party finds itself in, said one source.

The Namibian reported yesterday that Pohamba threw down the gauntlet at the Politburo meeting calling for discipline among the various structures of Swapo.

Although the 2007 Swapo Congress endorsed Pohamba as the sole presidential candidate, there have been moves in some quarters to reverse that decision.

However, the party leadership has denied on every official platform that there are plans to reverse the congress decision.

Following a report in The Namibian late last year that there were attempts to push for another candidate, Swapo Secretary for Information, Jerry Ekandjo denied this and accused the media of an agenda.

Swapo vice president, Hage Geingob and Ekandjo are some of the names touted as possible replacements for Pohamba.

Pohamba is reported to have told the weekend Politburo meeting: If people don't want me (to run for a second presidential term), they must tell me (to my face) and I will go.

It was the first time Pohamba has dealt so openly with those reportedly seeking to undermine his authority.

MANIFESTO

Ithana announced that the party will launch the review of its 2004 election manifesto on April 18 to coincide with the party's birthday on April 19.

The manifesto review would provide answers to critical questions on how far the nation has travelled over the past five years as well as the challenges ahead, she said.

The document will be open for public debate as we cement our niche as the only genuine party that puts the interests of the nation first and speaks to them.

Ithana also confirmed yesterday's report in The Namibian that the Politburo has appointed a committee headed by former minister Ben Amathila to investigate allegations made against Works Minister Helmut Angula.

She refused to provide details on the allegations, saying that it is an internal party issue.

Sources told The Namibian over the weekend that the Politburo made the decision after considering a report presented to them by Swapo regional co-ordinator Armas Amukwiyu, who claimed that Works Minister Helmut Angula called some people tribalists while touring certain areas in the North to explain the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).

It was also there that Angula allegedly said that there was a third force behind the Swapo Party Youth League, aiming to remove some senior ministers.

Another allegation was that Angula had told a meeting that the Think Tank was just a tribal platform initiated by Ithana to attack Pohamba and others.

Although Angula denied the claims at the meeting, the Politburo decided that they be investigated.

The Namibian

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