Swapo party Secretary General (SG) Sophia Shaningwa has said good riddance after a number of opinionated, outspoken youthful members, including Job Amupanda, officially resigned as members of the ruling party on Wednesday.
The Affirmative Repositioning (AR) leader along with a number of former Swapo party youth league members, including Walvis Bay constituency councilor Knowledge Iipinge, officially left the party in a coordinated effort on Heroes’ Day, attributing their decision to not wanting to be associated with the “corrupt” Swapo party.
Shaningwa, however, welcomed their departure, stating that it was a “headache off her shoulders as a Secretary General of the party.”
“Since 2016, this group that we’re talking about now, that is AR, hasn’t been supporters of Swapo in any way. Since I became SG and before that when I was the Minister of Urban and Rural Development, when for the first time, we met them with the President at State House when they were demanding allocation of land to youth, from there, the actions of these youth members haven’t been for Swapo,” she told Windhoek Observer.
In a high-stakes meeting in 2015, following forceful land occupation and demands for others to also take land and protest high rents and the lack of low cost housing, Amupunda along with other youth representatives met with President Hage Geingob at State House. After that meeting, commitment was made by the government to service 200,000 plots across the country. This commitment never materialized.
Shaningwa further stated, “If you were a Swpao party member you were supposed to defend your party, but this is not the experience we had with them. They have been so actively dismissing and not defending the issues of Swapo. I can’t be moved for what never belonged to the party. They never belonged to the party, because members of the party don’t behave that way.”
Shaningwa said that she had witnessed some of those who resigned from the party mobilizing against Swapo. She said that she did not regret their departure.
“I even doubt that those who left even voted for the party in previous elections.”
This comes as Amupanda last year campaigned for independent presidential candidate, Panduleni Iitula, who ran against the Swapo candidate Hage Geingob.
Iitula has since formed his own party, Independent Patriots for Change (IPC). AR has also registered with the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) in Windhoek and Walvis Bay and is preparing for the November elections.
The move has been dubbed a “mass exodus” of youth from the party.
“We say farewell. We have youth who believe in the party. They made things very easy for me knowing who are the competitors in the market of politics,” said the Swapo Party SG.
Quizzed on whether the departures of party youth reflected the party’s need to reform its youth policies, Shaningwa said, “Who was not a youth in Swapo? The elders you see today were the youth previously. We were all groomed through the structures of the Swapo party. You don’t just jump. You get groomed within the structures of the Swapo party.”
This comes as Swapo Spokesperson, Hilma Ndinelago Nicanor previously told Windhoek Observer that the party was unmoved by new parties being formed by former Swapo members, who ate away at Swapo party votes in the last elections. Many pundits predict even more losses for Swapo at the ballot box in the upcoming elections.
“The establishment of any other organization cannot be something that should create worry for Swapo, whether or not this person is a former member of Swapo. This is not the first time it had happened,” Nicanor said.
Amupanda stated that his conscience could not allow him to remain a Swapo member.
“The continued association with South West Africa is an irritation to my moral and revolutionary consciousness. Corrupt South West Africa is a conglomeration of thieves and aspiring thieves and efforts to cleanse it, as we have been doing over the years, have been met with concrete and steel resistance by the corrupt elite governing South West Africa.”