Staff Writer

Swapo Party regional coordinator for //Kharas and member of the Central Committee, Mathew Mumbala, says the Fishrot scandal is unfairly being used to destroy the ruling party and its leadership ahead of the 2024 elections.

“As a party, we have over the years relied on donations and there is know where you can tell if it’s the result of any form of illegal activity. During the liberation struggle we also used to get donations to fund the acquisition of food, weapons and various materials,” he said.

“The ruling party never instructed anyone to solicit funds from Fishcor, thus to try and blame the party and its President for the on-going Fishrot corruption saga is mischievous and misplaced.”

Mumbala said despite insinuations about the President’s involvement in the scandal, there has not been any tangible and physical evidence to support the claims.

“The President is under no investigation, so let’s leave him to focus in running the country and the party,” he said.

The //Kharas regional coordinator said allegations that the President has not acted since the scandal broke out is not true.

“He did recall the ministers that he had appointed and the party went further and recalled them from Parliament,” he said.

On the issue on why the two former cabinet ministers, Bernard Esau and Sackey Shangala remain central committee members, Mumbala explained that the President did not have the power to remove elected officials.

“If genuine member want the two to be removed from the central committee then their regional structures should write to the central committee to make the demand. It’s not for non-Swapo members to make the demand,” he said.

Mumbala said it was not fair that the Fishrot scandal is only being linked to Swapo when the Act used by the accused was ratified by the whole Parliament.

“I didn’t see petition from any of the parties opposing the new law. This law was not changed by two people,” he said.

Mumbala accused the media of “translating” affidavits which are still to be tested in the court of law.

“The media cannot solely be blamed for smear campaign against the ruling party, hence there are political entities behind the scenes, either to blackmail government or takeover in 2024, “he said.

“The onslaught on the party and the President, championed by some sections of the media, is part of a continuous attempt to weaken former liberation movements in Southern Africa, in particular to destroy the Swapo party.”

Mumbala urged Swapo members to work hard to clear the stigma against the party.

“There strong similarities between the Fishrot case and Avid saga, in that actions of individuals are being portrayed as the collective action of the ruling party and political opportunists are trying to link party heads to the scandal,” he said.

President Geingob, who is also the ruling party President insists corruption in Namibia is not a systemic problem, but rather a result of some corrupt officials.

“I believe that corruption is not systemic in Namibia, but perceptions have been created that Namibia is a corrupt society. Although corruption is not systemic in Namibia, we recognise that some corrupt officials have tainted the name of our country. It is therefore important for all citizens to emphasise that corruption in any form, e.g. kickbacks, or percentage commission for the amount of a contract, is unacceptable,” said Geingob early this week.

The President further maintained that he was willing to clarify allegations levels against him over his alleged involvement in the Fishrot scandal but was unable to because the matter was now pending in courts.

“With regard to the allegations pertaining to Fishcor, I will maintain the same position I have shared with the Namibian public. The case concerned has now reached a sensitive stage as the Prosecutor-General has taken a decision, and the case will soon proceed to trial. I will not seek to jeopardize or influence the administration of justice through public statements induced by the media.”

The corruption trial of two former cabinet ministers, Bernard Esau and Sackey Shangala is set to begin in two months’ time after Prosecutor General, Martha Imalwa, decided to charge the Fishrot accused ministers, along with Esau’s-son- in-law, Tamson Hatuikulipi; former Fishcor Board Chairman, James Hatuikulipi; former Fishcor Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mike Nghipunya, along with former Investec Asset Management Namibia Director, Ricardo Gustavo and Pius Mwatelulo.