THE Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) secretary position is intensifying as the women’s congress days near. The current deputy secretary Fransina Kahungu and gender ministry official, Katrina Liswani are the two frontrunners to replace the outgoing secretary Eunice Iipinge. Insiders say, the majority of regional delegates favour Kahungu.
Sources say the former Swapo Party Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and former (SPWC) secretary Petrina Haingura are behind Liswani, while Kahungu allegedly have the backing of deputy vice president of (SWAPO) Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.
Kahungu is alleged to have more support in the Zambezi and the two Kavango regions, as well as Omusati and the Ohangwena regions, while Liswani is alleged to have the Oshana and the Kunene regions.
There are apparently no outright favourites in the Khomas and Karas regions for the two.
Kahungu told Windhoek Observer today that she is looking forward to the women’s congress, and she feels very confident. Despite the confidence she exuded, Kahungu says she feels humbled by the various regions for showing faith in her capabilities to lead them, “I am humbled by the regions who identified me to lead them and hope to get support from the congress come next week,” she says.
Kahungu also gave insight into who is illegible to gun for any position in SWAPO, saying that, within the SPWC all members are free to be elected provided they meet all requirements. She, however pointed out that elected to the secretary position, you cannot run for regional executive and only for a higher position than what you are currently occupying and hinted that, “it will not be correct to be identified by the same people who vetted or you to lead them and notbe nominated come the congress election”, she laments.
She gave this clarification after it came to light that some party members complained about candidates serving in the Central Committee and Politburo of the mother body, vying for positions in the central committees of the different party wings.
The outgoing SPWC Eunice Iipinge, told the Windhoek Observer that she has confidence in the two nominated candidates and whoever emerges has what it takes to lead the women’s wing. “They are part of the central committee and they are both leaders,and have been leading others, and were groomed in the patriotism of Swapo,” she emphasised.
Iipinge concurs that all SPWC are free to run for any position within the wing and every woman from the age of 18 is free to be part of the women’s wing, she said in response to concerns of members running for positions in other wings for central committee membership.
Ipinge further confirmed that the women’s congress will look at the five year report, resolutions that were taken at the last congress and how effective they were in implementing the resolutions.
Also on the agenda is the financial position of the wing, structure and the amending of the constitution, as society is changing and some provisions may need to be strengthened or removed.
Political analyst Ndumba Kamwenyah, told Windhoek Observer, that from an analytical point of view, he does not have earth shattering expectations from the women, but alluded that he would like to see some coherence and unity within the Swapo women’s congress.
The congress is slated from 24th February to 26th February. The women’s congress is taking place in the same year as the mother body (SWAPO) congress”, Kamwenya affirms.
He said the emerging candidate, as the new secretary of the wing will play a crucial role in uniting the party. If the incoming leader is not decisive, Kamwenya said it will be challenging for the party which is already in a peculiar position. Kamwenyah, concurs that the various positions that will be filled will also prove to be critical for the success of the party going forward.
However, he expressed his disappointment in the lack of rural leaders featuring in the race for leadership positions. It is important to have them in the leadership to address some negative cultural practices.
”The leaders that will be vetted by the congress, should bring in rural leaders both in the women wing and the mother body,” he said. “‘The outgoing did well to some extent, but in terms of tackling gender based violence, it was only one scenario of the Chinese who violated a woman – but the focus should be on all matters,” Kamwenyah said.
He wants the incoming secretary of the women’s wing, be more proactive, “I do not see any conflict in it, if one resigns from one position to run for the next position and that it is unlikely to happen in the mother body of central committee”, he opines, when asked if it is allowed for one to run and elected to positions with in all three wings in SWAPO.