No Swapo congress, no party presidential candidate: Shipwikineni

Stefanus Nashama

Former Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) Erongo Regional Executive Committee member, Reinhold Shipwikineni has thrown his weight behind former Youth Minister, Jerry Ekandjo’s call for another Extraordinary Congress to nominate the Party’s 2024 presidential elections candidate.

Shipwikineni said last year’s Congress did not nominate a candidate for this role, and failure to hold an extraordinary congress will cause divisions in the party ahead of next year’s harmonised elections..

“Without an extraordinary congress this year, Swapo will not be able to participate in the Presidential and National Assembly Elections in 2024. Only an extraordinary congress will decide who will run for the party’s nomination,” Shipwikineni emphasised. He furtrher highlighted that only those who are unfamiliar with the Swapo Party Constitution and the Namibian Constitution will reject Ekandjo’s proposal for an extraordinary congress.

In contrast, Geingob endorsed Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the party vice president and as the presidential candidate for the elections slated for 2024.

According to Ekandjo, the 2022 congress never nominated, voted on, or endorsed any party member to represent Swapo in the 2024 presidential and national assembly elections.

Shipwikineni, a well-known critic of the 2022 party ordinary congress, told the Windhoek Observer that the Swapo Party never nominated or chose a presidential candidate, but merely reelected Nandi-Ndaitwah as the party’s Vice President. He noted that he agrees with Ekandjo, in asserting that the Swapo Party Congress of 2022 was supposed to nominate and elect the party’s presidential candidate for 2024, but it never did. He further argued that the party president, Geingob, contested with himself and that no one chose him, hence he was never elected party president. This is in contrast with the fact that Geingob was the sole Party presidential candidate and was elected as such by Congress.

“I refer anyone who disagrees with Ekandjo’s call to Article 28 (3) (4) of the Supreme Namibian Constitution, which requires all political parties to nominate a presidential candidate,” Shipwikineni stated.

Shipwikineni underlined that Nandi-Ndaitwah is not a sole presidential contender and that she was never elected for the 2024 presidential elections.

Swapo has previously backed both former President Hifikepunye Pohamaba and current President Geingob in presidential elections.

However, Shipwikineni questioned the “system”, arguing that it was incorrect and that the party could not continue to make the same mistakes.

“As a loving and caring member of the Swapo Party, I remain and stand ready to advise the party where it goes wrong,” he stated, adding that “as party members, we cannot allow the party to commit mistakes without following the party constitution.”

He said that no one should be promoted to a position in Swapo and further stated that the party’s rule allowing the vice president to run for president violates the constitution of the Republic of Namibia.

According to Shipwikineni, if there is no chosen presidential candidate, an extraordinary congress is valid to elect one, as Ekandjo is requesting.

“I support comrade Jerry Ekandjo, the Swapo Party, and the Namibian Constitutions grant every Namibian citizen the right to run for president for as long as they qualify,” he said.

Shipwikineni also accused the Swapo Party for allowing Defense and Veterans Affairs Minister, Frans Kapofi and Mines and Energy Minister, Tom Alweendo to vote in the Central Committee elections despite not having crediatials to do so.

It is also unclear whether he intends to run for the party’s presidential nomination if his proposal for an Extraordinary Congress is accepted.

Attempts to reach the Swapo Party’s National Spokesperson, Hilmar Nicanor, for comment were futile.

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