Samupwa denies emergence of slate politics
… ‘It’s personal preference’

Obrein Simasiku

Swapo Executive Director said the candidates who have put joined forces in their campaigns through social media are not creating slates but practising individual preference.

This amid recent developments where some candidates vying for the positions of Vice President, Secretary General and Deputy secretary general have merged and set up what seems to be camps, a different version of 2017 congress that pitted Team Harambee and Team Swapo.

VP contender Sarah Kugwongelwa-Amadhila, SG candidate Armas Amukwiyu and Deputy SG aspirant Evelyne Nawases-Taeyele, seem to be in one camp, while on the other hand incumbent VP Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is tagged along with SG incumbent Sophia Shaningwa running along, while Pohamba Shifeta has not entirely come out of the woods to where he leans. Same applies to deputy SG contenders Uahekua Herunga, Lucia Witbooi and David Hamutenya.

“Those working together have perhaps seen the qualities they possess hence the need to work together, as a party we are not seeing it as slates but individual preference. We are in a democracy and what is happening is a democratic process,” he said allaying notions that slates are being created.

But, former trade unionist, Cuana Angula said what is at play is slate politics and the party has to crack down on divisive, slate-based campaigning leading up to the congress.

‘’Since 2017, the party has deteriorated to a point where it recorded its worst electoral performance in national, regional and local government elections. The underlying issue is that slate politics is not just about party positions, it is about one group seizing power, dominating the party and, by extension, to the government and having access to resources,’’ Angula said.

On the issue of the internally organised campaigns closed to the media Samupwa said the have nothing to do with evading the media, rather just instilling the internal campaign rules as laid out by President Hage Geingob when he officially launched the intra party campaigns.

“The rules were laid out and that is what we are exercising, it is internal matters therefore it will be handled internally without involvement of third parties. So the candidates officially introduce themselves to the delegates, as they carry on with their campaigns,” stressed Samupwa.

A fortnight ago, Geingob announced a number of rules which set the tone of campaigning. Geingob told the candidates to play the ball and not the man. He also cautioned against insulting, using abusive language, using the media to campaign, among others.

“So the campaigns happening on social media are allowed for as long as the candidates are not using abusive language, demeaning words, but it is all about showing your capabilities,” he said.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende, disagrees saying for a mass political party, it would be a blunder of colossal proportions to try to do that as it goes against the principles of democracy.

“Even the Miss Namibia contenders present their ideas to the public, why not political party candidates that will most likely assume state power? What happened to the mantra of ‘the people are SWAPO and SWAPO is the people’?” questioned the analyst.

He further described the election campaign guidelines as ‘’draconian, ludicrous and anti-democratic by any stretch of imagination’’.

“My hunch is that it is part of a choreographed manoeuvre to hinder the campaign prospects of certain candidates. How do you campaign side by side with your political opponent while purportedly having divergent visions for the country? I can’t tell you what would happen, but I know it would not go according to plan (adherence to the guidelines) as the ascendency to state power is riddled with deception, manipulation and conniving. This has happened in the past, and it will surely happen again,” said Tyitende.

By Observer