Shaningwa defends secrecy over talks with China and Angola

Ester Mbathera

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shanigwa declined to divulge the agenda of her recent talks with the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the Chinese Communist Party.

Last week, Shaningwa met with MPLA vice president Luisa Pedro Francisco Damiao before travelling to China for further engagements.

“My God, Jesus. You think I should report to the media when I am meeting with my sister parties as the secretary general of the Swapo Party,” she said when questioned about these meetings.”

Shaningwa explained that Swapo operates within a global context, interacting with various nations and political parties.

“Whatever we are talking about is because we have political bilateral relationships. The essence of talking with MPLA is because we have been with MPLA. For that matter, for you to be free, it’s because Angola gave us their territory to fight our battle on their land. And today when you are free, you are questioning us, why I am talking to MPLA. Something must be wrong with the young generation,” said Shaningwa.

She also urged the younger generation to appreciate the historical alliances that contributed to Namibia’s liberation.

“Know your history and respect those who assisted us during the dark days. These include the Chinese, MPLA, Cuba, and Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) of Tanzania,” Shaningwa concluded.

Shaningwa also refuted claims that she was in China with businesswoman Stina Wu and Electoral Commission chief executive Petrus Shaama.

According to her, there are allegations that Shaama accompanied her to China to conspire with the ECN to print ballot papers.

“I would like to make it categorically clear that Swapo is a party of order, and ballot papers must be prepared; it does not only depend on one political party. It is a process that is agreed upon by all the political parties, where the ballot papers must be printed, by whom, and when,” she said.

ECN also refuted the claims that Shama was part of the delegation to China.

“They are completely false and unfounded,” said De Wet Siluka, the ECN spokesperson.

Both the MPLA and the Chinese Communist Party have over the years cemented their relationship with Swapo economically, politically, culturally, and socially.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende found it puzzling that Shaningwa refuses to disclose the nature of her discussions with these parties.

He questioned whether the discussions are confidential and, if so, why such confidentiality is necessary for a party that governs the state and is responsible for public resources and opportunities.

“You can’t say it’s confidential, or she went there to represent a political party. Swapo is composed of various individuals and is the party of today’s government. Something is not right. Maybe they went to look for money for their campaign. And if they did go and look for money, what are they expected to do in return for that?” he questioned.

Tyitende also questioned the recent interactions between Namibia and Angola, especially since the passing of President Hage Geingob.

This, according to him, indicates a renewed effort to strengthen bilateral ties.

During Geingob’s funeral, Angola sent a contingent of four Karakorum-8 or K-8 light attack aircraft that were used in a fly-over salutation.

That country also donated 20 vehicles that were used during the mourning period.

Days after Geingob’s funeral, numerous high-ranking officials from Namibia, including the minister of defence, Frans Kapofi, and President Nangolo Mbumba, visited Angola.

“These are former liberation movements that are perhaps aware that their political parties are declining, and maybe they are exchanging notes to see what they can do for their survival,” he said.

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