The Secretary General of the SWAPO Party, Sophia Shaningwa, has strongly denied allegations that the ruling party uses Kavango people as voting cows.
Shaningwa said the people of the two Kavango regions cannot be used under any circumstances as ‘voting cows’.
She stressed that the Kavango regions have the strongest support of the Swapo Party, and the residents in those respective regions have the right to vote for the parties of their choice.
“The notion that people in the two Kavango regions are voting cows is wrong. There is nothing like that, and I want to condemn this notion,” she said.
Shaningwa made these remarks on Wednesday at the Rundu Urban Leadership Training where she was the main speaker.
She said both residents of Kavango East and West, and the Kavango people themselves are an integral part of the country and the Swapo-led government, and that they, therefore, are entitled to enjoy fully the fruits of the party and its government and participate in the democratic elections.
“We have to make sure that we all participate in elections, and that we all look at one another through all 14 regions as stakeholders when it comes to elections and the voting process,” she said. Shanigwa also used the opportunity to announce that the party Vice President, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is the sole candidate to represent Swapo in the 2024 presidential elections.
“This year requires us to adhere to policy and procedures as well as to the Constitution of the party. Therefore, as Secretary General of the party, I am expecting total adherence to the policy document going forward,” she said.
She said the training could not have come at a better time than this, adding that members should be open to learning and delivering for the sound victory of the party.
“As you enter into this training, bring about inclusive and progressive ideas, as we all need each other,” she urged.
Shaningwa called on party members to be good ambassadors for the preservation and perseverance of the party. Meanwhile, Kavango East Governor, Bonifatius Wakudumo said the notion that Kavangos are voting cows is just a political agenda, strategy and propaganda to confuse the minds of the voters, discourage them and weaken the Swapo Party.
“There is nothing like voting cows, I personally grew up in the politics of Swapo in this region before myself and others participated in the independence struggle of this county,” he said.
Wakudumo said as a Swapo cadre and Governor, he believes that people also look at the development in those regions and perhaps feel like the Government is not doing enough, hence the notion. However, Wakudumo said the Government has achieved a lot in the two Kavango regions although they are still in need of roads.“We are not voting cows we are Namibians. Those saying we are voting cows, that is their views, he said.
A resident of Rundu who asked to remain anonymous said the notion of ‘voting cows’ is viewed from a political understanding perspective, and based on the way Kavango people behave themselves during election time.
“I can tell you now, many people in this area do not understand politics, they only have Swapo in mind that is why they keep voting, clapping hands and singing songs for the same party that has failed them for over 30 years of independence,” the source said.
The source further said the two Kavango regions are still behind in development compared to other parts of the country yet the Kavangos see it good for them.