It is alleged that Swapo Secretary-General, Sophia Shaningwa, continues to defy an order issued by President Hage Geingob to apologise to Okorukambe district coordinator, Frans Murangi, for having removed him from his position in 2017, in place of another candidate despite the ruling party having endorsed his election.
The matter arises after Murangi was summoned before the Swapo party politburo earlier this year after being deemed disruptive in the region by Shaningwa. Murangi, however, explained to Geingob that he had been endorsed and appointed by the politburo in 2017 but a delegation led by Shaningwa had instead appointed Gideon Kavari as District Coordinator (now former district coordinator), a move that was termed unprocedural, resulting in Geingob ordering that an apology be offered to Murangi.
To date Shaningwa is still to formally issue the apology, amid revelations Swapo Executive Director, Austin Samupwa, has unsuccessfully tried to have her sign the apology letter.
“The party Spokesperson should comment on the matter,” Samupwa said. Questions sent to Swapo Spokesperson, Hilma Nicanor, were not responded to at the time of publication. Documents in possession of the Windhoek Observer signed by then SG and now Vice-President, Nangolo Mbumba, however show that Murangi was officially appointed as District Coordinator of the constituency after a politburo resolution in August 2017. “All is a witchcraft from your good-selves. I found Cde Murangi issues in the office. Murangi issues did not come up during my time. How is it possible that you sit it on my shoulder? What a hell is going on?,” Shaningwa responded. “It was a long time ago when I was Secretary General. The history is clear that there has been some hiccups,” Vice-President Mbumba said.
He, however, added he was not privy to the President’s instructions, stating, “I did miss one meeting after I was sent out of the country with some other assignment. The latest development I don’t know.”
According to sources, a verification team headed by Libertina Amathila, was sent to Omaheke in 2017 after complaints rose in Omaheke constituencies following the party’s restructuring process countrywide.
The team consisting of Minister of Presidential Affairs, Christine ǁHoebes, and Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Sylvia Makgone, among others, is alleged to have invalided Murangi’s appointment in Okorukambe, despite the Politburo endorsement, a position which deprived him of his salary which was instead paid to Kavari.
The restructuring process was also allegedly marred with irregularities in Aminuis, Otjinene, and Otjimbingwe.
The development saw Murangi taking the matter to the High Court as an urgent matter, however the urgency of the case was dismissed with costs of N$1.2 million, a position which has seen the Master of High Court seeking to attach Murangi’s property to pay the bill.
Murangi confirmed that he was aware of the case and the apology that Geingob had instructed to be issued to him, which has not yet been given.
“I am aware of the matter and don’t have much to say,” he said. Murangi was recently elected as District Coordinator of Okorukambe. Swapo party member iN Omaheke, Fessy Marenga, who is aware of the matter, said the on-going issue has eroded member confidence in the region and could have future negative impact. “It will have a negative impact. If Murangi’s mother or brother must sell a cow to support his brother or son, what heart will they have to campaign for the party again? You’re saying four people must pay N$1.2 million and I know none of them are in a position to pay and you expect the same people who you are punishing to campaign for the party. Will it work?”
“It went to an extent that an apology letter must written to Murangi because he was denied a salary for four years. Politburo directed the SG to write a letter of apology. To my understanding the ED, Austin Samupwa, drafted this letter for the signature of the SG. Up to now, she’s hostile to sign that letter. What happened to him happened in other districts.”