The elective Swapo Party Women’s Council Congress slated for the last weekend of this month will be conducted virtually from three venues.
Delegates from Zambezi and the two Kavango regions will meet in Rundu, while the Kunene, Omusati, Oshikoto and Oshana regions will converge in the Oshana region and Karas, Hardap, Khomas, Erongo, Omaheke and Otjozondjupa will meet in the Karas Region.
The three gatherings will meet simultaneously and connected to one venue virtually.
This will be the first time a Swapo congress will be done in this fashion, and if successful could perhaps set an example for many such meetings to be held virtually.
The women’s council is the first Swapo Party wing to kick-off its congress ahead of the party’s main congress, which will anoint the party’s presidential candidate for the 2024 presidential election.
The SPWC information officer, deputy mines minister Kornelia Shilunga says the wing has no preferred candidate and will support any candidate endorsed by the Swapo Party.
It has been reported that Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Swapo Vice President is the automatic successor by virtue of her being the deputy. Asked whether SPWC supports Nandi-Ndaitwah, Shilunga insisted that the decision lies in the hands of “the mother body”.
“The decision concerning that can go through our structures. We don’t just take it unilaterally. We get into the formalities of our structure and we get information accordingly. When we are going to campaign our campaign will be directed by the party’s constitution. We have to wait until the party pronounces itself.”
She said although one of the objectives of SPWC is to promote women to be empowered to get into power, the Swapo Party has also changed the constitution to have a 50/50 representation in its structures. ‘’Therefore the support of women coming from SPWC is not an issue. The support for women is to come from the party,” Shilunga explained.
SPWC congress is scheduled to start on 24 February and ends on 26 February. Shilunga confirmed that the congress will be held virtually.
Meanwhile, the SPWC Secretary campaigns of Katrina Itula-Luswani and Fransina Kahungu have been marred by regionalism and tribalism, following a recent social media engagement between Charles Mubita and Phil ya Nangoloh after the latter claimed Itula-
Liswani “is not known to in the Swapo party activities at all”.
A statement by one Penda Nakathingo suggests that SPWC congress goers support Itula-Liswani on the basis that she is from the Oshikoto Region.
The statement, written in Oshiwambo claims that although Itula-Luswani is married to someone from Zambezi Region, she is a full Ndonga from the Oshikoto Region and therefore she should be supported to become the wing’s Secretary.
“Should all Swapo leaders or government leaders be from Omusati Region? Swapo Party Secretary General Sophia Shaningwa is already from Omusati. Now should the SPWC Secretary also be from Omusati? You guys, when are we Ndongas going to lead Swapo? I am pleading with Swapo women to give leadership to Katrina, for development to come to Oshikoto region for the first time,” the statement reads.
Contacted for comment, Kahungu said “this is just a matter of two people supporting two candidates and they are free to do so”.