Tujoromajo Kasuto

Namibia’s oldest political party, South West Africa National Union, Swanu of Namibia, is holding an extra-ordinary congress on Saturday, 21 August, in the capital, under the Theme “Defending our Heritage”.

The Extra-Ordinary Congress Committee Chairperson, Rihupisa Kandando, says the party has been in limbo since a motion of no confidence, in the Politburo (PB) and the Central Committee (CC) at the end of May at a meeting of some of the branches in Epukiro, in the Omaheke Region.

The motion was motivated by the current party leadership being out of line with the party’s “revolutionary” wishes and aspirations, and the resultant erosion of the support of the members. Kandando says the extra ordinary congress is urgent since the current leadership assumed leadership after the congress in April 2017, there has only been one CC meeting in Okahandja in 2018. While Swanu’s constitution provides for four CC meetings per year. Thus, Kandando claims, the leadership has failed to convene the requisite eleven CC meetings in the last three years.

The CC is the second highest decision-making structure of the party after congress deciding policy and other related matters. Kandando blames the leadership for the non-convention of the CC meetings, convened by the Politburo (PB) and alternatively when members of the CC so demand. This albeit Kandando has not been happening since 2017.

He adds the fact that half of the current members of the PB are appointees of the current President, Tangeni Iijambo, without the approval, gratification and confirmation of the CC, while he does not have the final authority to appoint as he only has the right to nominate people and preliminary appointments, another issue for the Extra-Ordinary Congress. “He appointed people in those positions without the rectification of the central committee, the party has been operating on the basis of politburo which some haven’t been gratified by the Central Committee”

Kandando adds that the PB and the CC are dysfunctional as both are not legal to run the affairs of the party if they are not in compliance with the spirit and aims of Swanu.

When Windhoek Observer quizzed if “failure” of the current leadership warrant leadership change, Kandando notes that at the moment he cannot confirm if there will be an election as the party “will cross the bridge once they are there”.

“What is at stake is a decision [if] those motions [are] still subject to deliberations by Extra Ordinary Congress. Whether there will be replacements or not it is not an issue as we are waiting for rectification or rescinding.”