The Swapo candidates running for the top three positions have started their online campaigns, some only with standard generic messages, while others have put up elaborate messages in their campaigns.
The initial pages created show some observable groupings that could broadly be termed as a slate. While initial reports, ahead of the start of the campaign, indicated that the incumbents in the positions of Vice President and Secretary General have left the 201 Harambee group and would fight to keep the status quo together, there is another team emerging.
The campaign pages of the Secretary General contestant, Armas Amukwiyu and that of Deputy Secretary General aspirant, Evelyn Naweses-Tayele are posting both candidacies on their respective pages as well as that of Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila. There is no presence of other contestants apart from a lone campaign message of Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and picture depicting Pohamba Shifeta in a sleepy praying position.
On the pages Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is depicted as representing ‘’organic unity, competence, generational progression’’. She is also described on one of the campaign placards as a ‘’rare gem discovered by the Founding Father, and moulded into the most formidable female politician in Namibia’’.
Her slate further market her progression and rise in Cabinet, first being appointed as the Director General of National Planning Commission by the Founding President, then as Minister of Finance by the second president and lastly as Prime Minister by the third president.
In her lone appearance on both pages of Naweses-Tayele and Amukwiy, the incumbent Vice President Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah appeals to her backers to support ‘’my well-intended campaign to do so in an orderly, disciplined and camaraderie spirit’’. She also called on them to respect and uphold the campaign guidelines of the party.
‘’Therefore, those of you campaigning for me and my candidacy for Swapo Vice President should bear in mind that you are but agents and advocates of peace, unity, discipline, transparency, capacity and meritocracy.’’
These disclaimer message are scripted on a generic ‘’Vote Netumbo for Vice President’’ poster.
No picture of the incumbent SG was found on both pages.
Amukwiyu is projected as the Implementer of Swapo policies and its political programme, a person who would modernise the party and the institutional memory of the organisation.
The supporters of the three while aware of allegations of corruption against Amukwiyu and Kuukongwelwa-Amadhila point out that Namibia is a country ruled by laws and not by emotions, saying both have been exonerated by either the ACC or the Prosecutor General.
One supporter of Amukwiyu observes that ‘’the state the Party finds itself in today is very worrisome as our choices for transformational leaders is limited as such leadership is not embraced or understood by most members. At this juncture we need a leader who can demonstrate humility, unity and fairness. I am convinced that Cde Amukwiyu makes the cut for the SG position. We need to restore order and sanity to that office’’.
Some of Naweses-Tayele’s campaign slogans are ‘’Every generation has its purpose’’ and that she represents ‘’Intergenerational Harmony’’. She is also putting strong emphasis on rebuilding and strengthening the structures of the party.
While the Observer was writing this article tonight, the campaign poster of Pohamba Shifeta was loaded on Naweses-Tayele’s page.
The Windhoek Observer could not establish if the pages have been endorsed by the three candidates and whether the messages carry their approval.
Questions send to some of them in this regard were not answered by the time of going to publication.
One issue that drew our attention is whether the group is not in contravention of Section 11 of the election guidelines which stipulates that ‘’any candidate who campaigns or behaves in such a way as to provoke or cause division or a break-down of Party unity or participates or supports organised factional activity that goes beyond the recognised norms of free campaign violates theses election guidelines’’.
Would the three joining their campaigns in a group not be seen as ‘’ORGANISED FACTIONAL ACTIVITY’’ and therefore violating the guidelines?