Swapo violated its constitution by pushing extraordinary congress to next year: Nahas Angula

Stefanus Nashama

Helmut says the decision was strange
-Analyst says the decision was taken on majority rules

Former Prime Minister and Swapo Party Stalwart, Nahas Angula said the ruling party has violated its constitution by avoiding organising an extraordinary congress within three months as stipulated in the constitution.

Angula was reacting to the Swapo Central Committee meeting that endorsed Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah over the weekend to represent the party as its presidential candidate for the election.

The Central Committee has resolved to push the much talked about extraordinary congress to next year April. Skipping the three months stipulated in the party’s constitution.

The Swapo constitution states that “in the event, the president is unable to permanently perform his or her duties, or carry out his or her functions for whatever reasons, an extraordinary congress shall be called by the Central Committee within three months of the vacancy occurring to elect a new president to complete the unexpired term of the former president, unless the vacancy occurs six months before the ordinary congress.”

Speaking to Windhoek Observer this week, the former Prime Minister said endorsing Nandi-Ndaitwah is not the issue, but it should be done within the confinement of the party’s constitution.

“I am currently in a remote area, I have not read anything about the CC decision on the extraordinary congress as yet, but my submission is that, if it is pushed to 2025, then it is unfortunate that the party constitution was violated. To endorse Netumbo is not a problem, but once they do that they should make sure all rules and procedures are followed,” he said.

Adding that the Central Committee should build trust for party members, and should not contradict the party constitution because it can create a precedence in the future.

“We must respect our policies, rules, and procedures so that people do not lose trust in us,” he advised.

Angula cautioned that Nandi-Ndaitwah, as an affected leader, should not create a downfall in the party, otherwise, members will lose trust.

She should make sure nothing she does as a leader creates fear amongst party members, he added.

Another former cabinet minister and Swapo veteran Helmut Angula, shared the same sentiment and cautioned the party not to go against its own rules.

Stating that the decision taken by the Central Committee is very strange to push the extraordinary congress to next year, while the constitution is very clear on that.

“The decision by CC on extraordinary congress in 2025 is very strange. How did they come up with that without following the constitution?” he asked.

Political Analyst, Erika Thomas said one of the principles of democracy is that the majority rules count and the CC made the decision based on that principle.

Adding that the CC decision on extraordinary congress for next year took into account impacts such as resources and time limitation in preparation for the national elections.

She also questioned why some Swapo members think the constitution is only violated now, adding that she does not see where and how the party constitution was violated.

According to Swapo, the CC decision to endorse Nandi-Ndaitwah was done in terms of Rules 8, 10, and 53 of the party constitution.

The party has also relied on Article 15(9) of the party constitution to have the extraordinary in April 2025 to elect the party president who will be replacing the late President Hage Geingob.

Whoever is going to win the party presidency position in April next year, will be tasked to complete the term left unexpired by the late Geingob.

The CC further resolved that moving forward; President Nangolo Mbumba will be accorded a standing invitation for all Politburo meetings.

During the CC meeting, Former Swapo Secretary General Pendukeni Ivula Ithana threw her weight behind Nandi-Ndeitwah. However, she differs on the CC decision to push the extraordinary congress to 2025, this, she said remains unconstitutional, according to media reports.

“We had the perfect opportunity to do things right since there is no contestation against Comrade Netumbo. Once that hurdle was cleared, we should have gone ahead and legitimised our collective position by convening the extraordinary congress within the frame stipulated time by the Swapo constitution,” as she was quoted in the Namibian Sun.

Defending the CC decision, Swapo Lawyer Sisa Namandje, highlighted that the party’s constitution contains nothing forcing Swapo to hold an extraordinary congress before the November 2024 presidential election.

In an event such as the passing of President Geingob, Namandje said the Swapo constitution requires the party to call for an extraordinary congress in three months but is not confined to do so in that time.

Adding that people who have been pushing for an extraordinary congress before the 2024 elections have gotten it wrong.

On the contrary, some lawyers and legal experts met the interpretation with skepticism with others ridiculing it.

A lawyer who chose to speak anonymously stated: “Calls means you should not hold in 3 months. Just call it? It is ludicrous. Meaning you can have it even in three years. If you want. There is a reason why that provision is there, to cater for an event that arises and which creates a leadership vacuum in the Presidency. What are these comrades drinking?”

Another lawyer, Kadhila Amoomo took to social media stating: “The Swapo party constitution was butchered and buried over the weekend. Swapo is now in a space where the dissenting voice will be dealt with ruthlessly. There is a silent fear in Swapo now. The kind of fear that does not accommodate opposing views. Tread carefully or you will see.”

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