“We are not voting cows” – Kapako Swapo members

Martin Endjala

Members of Swapo of the Kapako District in the Kavango West region, have hit back at the party leadership, saying they will no longer be voting cows.

Party members, in a letter dated 27 April and directed to the Swapo party secretary general, Sophia Shaningwa, titled ‘Favouritism, Intimidation, Discrimination and Egotism’, made their grievances against the assigned chairperson Verna Sinimbo clear.

“We would like to warn those who are carried by titles, such as honourable, central committee member and Politburo, that you are here because of us and not by yourself. This is the year of imagination. The politics of today are not the same as the politics of yesteryear. There have been a lot of transformations in the way people perceive things. Therefore, we would not shy away by making it categorically clear that we are no longer voting cows, ” read the letter.

The letter signed by 127 members said the issue emanated from the 2022 national congress as a result of the alleged preference of candidates.

The members are dismayed by the actions of Sinimbo, whom they accused of exclusively deciding to supervise the district conference against the Rules and Procedures of the party.

They have warned that they will no longer sit and idle, but will demonstrate their democratic rights to do what is right for the region.

“Her interest was to eliminate the preferred candidate because of her egotism. Amongst the eight constituencies, she picked up Kapako district where she thought she could use her vote-buying tactics for her preferred candidates to be elected. Unfortunately, her scheme dismally failed,” they said.

Attempts to get hold of Sinimbo proved futile at the time of publishing this article.

The members want their candidate Valentinus Munkara endorsed as the district coordinator and Maurus Nekaro.

They demand their candidate to be recognised by 29 April.

Political analyst and Swapo party member, Stephanus Pombili, said the people of Kavango East and Kavango West regions are now awake and refuse to be referred to as mere voting cows by SWAPO and forgotten after elections.

“It is very interesting that now SWAPO comrades are waking up and realising that politics is not just about voting, but there is more to it. Kavango is home to more than five irrigation projects, but young people in Kavango are unemployed despite Kavango being the best land in terms of agriculture with natural water. Rundu, under SWAPO administration, has seen dry taps for many years now,” he said.

Pombili believes that the SWAPO must wake up, otherwise, the party will end in trouble come November.

“I have warned the SWAPO party leaders that “Kanda ulama” will eventually react and kick them out, but they never listen. Kapako’s biggest SWAPO base is dying, citizens are tired, and they have refused,” argued Pombili.

Statistics have revealed that at least 78% and 77% of the two regions face multidimensional poverty.

According to him, the Kapako Constituency might collapse soon or join the opposition parties of the likes of Panduleni Itula and McHenry Venaani, if Swapo does not resolve the issue.

Meanwhile, Swapo’s old guard, Jerry Ekandjo called on the central committee to reverse all decisions/resolutions taken at its meeting held on the 9 March and call for the extraordinary congress.

The extraordinary congress is to elect a party President in terms of Article 15(9) who will replace the late Hage Geingob who died on 4 February.

“If there is a political will from the central committee, the extraordinary congress will take place within three days. It is our further conclusion that failure to address these demands, the political future of the Swapo party and the future generation of Swapo is at high risk,” cautioned Ekandjo.

Ekandjo warned that the party is likely to lose during the general and presidential elections in November, and may experience a political disaster that could be hard to reverse.

In March the party central committee resolved to enforce party vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as its presidential candidate for November elections.

This is despite the party’s rules that normally dictate that the presidential candidate should be the party president.

Swapo does not have a president as it stands as the central committee resolved to hold the extraordinary congress on 19 April 2025 only.

Party lawyer Sisa Namandje at the time argued there is nothing in the Swapo constitution that forces the liberation movement to hold an extraordinary congress this year.

On Friday, lawyer Richard Metcalfe instructed Shanigwa to hold the extraordinary congress on or before the 4 May or face a court challenge.

Metcalfe was acting on the instruction of Walvis Bay-based party members Reinhold Shipwikineni, Peter Shituula and Joshua-Vaino Martins.

“Our clients wish to make it categorically clear that they oppose factionalism and have no hidden agendas to advance any specific SWAPO Party member’s aspirations to supplant the nominated presidential candidate for national elections in November 2024 notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 53 of SWAPO Party Rules And Procedures For Election Of Party Office Bearers. Such Rule can be 54,” Metcalfe said.

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