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Fur flies at Swapo summit

Published by Oct 09, 2007

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Fur flew at the Hardap Swapo Party Regional Conference over the exclusion of Rehoboth East District delegates from the regional executive committee election.

Of the six Swapo districts in Hardap, only five participated in the regional conference held at Mariental on Sunday.

Districts that took part were Rehoboth Rural, Rehoboth West, Mariental Urban, Mariental Rural and Gibeon.

Disgruntled Rehoboth East delegates handed over a petition in protest at their exclusion from the conference to the region's assigned leader, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

Apparently the Swapo Rehoboth East District delegates could not participate in the regional conference because that district's conference, which was scheduled for last Friday, did not take place.

According to Nandi-Ndaitwah, the regional executive committee informed her that the Rehoboth East District Swapo members had shunned that district conference.

But the Swapo Rehoboth East District delegates blamed the regional executive committee, claiming it had deliberately excluded them, preventing their District Co-ordinator, Willie Swartz, from challenging Nico Mungenga for the post of Regional Co-ordinator.

The group demanded the immediate removal Mungenga, who was re-elected at Sunday's conference, claiming that he had been convicted on a charge of drunken driving, thus violating Article IV C. 2. (b)(c) of the Swapo Party constitution.

When approached, Mugenga acknowledged the criminal conviction and said this had been dealt with at the highest Party level before he took up the post of acting Regional Co-ordinator.

He added that since he was only fined and did not serve a prison sentence, his crime was regarded as a petty case.

Before his re-election on Sunday, Mugenga succeeded Member of Parliament Lucia Basson as acting Regional Co-ordinator in 2004.

Since the departure of Basson to the National Assembly, several attempts to convene a regional conference to elect a successor faled because of factional infighting within the regional leadership.

The participating districts decided not to allow the Swapo Rehoboth East District to participate in the conference after discussions that lasted for four about hours.

Nandi-Ndaitwah pledged that she would forward the Rehoboth East District delegates' concerns to the Politburo.

At one point during the conference, Francis Basson, who previously served in the regional leadership, shouted that she wanted an interview with the media to express her concern about unfairness within the Swapo Party.

She accused some top Party leaders of being biased when it comes to certain Swapo members.

She claimed that the Swapo top rank had failed to act against Hardap Governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa and Mungenga over their behaviour in public.

"The Governor fights in the streets, while Mugenga is joyriding with the party vehicle over weekends, but they are not disciplined," she fumed.

"I was not even afraid to speak my mind during the time of the colonial regime, therefore I will continue to speak my mind as a Swapo supporter if injustice is done to others within the party," she added.

A week ago, Hanse-Himarwa and Swartz came to blows at a party meeting at Rehoboth.

Both laid an assault charge against each other, The Namibian has established.

At the conference Swartz was nominated as a delegate to the Swapo Party's national congress slated for November, but he declined the nomination.

Barakias Namwandi and Theo Diergaardt were re-elected as Regional Information and Mobilisation Officer and Treasurer respectively.

Rehoboth West District Co-ordinator Dawid Richter, Hanse-Himarwa, Basson and Hardap Regional Councillor Barakias Namwandi were nominated as the region's candidates to vie for the central committee positions that are up for grabs during the coming congress.

Source: Namibian