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Geingob enters Grootfontein debacle

PRESIDENT Hage Geingob yesterday asked justice minister Albert Kawana for legal advice on the Swapo Grootfontein restructuring exercise done on Sunday.
In a letter to Kawana, Geingob said he had received a report from the Grootfontein district coordinator Abisai Oshondati Haimene outlining “several contentious issues and alleged unprocedural actions” during the restructuring exercise.

“Given the abovementioned, and in keeping with the Swapo Party constitution, I hereby solicit your legal opinion and advice on this matter for the purpose of assisting us to take the appropriate action,” reads Geingob's letter.

Kawana could neither confirm nor deny having received the letter, saying he was going to consider the matters according to the Swapo constitution.

“I will attend to it, and advise accordingly in the spirit of the constitution,” he added.

Haimene said he would respond later, despite having been at the forefront against the verification process which started on Saturday. His argument has been that their term of office was ending in September, and there was thus no need for an election now.

Despite the chaos that characterised the process, the election went ahead after the police were called in to diffuse the situation. Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba yesterday said he received the report, which informed him about some resistance during the verification and election process. Mbumba said the new office-bearers' names will be submitted to his office soon.

The Namibian, however, understands that John Haimbodi is the new district coordinator, while Lovisa Iyambo is the district mobilisation officer. Anna Ochurus took over from Jack Tsanigab as the new district treasurer. They will be sworn in tomorrow. Haimene and Tsanigab's names, according to sources, were not on the list for possible re-election. Otjozondjupa regional coordinator Susan Hikopua yesterday said they followed the orders from a meeting with Mbumba on 7 May, where he directed them to hold a membership verification process from 20 May.

Sources said the national leaders assigned to oversee the process – Otjozondjupa governor Otto Ipinge; higher education minister Itah Kandjii-Murangi; health deputy minister Juliet Kavetuna; and finance deputy minister Natangwe Ithete – saw “fake Swapo membership cards” given to people to enable them to vote, but did nothing about it.

“The cards already had the signature of the Swapo secretary general, and people were writing the identification numbers of random people on the cards. The national leaders did not consult the district coordinator [Haimene] as they are supposed to, and just went ahead and conducted the election process on their own,” said the source.

The source added that some branches disallowed the national leaders from attending their verification exercises, accusing them of running an illegal election which they did not want to take part in. Kavetuna said Haimene and Tsanigab were consulted during the election process since they were present during the meeting with Mbumba.

She said if they had objections, they would have raised them before Mbumba at the meeting. Kavetuna also denied that their names were not forwarded for re-election.

“As a presiding officer, I informed the voters that Haimene and Tsanigab were also eligible for re-election,” she said, adding that the selection was done through nominations from the floor. She also said about 80 people from 11 branches voted.

The Namibian reported yesterday that it was argued that if the current district leadership stays on, there will not be enough time to elect representatives to attend the party's elective congress, at which President Geingob is seeking to be installed as party president. Mbumba, who said the results from the verification process were constitutional, yesterday rubbished allegations that the incumbent office-bearers' term was only expiring in September.

“All of us were elected in 2012, so people should stop saying they have two more years to go. We are supposed to go with a fresh mandate, moving forward,” he stated.

He said calling the police at the event was not necessary as people were supposed to conduct the verification process in an orderly manner.

  • Title: Geingob enters Grootfontein debacle
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  • Date: 4:18 PM
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