Swapo edging closer to defining congress

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Swapo edging closer to defining congress
Swapo edging closer to defining congress

Africa-Press – Namibia. The Swapo Party Youth League will conclude its regional conferences this weekend, which will determine, among others delegates to the wing’s congress, which is slated for 17 August.

This will leave Swapo with one major event: the elective congress, scheduled for November. There, about 700 delegates will decide the party’s leadership and direction for the next five years.

Delegates to the congress include about 87 members of the central committee, those elected from each of the regional executive committees by the regional conferences, three delegates elected from each district executive committee, 15 each from the SPYL and Swapo Party Elder’s Council (SPEC), 20 from the women’s council and 15 delegates from each of the affiliate organisations. So far, Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila are seen as frontrunners for the vice president’s position.

Lurking behind them are defence minister Frans Kapofi and his energy counterpart Tom Alweendo.

Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta and former education minister Katrina-Hanse-Himarwa are also seen as dark horses in the race for power.

President Hage Geingob is not expected to be challenged for Swapo’s top position.

Whoever wins the vice presidency is likely to be Swapo presidential candidate for the 2024 general elections.

On the youth front, so far, regional conferences for Kunene, Omusati, Hardap, //Kharas, Erongo and Kavango East have been concluded.

Meanwhile, conferences for Zambezi, Otjozondjupa, Ohangwena, Kavango West, Khomas and Oshana will take place this weekend.

All conferences must be concluded before or on 6 August 2022.

New Era understands only the Oshikoto regional conference has been nullified due to irregularities.

Efforts to get comments regarding SPYL’s readiness to hold a congress in a fortnight were futile, as its secretary Ephraim Nekongo’s phone went unanswered.

As things stand, Nekongo and his lieutenant Christine Haindaka-Sikongo were endorsed as sole candidates for their positions.

This has been contested by other SPYL bigwigs, who want to challenge for those posts.

In the Swapo corridors, Nekongo could face stiff competition in the form of SPYL labour and justice secretary Willem Amutenya, whose popularity in the wing has gained traction in recent times.

Amutenya could neither confirm nor deny his purported leadership aspirations.

Another candidate in the mix is lawyer and SPYL member Fillemon Shikomba, who is opposed to Nekongo and Haindaka-Sikongo’s endorsements.

“It is not procedurally acceptable for the central committee, which is up for elections, to decide for the next central committee and, thus, defeats the essence of a congress. What is the purpose of congress? What is the role of the people?” asked Shikomba in May.

When contacted on Monday, Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa said it is premature to speak about the youth league’s congress.

She said SPYL leaders are yet to approach her office for logistics.

As the top administrator, Shaningwa calls the shots regarding the party’s activities.

“Please try to find out from the wing whether they are done or whether they are still experiencing some hiccups. I’m still waiting for them to report to me that they are done and I should now prepare for their logistics.

“Mine is to see to it that logistics are completely organised and to make sure the congress goes fine,” she said.

Asked about Swapo’s preparedness ahead of the intraparty congress in November, Shaningwa said: “You will see when we get there”.

It was resolved that only those members in good standing between 18 and 35 years of age will be allowed to contest.

Meanwhile, Nekongo (40) can still contest for the top posts, as the constitution allows the incumbent to contest until they turn 45.

At the beginning of the year, Shaningwa made it clear it will be a busy year for the ruling, as it had to hold several conferences and congresses that could not take place earlier due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The party has now concluded its women and elder’s council congresses.

The Swapo Party Elders Council (SPEC)’s Mukwaita Shanyengana and Marry Masule retained their positions at the council’s congress, held over the weekend.

At its meeting two weeks ago, SPYL discussed the cut-off age for the leadership positions in the wing.

According to insiders, there are SPYL members who are hellbent to contest for positions at its congress next month, despite being over the age of 35.

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