Defence Minister and former Oshikoto Regional Governor, Penda Ya Ndakolo, has denied allegations that he called former head of the Namibia Defence Force (NDF) Lieutenant General Martin Shalli, a rebel, who wants to disturb peace and stability in the country.
Ya Ndakolo, who is SWAPO’s national leader assigned to the Oshikoto region, is said to have de-campaigned Shali; Oshikoto regional coordinator, Armas Amukwiyu; former SWAPO Party Youth League (SPYL) Secretary, Elijah Ngurare; Bernadus Swartbooi and unionist Evilastus Kaaronda, by equating them with the leader of the Caprivi secessionist movement, Mishake Muyongo, and Andreas Shipanga.
Shipanga led an uprising of SWAPO youth against the party’s top leadership in the late 1970s, amid complaints of corruption and misuse of donor funds.
Contacted for comment, Ya Ndakolo rubbished claims that he had defamed fellow SWAPO Party members during district conferences that have been taking place in the Oshikoto region this week.
He said he could not have said such things, especially against Shali, who is his senior commander and fellow countryman.
The defence minister further dismissed claims that he had engaged delegates at the ongoing district conferences on the instructions of President Hage Geingob.
“I did not say any of that; it is not true. It is a political agenda unknown to some of us. To involve the name of President Geingob in something as petty should be stopped. If people are campaigning, they should be free to do so without tarnishing other people’s reputations,” he said.
He added that the allegations were propaganda from people that were trying to tarnish Geingob’s name.
“Yes, I am the chairperson assigned to the Oshikoto region, but I do not have powers to tell people what to do. When elections took place in Omuthiya, I was not even there. If indeed I gave people money, then they should come out and say it.
“I was assigned to be chairman by the SWAPO leadership and not the president,” he said.
Ya Ndakolo said he was sad to hear that he has been calling people rebels.
“I am not in that habit of bad-mouthing other people.”
Pressed whether he will support Amukwiyu in his re-election bid, Ya Ndakolo said he might support him if he agrees to move “in another direction”.
He was, however, quick to point out that as the party leader assigned to the Oshikoto region, his role is just to supervise and advise the district and regional conferences.
The claims against Ya Ndakalo came after Amukwiyu had suffered a setback on Monday at the Omuthiya district elections in his bid to be re-elected as SWAPO Party regional coordinator in the Oshikoto region.
Amukwiyu has since bounced back from the Monday defeat, emerging as SWAPO’s preferred candidate for the Oshikoto regional coordinator position after he clinched seven nominations out of the eight district elections that had been held by Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the Windhoek Observer understands that Samuel Nelongo, a former PLAN fighter, is set to be elected as the Oshana regional coordinator at next weekend’s regional conference.
All district conferences in Oshana have been completed and Nelongo is likely to stand against incumbent Erastus Kapolo and former Oshakati Mayor, Onesmus Shilunga, for the regional coordinator position.