SWAPO Secretary General, Nangolo Mbumba, stands accused of sabotaging Armas Amukoto’s political prospects after he barred him from contesting the regional treasurer position at last week’s Oshikoto Regional Conference, citing a pending investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman.
Amukoto, who had planned to contest the position of treasurer against Public Enterprises Deputy Minister, Engel Nawatiseb, was informed by the verification team led by Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Safety and Security Minister Charles Namoloh, and Works and Transport Minister, Alfeus !Naruseb, that his name had not gone through the vetting process.
The development, according to sources, caused the adjournment of the election process to allow consultations over the participation of Amukoto, as the verification team was of the opinion that he should be allowed to contest, as the politburo had not taken a decision to bar him from contesting, despite objections from Mbumba.
The ruling party secretary general allegedly stated to the verification team that Amukoto shouldn’t contest because he has a pending case under investigation at the Office of the Ombudsman, a position which the outgoing Ombudsman, John Walters, has denied.
“I spoke to Amukoto this week. He wanted to find out whether my office had any case, complaint or investigation going on and we told him the truth that there was no file or case against him at the Ombudsman Office,” Walters told the Windhoek Observer.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, Amukoto said he was now seeking clarity as to why he was barred from contesting in the recently-held election.
“Mbumba must explain why I was not allowed to contest. Initially, I heard from people that I was not on the vetting list and I just ignored them. When the verification team called me out of the conference room and explained that my name had to be pulled out, I asked why that was happening and they told me that they also do not know, but were ordered by Mbumba to do so,”Amukoto explained.
Sources say Nandi-Ndaitwah did not take kindly to Mbumba’s orders, resulting in her calling the secretary general to justify his decision.
At some point during the heated conversation, sources say Nandi-Ndaitwah was heard telling Mbumba that she does not work for him, after he had ordered her to follow instructions as stated.
Amukoto said his removal from the vetting list was a ‘deliberate tactic’ from Mbumba and those who want him out of the party circles.
“I am still waiting for the SG to give me an answer about this matter. I am following this matter, “he said.
When contacted by the Windhoek Observer, Mbumba said it was not his decision to disqualify Amukoto, citing a decision made by an unnamed technical committee.
“What we do is that we submit all names of the people that want to contest for positions and then a technical committee appointed, looks at the names, characteristics of the person, whether they are paid up members and so on. This committee is not chaired by me,” he said.
“Once they evaluate that a person does not qualify then the person just does not qualify, what am I to do? So this matter has nothing to do with me, I have no power over that. These are procedures that are followed even in other regions. Oshikoto people must not think that the rules don’t apply to them.”
The latest development in Oshikoto comes after Armas Amukwiyu retained his position as the SWAPO Party Oshikoto Regional Coordinator with 67 votes against his challenger, Max Nekongo, who could only get 17 votes.
With the absence of any investigation against Amukoto at the Office of the Ombudsman, questions are now being raised whether there will be a rerun for the position of treasurer in Oshikoto.