Congress delegates, spread across several regions, have expressed their overwhelming support for Jerry Ekandjo to contest the vacant ruling party presidency in November, while saying that the concept of sole candidacy does not exist in the SWAPO Constitution.
Delegates told the Windhoek Observer this week that Ekandjo enjoys significant support in the party and that he is a tried and a tested candidate.
They also called for democracy to triumph at SWAPO Congress, by having nominations accepted from the floor for the party’s top four positions.
The SWAPO Party Congress delegates, who spoke publicly this week, despite massive pressure on them not to do so, are from the Kunene, Oshikoto, Omusati, Oshana, Kavango East, Erongo and Khomas regions.
Most of them were not perturbed by the possibility of the Head of State not being the president of SWAPO, if another candidate other than President Hage Geingob wins in November.
“Namibia must have two separate centers of power, one being the president of the country, and another being the president of the ruling party, so that we won’t have a situation where all the power is just vested in one single person,” SWAPO Congress delegate from the Oshana Region, Rebecca Shigwedha, said this week.
“Having two different individuals doing the job gives the country an advantage, because when one leader makes a wrong move or decision, then the other is able to assist. If it is only one leader, who has all powers, then he/she is able to do as they wish.
“People like Elijah Ngurare; he was such a militant man, leading the youth, now things are not the same. If we bring back Ngurare as SWAPO Secretary General, it will be good for the party. I also want Jerry Ekandjo to help me, I seriously want him to run for the presidency,” said Shigwedha, who is from Oshakati.
Febby ya-Nakatana, a ruling party congress delegate from Okaku in the Oshikoto Region, also encouraged Ekandjo to stand for the presidency.
“We must abide by the constitution of the SWAPO Party, because having only a sole candidate is not part of our constitution. This does not mean that we are not supporting the sitting president; we are saying that the floor must be availed to everyone who is willing to stand.
“We want changes in the SWAPO Party; we don’t want the liberation movement to lose power. Jerry Ekandjo is a good candidate, and I will encourage him to stand. If people are not allowed to compete, then we are bringing frustrations into the party,” Ya-Nakatana said.
He also rejected a recent proposal, put forward by SWAPO Secretary for Information and Mobilisation, Helmut Angula, that only those who have served for 30 years in the ruling party’s central committee, should be eligible to run for the top four posts, which are president, vice president, secretary general and deputy secretary general.
“The notion of serving 30 years in CC to be eligible for competing is uncalled for; it is a move that is being brought to block new blood, like Ngurare and other young people,” he said.
Amushila Andreas, from Tsandi in the Omusati Region, said he has faith in Ekandjo, and also in SWAPO Oshikoto Regional Coordinator, Armas Amukwiyu.
“It is best for our constitution to have about three candidates and not one (for any top four position). Amukwiyu needs to compete for at least one of the top four posts. The young man was groomed while just a boy, but now you can see that he has grown politically, into an amazing leader.
“I would like for Jerry Ekandjo to stand for presidency. I value him a lot,”Andreas said.
Former Swakopmund Mayor, Juuso Kambueshe, who is an Erongo delegate for the ruling party congress, said that he is shocked at how political spin has engulfed SWAPO.
He said individuals were no longer allowed to speak their minds in the party.
“I am a little bit shocked at how things are moving in SWAPO. I have observed that one cannot even speak your mind, surrounding the endorsements, or who one’s preferred candidate is, otherwise you will be associated with other people, and be seen as the enemy.
“I am not a young person or an elder; I am in-between. I want to speak my mind, as things are no longer as they used to be.
“The notion of having a sole candidate is unheard of. Without fear or favour, I am therefore calling for Jerry Ekandjo to avail himself, and stand for party presidency. Other people like Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Saara Kugongelwa-Amadhila and Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana are some of our brilliant minds, who need to compete as well,” Kambueshe said.
Oshikoto SWAPO delegate, Malakia Petrus, said that Ekandjo is his preferred candidate, and that he possesses the ability to take the country forward.