SWAPO Party’s internal squabbles have reared their ugly in Grootfontein with unseated District Coordinator, Abisai Haimene, refusing to vacate the party’s office, three months after a new leadership was sworn into office.
New District Coordinator John Haimbodi, District Mobilisation Officer, Lovisa Iyambo and District Treasurer, Anna Ochurus, have been operating “under a tree and from wherever”, after their election in May.
Otjozondjupa Regional Coordinator, Susan Hikopua, confirmed the standoff on Wednesday, saying that Haimene ‘quarrels’ with them whenever the three new office-bearers demand keys to the office.
“Haimbodi is currently operating from his house and it’s been four months. The outgoing district coordinator is refusing to surrender the keys to the office.
“When we make effort to go and fetch the keys, we just end up quarrelling. We have reported the matter to both the Central Committee and the Politburo. The last Central Committee meeting instructed the secretary general to get the keys from Haimene, but I am meeting with the SG to hear what he would say,” Hikopua said.
The three new leaders have already been placed on the party’s payroll system while Haimene has since been removed.
Speaking to the Windhoek Observer this week, Haimbodi said he is tired of operating from the street. He said he is unable to assist fellow comrades without office resources.
“Up to now, I am operating from home and wherever I find myself. The issue is, he (Haimene) does not want to return the keys to the SWAPO office, he knows there are new officers, but he still refuses.
“He makes a lot of excuses whenever we want to get the office keys. It is very difficult to operate like this. Our comrades here want to pay their membership fees or receive information, but how do we assist them when we don’t even have receipt books, letterheads and stamps or access to computers, communication equipment and other resources?
“I cannot continue to work under trees and so on; everything is locked up in the office. But I am waiting on the SG to advise us further,”Haimbodi said.
The three new leaders, who were elected in May, were officially sworn in on 2 June, replacing Haimene, who had been the district coordinator since 2012, and Jack Tsanigab who occupied the treasurer position.
The position of district mobiliser had been vacant after the death of councillor Bromeus Matheus in March 2013.
SWAPO Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba said he was under the impression that the matter had been resolved after his intervention in June.
“I intervened in the matter at the beginning and I thought that it was sorted. Why is this person refusing to give the keys? I will take the matter up and address this issue,” Mbumba said.
The Namibian reported in June that Haimene wrote to President Hage Geingob complaining about the outcome of the conference that voted him out of office, arguing that the election process was unconstitutional because his term of office was only ending this month.
Haimene is said to have outlined “several contentious issues and alleged unprocedural actions” during the district conference.
Haimene refused to speak to the Windhoek Observer when contacted for comment.
“Who are you? Well, I am in a meeting and I can’t talk to you,” he said before hanging up the phone.
Tsanigab did not return calls or text messages send to him.