SWAPO Party members who competed and lost at the recently-concluded elective congress have vowed to rally behind the newly-elected leadership in order to strengthen the ruling party.
Candidates who ran their campaigns under the now disbanded “Team SWAPO” banner all failed to be elected into the party’s top four positions at the four-day congress which was held in Windhoek.
Former Prime Minister, Nahas Angula, who could only get 39 votes compared to Hage Geingob’s 574 in the race for the party presidency, said he will remain an active SWAPO member and will continue to be available to give his input on whatever new opportunities that may rise.
“I am a long-standing member of SWAPO, a party which I have worked for since I was very young, and I will continue to be one,” Angula told the Windhoek Observer this week.
“There are a lot of opportunities which are calling for my input and I will avail myself for that. My story is a SWAPO story. So I remain a SWAPO member and a citizen. As I told delegates throughout my campaign, I am here to serve the Namibian people, in whatever way I can, and that will remain my motive.”
Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Pendukeni Ivula-Ithana, said she remains one of the ruling party’s ardent supporters, adding that she has a permanent relationship with SWAPO.
Ivula-Ithana, who, together with Jerry Ekandjo, may be vulnerable to dismissal when Geingob reshuffles his Cabinet, said that it will be the president’s prerogative to remove her from her current ministerial portfolio, but that society should not instigate him. “I am one of the stalwarts of the SWAPO Party. Whatever pertains to SWAPO, affects me. In that regard, I see myself still being involved in active politics.
“As for a Cabinet reshuffle, that’s the role of the appointing authority. What I don’t understand is whether it comes at the insistence of the public or from the president himself. In any event, the decision is his and it is really not our business,” Ivula-Ithana said.
Ekandjo, who got 153 votes out of 776, said that moving forward he will give his full support to the new leadership, adding that it’s time for a new generation to take over.
“My blood is SWAPO; I am not going anywhere. I still remain a member of this party and servant of the country which we have liberated. I will give my full support to the newly-elected leadership and I encourage everyone else to do the same.
“For 48 years, I have been a leader of this party, but it is time that a new generation takes over as is seen in the list of new Central Committee members. There is always a transition in SWAPO, you can’t take that away,” Ekandjo said.
Petrina Haingura, who came in second in the race to become SWAPO’s deputy secretary general, also pledged her loyalty to the ruling party.
“I will remain an active member of SWAPO and be around in politics. SWAPO is the only party I know. I am available for any assignment that might be available and I will support the new leadership going forward, no hard feelings,” Haingura said.
Helmut Angula, whose role of being SWAPO Secretary for Information and Mobilisation came to an end last week, said he will still remain in active politics, although he will spend more of his time with family and looking after his business interests.
“Over the past three years or so, I have spent most of my time on information and mobilising people about our mighty party, of course without a salary. Now, I want to take more time to evaluate my life and make sure I spend more time with family, and to get closer to my business activities.
‘I will also continue to be involved in active politics and remain an active SWAPO member by all means,” said Angula, who could only get 20 votes compared to the new SWAPO Party Vice President, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah’s 552 votes.