Nahas Angula, one of three SWAPO presidential candidates at the party’s divisive 6th elective congress that was held in November last year, said he will not be attending this weekend’s extra-ordinary congress because he has things to do at his farm.
Angula said this in a brief telephonic interview with the Windhoek Observer on Thursday.
The two-day SWAPO Party extra-ordinary congress will kick off this Friday, 30 November and ends on Saturday at the former Ramatex Factory in Otjomuise in Windhoek.
“I will not be available because I have things to do at my farm. I have been attending SWAPO congresses for many years. Now its other people’s turn,” Angula told the Windhoek Observer.
Asked if his absence from the extra-ordinary congress will not create an impression that he has boycotted the event because his team lost and disputed the congress results, the former Prime Minister said, “Those who want to interpret it that way it’s their problem”.
“I have been attending those congresses since I was 21. I have to look after my animals at the farm,” he said.
Angula refused to entertain questions on whether he supports the failed application brought to the Windhoek High Court to interdict the party’s extra-ordinary congress and subsequently declare the 2017 elective congress results null and void.
“Did you see my name cited in the court documents? I have got nothing to do with the case,” he said.
Two SWAPO members, Mirjam Shituula and Selma Namboga, from the SWAPO faction called “Team Swapo” tried unsuccessfully to have the party's extra-ordinary congress this weekend stopped.
Their application for their interdict to stop SWAPO from proceeding with the extraordinary congress was withdrawn by their legal team after High Court judge Thomas Masuku ruled that they should have joined persons with an interest in the matter as respondents in the case when they instituted legal action against SWAPO and its secretary general.
However, they will continue with the second part of their application, in which they will ask the court to order that the SWAPO congress and election of party officeholders that took place in November last year was unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid, and to set aside the congress and party election.
Former Home Affairs and Immigration Minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who contested for the SWAPO deputy president position, could not say whether she will attend the extra-ordinary congress or not and whether she supports the court application.
She, however, said the extra-ordinary congress is open to all SWAPO members.
“I am a member of SWAPO in good standing and in my own right. Just go to the congress to see who is there,” she said.
Petrina Haingura, who contested for SWAPO Deputy Secretary General position, also declined to comment, telling this reporter to come to the congress to see who is attending and who is not.
Numerous attempts to get comment from other SWAPO leaders who challenged for the party’s top four positions such as Armas Amukwiyu, Helmut Angula and Jerry Ekandjo, were unsuccessful as they did not answer their phones.
The extraordinary congress is set to discuss resolutions from last year’s congress and approve proposed amendments made to the party’s constitution.
One of the resolutions is to give power to party leaders to expel members who associate with other movements and causes.
A draft document seen by this publication states that the SWAPO central committee would give a concerned member an ultimatum to resign from the other movement or from SWAPO.
“If such member refuses to resign from SWAPO Party within 23 days after being requested to do so, such refusal shall constitute misconduct and disciplinary action shall be taken against such members which might lead to expulsion,” the proposed amendments read.
This provision seems to have targeted party members who sympathize with civil organizations such as the Job Amupanda-led Affirmative Repositioning (AR).