At least nine SWAPO members, including three current MPs, two regional governors and three regional co-ordinators have indicated that they will not contest for Parliamentary positions during the party’s electoral college to be held over this weekend, the Windhoek Observer has established.
Investigations by the Windhoek Observer have revealed that former Labour and Presidential Affairs Minister, Immanuel Ngatjizeko and Defence Deputy Minister Billy Mwaningange have indicated that they will not be available for selection to the National Assembly on Saturday when 241 delegates vote for the party’s 96 representatives in Parliament.
Ngatjizeko, who was forced to retire from Cabinet in February last year due to ill-health, once told the Windhoek Observer that he had no recollection of the last time he attended Parliament.
The Windhoek Observer understands that Ngatjizeko has been absent from Parliament for most of the time since the Seventh Session of the Sixth Parliament was officially opened by President Hage Geingob on 14 February last year.
A parliamentarian who spoke to the Windhoek Observer on condition of anonymity said Ngatjizeko was granted special leave immediately after his resignation from State House in February 2018.
“He has not been coming to Parliament due to his personal health,” the parliamentarian said.
SWAPO Party Executive Director Austin Samupwa was tight-lipped when asked to reveal the identity of the MPs and Central Committee members who had opted out of the race, saying it was against party rules to do so.
Impeccable sources, however, told the Windhoek Observer that Kavango West Regional Governor Sirkka Ausiku and Omaheke Regional Governor Festus Ueitele had opted out of the race to go to Parliament.
One source told the Windhoek Observer that the governors have decided to leave their political fate in the hands of President Hage Geingob.
“I think they spoke to the president and he assured them that he still wants them to continue as regional governors, a position with more political clout,” the source speculated.
Also out of the race are SWAPO Party Oshikoto Regional Coordinator Armas Amukwiyu, //Karas Regional Coordinator Mathew Mumbala and Oshana Regional Coordinator Samuel Nelongo.
Amukwiyu was part of the Team SWAPO faction that wanted to remove Geingob from leading the ruling party beyond 2017.
Amukwiyu lost at the 2017 congress to Sophia Shaningwa for the secretary general's position, a defeat that weakened his perceived rising star status.
The relatively unknown Mumbala became famous in February this year when he encouraged party members to end their love and friendship with those aligned to other political parties, saying it is unacceptable for a SWAPO member to be a sympathiser of an opposition party.
Nelongo was arrested in February on charges of stock theft.
NamPol Commander in Oshikoto, Commissioner Armas Shivute told reporters at the time that the Oshikoto NamPol officials apprehended Nelongo in the Oshivelo area whilst in possession of suspected stolen cattle.
Nelongo was allegedly transporting the cattle to his farm in Oshikoto.
Namibian High Commissioner to Botswana and Central Committee member, Asser Kapere (67), who served as Chairperson of the National Council until December 2015, has also indicated that he should not be considered for a position in Parliament.
Kapere was in November appointed High Commissioner to Botswana replacing Mbapeua Muvangua (58).
SWAPO veteran and Member of Parliament Loide Shinavene has also indicated that she will not be going back to Parliament beyond her current five year term.
Accreditation for delegates based in Windhoek begins at 10am and those who live outside the capital are expected to start trooping in at Safari Court Hotel and Conference Centre at 12pm.