Itula does not need me - Nahas

01 November 2019 Author   Jeremiah Ndjoze

As an independent presidential candidate, Panduleni Itula’s campaign is gaining momentum,  top SWAPO leaders are evasive on whether or not they are rallying behind him.  

Former Prime Minister Nahas Angula only described Itula as a child from his village, while former cabinet minister, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana maintained that her vote is her secret.
“Itula is from my village. I knew his parents very well, but by the time that he became of age I was already in Zambia. We only met years later.” Queried as to whether he is rallying behind Itula, the man who prefers to be referred to as “Citizen Angula’ opted for a diplomatic reply.
“Dr Itula is a grown man. He can run his own race and does not need me to rally behind him,” Angula said. 
Iivula-Ithana on the other hand laughed the question off. “I somehow knew that you were going to ask me that question, but no, my vote will remain my secret.”
Both Angula and Iivula-Ithana formed part of Team Swapo, a faction that went head-to-head with President Hage Geingob’s Team Harambee. The two political heavyweights have been quiet so far in the campaigns leading to the 27 November national election. 
Iivula-Ithana maintained that her silence is exacerbated by the lack of platforms via which she can play an active role. 
“I have been silent because I no longer have a platform.  People sent me home. They made sure that I have no basis through which I can express myself but I am enjoying life and all is well,” she said.  Angula on the other hand maintained that he has no business meddling in the affairs of young people. 
“I observe and I make my private decisions.  I am not an ‘Honourable’ anymore but an ordinary citizen. I don’t want to get mixed up in the political affairs of young people as they are determining their future,” Angula maintained, before adding that Team Swapo is no longer in existence.  
Iivula-Ithana described the current political atmosphere as unprecedented citing the drive and zeal of young people for total inclusion in the democratic system.
“We never had young people expressing themselves like they are doing now.  Normally our young people are dormant, but now they are vocal and demanding,” the former Minister of Home Affairs and Immigration stressed.  
She further maintained that it is not the first time that a member of SWAPO is contesting as an independent while in the party stating that it was achieved in 2015 at constituency level, in Otjombinde, in the Omaheke region. 
“What is different this time is the level at which the member is contesting and the attention that comes with the position, perhaps,” she said.  
SWAPO Secretary General, Sofia Shanigwa could not be reached for comment on why the two veteran politicians have not been included in the party’s programme or to officiate at the rallies, as per the party’s tradition. 
A source close to Itula’s campaign told the Windhoek Observer that due to strategic reasons, the team never reveals his campaign programme and that dates are only announced 24 hours before the event. 
On the attendance numbers at rallies, the source maintained that the Walvis Bay event pulled a crowd of just over 2,000. “Add to that, the street parade and there would be more,” the source said.  
The real litmus test for both the SWAPO and Itula camps will be the campaign events scheduled for the north of the country.

WINDHOEK OBSERVER

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