Natangwe Ithete, a first time contender for the pot who came in at number nineteen, said that he did not understand what the deputy minister was trying to say.
“For me Swapo is not a blue, red and green, nor is Swapo a building, Swapo is the people of which Ilonga is a member, so if he said that he is also referring to himself,” Ithete said.
He further questioned why people had created so much commotion about the youth in the party who had done well on the list.
“Do people realise that we are only four? It is myself, Sacky , Lucia and Veiccoh, and do you mean to tell me that four people out of 96 is really what is going to destabilise the party,” he said.
Ithete stressed that the youth representation was so small that it represented less than one percent of the party list.
It would hardly make a significant difference, and therefore he could not understand what people feared.
Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, who topped the male list, said that he did not believe Ilonga could be so ignorant that he would address his concerns in that manner.
“In Swapo we have ways of resolving matters and those who are discontent with the outcome of Electoral College should be aware of the procedures that they can follow within the party structures,” Shifeta said.
Shifeta also said that although he did not campaign for himself nor did he ask anyone to campaign for him, campaigning formed part of the normal process in a democracy and that the election outcome represented the will of the electorate.
“I have been hearing all kinds of things since then, including that because I am a lawyer the presiding officer as a fellow lawyer influenced the outcome in my favour, but one simply cannot respond to such rumours.”
“Even if I had not made it, I have my profession and politics is not my whole life,” Shifeta said.
Agnes Kafula, the female candidate who secured the most votes, appeared reluctant to join the debate.
“I don’t think I have any comment,” is all she said when asked what she made of Ilonga’s sentiments.
Launch of the manifesto
At the launch of the Swapo party manifesto and election campaign, the party officially unveiled Vice President Hage Geingob as the party presidential candidate for the upcoming elections.
The poor attendance at the event, which took place at Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura, left many speculating about whether the outcome of the recently concluded Electoral College was to blame.
When he delivered the welcoming remarks at the rally secretary general pf the party Nangolo Mbumba, made a point to remark that the party structures remained intact, irrespective of peoples place on the national assembly list.
Speaking after the event party insiders expressed the opinion that the poor attendance was the work of the Swapo Party Youth League leadership, who supposedly mobilised support in the Khomas region for party members to boycott the event.
However, on the day, the SPYL leadership were hundreds of kilometres away, attending the funeral of Frieda Ndatipo.
The Namibian Police allegedly shot and killed Ndatipo during a protest organised by the so-called struggle kids at the party headquarters two weeks ago.
“Not once in 24 years have I ever been at a Swapo rally hosted in Katutura with such a poor attendance. Something or someone is behind this, it just can’t be,” a party member said.
However, sources close to the party leadership say the poor turnout was direct result of poor planning and mobilisation by the party’s regional coordinating office.
Mbumba reportedly told party members at the headquarters later that day that if he lost his job because of the poor turnout several others would accompany him, clearly hinting that heads might roll because of such an embarrassment.
The Swapo Party Women’s Council (SPWC) applauded the Swapo leadership for the move to make the 50/50 gender representation in the party a reality at a press conference it held on Thursday.
The SPWC said that more than 10 candidates on the National Assembly list were members of the central committee or the executive of the SPWC, in addition to women leaders from different structures of the party.
“We are pleased to note that the majority of candidates are young women, meaning that there is continuity of the struggle for women’s emancipation.
“The SPWC will continue to build the capacity of women in the area of leadership and economic freedom now that we have achieved the political and decision-making positions at the National Assembly level,” SPWC Secretary Petrina Haingura said at the event.
She further added that the council would work to create supportive mechanisms for those women in decision-making structures and those that aspire to become leaders at different levels.
“Gender is like an onion, when you peal out a layer, another emerges,” she added.