Dirty politics at Nanso congress

06 March 2015

Disgruntled youth leaders from a number of regions have reportedly started plotting to have the outcome of the recent Nanso elective congress declared null and void.

Wilhelm Wilhelm was elected unopposed as Nanso president on Saturday, however sources say student representatives from more than five regions have met to caucus about the possibility of holding an extra-ordinary congress.

The disgruntled delegates who supported the candidacy of former Nanso Secretary General Sharonice Busch to be the next president of the organisation have cast doubt on the validity of the election.

They question how the director of elections Immanuel Wise ended up chairing congress and later presiding over the elective process in the absence of the congress chairperson.

Wise, whom Nanso had only tasked with briefing delegates on election proceedings and direct elections, took up the role as chair when former president Timotheus Angala walked out.

Busch supporters raised concern after Felix Haingura from the Kavango Region and Sylas Mungoba from Omusati Region were eliminated from the election race.

However, Angala’s chairmanship emerged as the main cause of the disagreements at congress, with some delegates claiming he showed bias and therefore demanded that he should not chair the congress.

Some Nanso officials apparently made it clear to delegates that in terms of the Nanso constitution they could not replace Angala with anyone else to chair the congress.

The Nanso constitution states that as long as Angala was present, willing and able to chair the congress, he should have been allowed to fulfil that role, but this caused so much havoc that he eventually walked out.

Once a vacuum was created, Wilhelm supporters reportedly instructed Wise to take the floor and continue the proceedings to ensure that elections could take place, because by then talk of dissolving congress had started to surface.

In an interview on Wednesday Wilhelm dismissed allegations that the elections that took place at last weekend’s congress were unconstitutional, thereby making his election as president null and void.

He stated that Wise never chaired or presided over any other part of congress except the elections, which the organisation had already tasked him to do.

“There was nothing that took place at congress that was unconstitutional. Angala walked out and he did that all on his own,” Wilhelm said.

The Nanso president further explained that some delegates refused to allow Angala to chair the congress, because they felt he showed bias after he supported a motion to bring back national executive members Haingura and Mungoba.

One source alleged that when Minister of Education David Namwandi heard about the turmoil and political battle at the Nanso congress, he called and instructed the then president, Angala, to end all proceedings immediately.

“Namwandi gave instruction that nothing should proceed due to the atmosphere at the event and all animosity. He told Angala to dissolve congress to allow for an extra-ordinary congress at some time in the future, but they ignored this.

“The group of troublemakers pushed through with their dodgy elections, bulldozing everyone and the entire process. Can you imagine a situation where Sisa Namandje just decides to start chairing a Swapo congress because President Pohamba walked out?

“It’s unheard of and unconstitutional as far as some of us are concerned and we consider the outcome of the congress illegal,” a delegate said,

Wilhelm won the election uncontested after Busch pulled out of the race at the last minute.

In an interview this week, Busch explained her withdrawal from the race as a matter of principle after being subjected to a ‘street fight’ for the presidency.

“From the moment I launched my campaign my opponent’s supporters started de-campaigning me on social media.

“They blamed me for logistical blunders that were never my responsibility to start with, and accused me of having external forces as sponsors and the list goes on.

“The initial propaganda and dirty political tactics were nothing new, but I found the complete and utter chaos they instigated at congress unacceptable.

“The level of disrespect shown to myself and Angala, and then the attempts to turn a Nanso congress into a circus is where I drew the line,” Busch said.

She further said that when it became apparent the election had taken precedence over the congress agenda, both candidates decided to withdraw their campaigns to allow order and restore a neutral congress floor.

“At some point they called in former Nanso member Uhuru Dempers to calm the delegates and he pleaded with them to get on with proceedings, and brought an end to the singing and chanting.

“At that point they had already created so much confusion and told so many lies, it became clear to me how the rest of their performance would carry on so I decided to bow out,” she said.

Busch said she had invested too much in the organisation to accept that people reduced an elective Nanso congress to the circus it became, and she did not want to be part of such an election.

Wilhelm acknowledged the chaotic nature of the congress and that the youth did not behave in the most desirable manner, but said sometimes people found that kind of behaviour necessary.

“When diplomatic means fail, then we have to resort to other ways. Sometimes these things become necessary in the end.

“The jumping and singing gave courage to others to speak out about how people had intimated them and how external forces had approached them,” he said.

He admitted that he also enjoyed external support, but claimed that his supporters never tried to interfere with congress proceedings, intimidate or pay off delegates.

However, SPYL members were reportedly asked to leave the premises on Saturday where they were braaing and socialising with delegates. – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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