Ulenga set for shock Swapo return

30 October 2015 Author   Sonja Angula

front  30 OCT ben Veteran politician Ben Ulenga is set to make a sensational comeback to Swapo 17 years after he left the ruling party to form opposition party Congress of Democrats (CoD), highly placed Swapo insiders claimed this week.

 

Ulenga’s move, if true, comes just two months after Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) founder Hidipo Hamutenya had his Damascus moment and returned to Swapo.

The former COD president and member of parliament did not dismiss the possibility of rejoining the ruling party when contacted for comment on Thursday.

Ulenga confirmed that he had heard about the speculation for some time now, but said he would appreciate it if people within the Swapo Party who are speculating about such information can approach and engage him directly.

“I have received calls from people asking me about this. But people should just engage with me directly on this matter.  You see, I will not join any other party, but with Swapo it can be more complicated.

“I do not know whether I will rejoin or not because with Swapo it is more than just a political party. It is about the movement and the association that includes freedom fighters and people who have contributed,” he said.

The 63-year-old Ulenga, who hails from Ontanga in the Oshana Region, played an influential role in the independence struggle against South African apartheid rule.

He joined the People’s Liberation Army of Namibia (PLAN) in 1974 but was later captured after he was wounded in combat and sentenced to 15 years in prison, which he spent on Robben Island. He was released in 1985.

He left Swapo in 1998 and founded the opposition CoD in March 1999 where he stayed until July this year when he announced his surprise decision to resign as party president. He did not give reasons why he had stepped down.

His resignation came eight months after his party failed to gain even a single seat in parliament in the November 2014 Presidential and National Assembly elections.

The former Deputy Minister of Wildlife, Conservations and Tourism, and Namibia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom left Swapo in protest against the decision to amend the constitution to allow Founding President Sam Nujoma to run for a third term.

The CoD won 7.2 percent of the popular vote and five seats in the November 2004 elections becoming the official opposition party.

However, a leadership battle resulted in the CoD coming in eighth in the 2009 general elections.

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