Swapo draws heavy fire in High Court battle
Featured

05 February 2016
Author   Sonja Angula and Rochelle Neidel

national  5 feb 2016There is no evidence that two-thirds of Swapo Politburo members had endorsed the decision to summarily expel its four youth leaders in July last year.

 

And the ruling party had in fact acted against the values of democracy, social justice and freedom enshrined in its constitution by unceremoniously booting out the quartet.

These were among the arguments raised yesterday during the explosive start to the High Court battle that sees the ruling party going toe-to-toe with its former youth wing secretary Elijah Ngurare, Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma.

South African advocate Vincent Maleka, who is acting on behalf of the young firebrands, said the media was told about their expulsion before his clients were officially informed.

They were also never given a chance or opportunity to appear in front of a disciplinary committee.

Maleka said Swapo Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba had written a letter addressed to the media, which indicated that the party’s political leadership had taken the decision to expel the quartet.

However, the letter - which was subsequently shown to his clients - had not mentioned any particular Swapo structure that had come to this decision.

“If a decision is made without the necessary power, this confirms invalid power and invalid power cannot be accepted. This had to be ratified or rectified and it wasn’t,” Maleka argued.

He further argued that the Swapo constitution says misconduct is a chargeable offence, but the youth politicians had never been given the opportunity to defend themselves against any charges.

Maleka said the procedures used by the party to expel his clients were not constitutional and that Swapo had acted against the values of democracy, social justice and freedom that is the foundation of that same constitution.

“The constitution itself states that the Swapo Party is a mass-based political party founded on principles of democracy, freedom and social justice,” he said.

The expelled youth leaders are asking the High Court to nullify Amupanda, Kambala and Nauyoma’s initial November 2014 suspensions, arguing that the so-called ‘Swapo Top Four’ that suspended them, is a structure that does not legally exist within Swapo.

The three were suspended after a symbolic land grab in Kleine Kuppe. They subsequently mobilised thousands of landless youth to apply for land at municipalities across the country, under the banner of the Affirmative Repositioning (AR) movement.

They are also being accused of waging a social media campaign against Swapo and of vilifying certain leaders.

Following their initial suspension, the Swapo Politburo later endorsed it and the three were subsequently expelled without a disciplinary hearing being held.

Ngurare, who had not even been suspended, was summarily expelled along with Amupanda, Kambala and Nauyoma.

The youth leaders were also expected to argue that former party president Hifikepunye Pohamba’s participation in the 17 July Swapo Politburo meeting, which unilaterally decided to expel them, made any decision unlawful and not binding, because Pohamba was not, according to the party constitution, a member of the politburo when he attended and participated in the meeting.

The case continues this morning at 10:00.

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