WINDHOEK – Swapo regional coordinator for Oshikoto Armas Amukwiyu said the leadership in the region is working towards ensuring that President Hage Geingob and the ruling party secure record victories in the national elections slated for November.
Amukwiyu, a Geingob blue-eyed boy, but who challenged the President’s preferred candidate for the position of secretary-general at Swapo’s 2017 elective congress, says all genuine party members have an obligation to support Geingob as the sole candidate for the ruling party in the presidential election later this year.
In 2017, Amukwiyu, on the slate of what was called Team Swapo, contested for the party’s secretary-general position, but lost to current incumbent Sophia Shaningwa, who was on the Geingob slate, christened Team Harambee.
In conceding defeat at the time, Amukwiyu urged his supporters to throw their weight behind winners at that congress and – while speaking to New Era this week – he said that position has not changed.
“That was an internal democratic process and it is in the past,” he said this week, when asked why he was backing Geingob, whose slate he opposed at the last congress.
“We can’t continue fueling divisions. Whoever is fueling those divisions is the real enemy of the party,” he added.
He described Oshikoto as a Swapo stronghold and said he and other leaders in the region want to ensure that Geingob and the ruling party get record votes than ever in the history of post-independence Namibia.
“Geingob is the sole candidate of the party and just like we did with Founding Father [Sam Nujoma] and former president Pohamba, we in Oshikoto are again working hard to ensure our party and its candidate in this election win decisively.”
“We actually want Hage to get 100 percent votes in Oshikoto because the opposition has no breathing space here and independent candidates are not known in our region,” he remarked.
He, like other Swapo leaders in recent months, also took a swipe at those pushing for independent candidates to contest for the presidential throne while retaining their membership of the ruling party.
“It simply does not make sense to challenge the party president in a national election while retaining your status as a party member,” Amukwiyu thundered.
Critics of independent candidates have urged those harbouring such ambitions to quit the party or risk being expelled.
Regarding preparations for the upcoming elections, the youthful regional coordinator said: “We can’t wait. We are just waiting for marching orders from our principals in Windhoek. They must give us the necessary tools such as the manifesto, party souvenirs and campaign materials.”
He urged residents of Oshikoto, particularly first-time voters, to register themselves during the current supplementary voter registration processes by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).
“Those already registered must keep their voter card safe so that when elections come, they would not struggle to vote,” he said.
Geingob is seeking a second and last term as Head of State, after initially romping to victory in 2014 with a record vote of 87 percent. Swapo also got record votes of 82 percent in that election.
The party has been hugely divided since the 2017 elective congress, with camps still refusing to subside ahead of a crunch national election.
The race to secure parliamentary seats, with candidates to be determined at the upcoming electoral college of the party, could cause further divisions as party cadres jostle for inclusion.
2019-07-12 08:43:08 7 days ago