Affirmative Repositioning movement leader and presidential hopeful Job Amupanda has dismissed assertions that his campaign is being funded by tender mogul Shapwa Kanyama, whose businesses have enjoyed State contracts.
He, however, confirmed being friends with Kanyama. The activist made these revelations during a recent interview with this journalist that among other things zeroed into his presidential bid, the state of AR, and his views on oil and gas.
When Amupanda announced through several billboards his intention to run for the highest office in the land, many questioned how he was able to put up numerous billboards bearing his face in several towns, including Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Ondangwa when the ‘real campaign’ has not even started yet.
It cost a pretty penny to buy and keep space on billboards.
According to industry experts, the production cost of a billboard banner is around N$16 000. Once the banner is mounted, it costs between N$9 000 and N$15 000 per month.
If these calculations are used for the Amupanda case, it would cost the activist or AR around N$65 000 to keep his face mounted for three months on average.
There are about 10 billboards countrywide. That takes the amount to around N$655 000, based on New Era’s calculations.
The politician went on to say they are deploying various unothordox strategies to fund their campaigns.
Different theories were flaunted, including claims that some
tenderpreneurs, including Kanyama, oil executives and key business figures were behind the campaign.
In no uncertain terms, however, Amupanda denied receiving funds from Kanyama. “I have a lot of friends who are business people. I haven’t spoken to Shapwa in a long time. But I don’t want to disturb [ask for support] now. He’s not involved. I want him to work hard, and I know he’s working hard.
“So, I am going to go to him for bigger things. Currently, we are not engaged with Shapwa and many other young people who are in business. Some of them have fishing quotas, some of them are in transportation and all those things. So, Shapwa is not involved now. I am reserving him for bigger things,” he continued.
The political science lecturer also expressed his confidence in Kanyama, describing him as an astute entrepreneur, who has interests in agribusiness, among other enterprises.
“I am proud of him as a young person, and many other things that he does. He’s also in farming,” he observed.
When contacted, Kanyama also confirmed knowing Amupanda since time immemorial.
“Yes, I have known Job since high school and also university. I have known him for quite a long time,” Kanyama said yesterday upon enquiry.
Speculation is that some tycoons are fuelling Amupanda’s ambition, financially.
“How is he financing those billboards? He must tell us. Even us as an established political party cannot afford to put up those billboards for that long. And for Amupanda to keep his face on for over a month
shows that someone is funding him,” an opposition parliamentarian recently querried.
When this was put to Amupanda, he retorted: “I generally don’t like weaknesses. I don’t like weak people. I don’t like weak systems. It is a weakness for people to say they are well-established and can’t afford billboards… Even if I am getting money from who, who, it means it’s strength and ability to mobilise resources. We don’t lose sleep over those things. We are proud of the fact that we are able to do things that shock them.”
“We are hustling,” he said, adding that as long as his supporters and fellow activists are not engaged in criminal activities to finance their revolution, he sees no wrong.
He then moved to demystify assertions that he is poor, suggesting that he is able to finance certain projects himself or through crowdfunding with others who believe in the cause.
“I am not poor. I am employed. I have international activities that I do. I used to be a country expert for some surveys. Of course, I am dealing with young people who are poor,” he added.
He said AR is run by “management of objectives”, and will never be deterred by pedestrian views.
Earlier this year, Kanyama courted controversy after it emerged that the Central Procurement Board of Namibia could not say with certainty that he indeed had a condom manufacturing plant/factory.
This is despite the board’s decision to award a medical supplies tender, worth around N$650 million, to Kanyama’s company – Amnics Trading - because it presented itself as a local manufacturer.
This was disputed by industry players, who also suggested that Kanyama does not even employ 50 workers. It later turned out that only three individuals were under his employ. The tender was later cancelled, following a public brouhaha.
When New Era visited the purported condom manufacturing factory, located in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial area, Kanyama denied our team entry, citing privacy. This publication’s visit to the factory was to ascertain if indeed Kanyama at all owns a condom manufacturing plant, or if it merely exists on paper.