OMUTHIYA - The Swapo district conference for Tsumeb held on Tuesday had to be postponed to a later date when chaos erupted shortly after incumbent regional councillor Lebbius Tobias announced his withdrawal at the last minute as candidate.
Tobias made the sudden U-turn after he was given a chance to present a brief motivation on why he should be voted as a candidate for councillor position, shortly before the voting process could start.
The conference was convened to elect the Swapo candidate who will represent the ruling party in the upcoming regional council elections slated for 25 November.
Tobias, who has been a councillor for about 10 years, also serves in the National Council where he is the Swapo party chief whip.
However, his decision not to stand divided the house, with some delegates insisting he should stand, as it was unprocedural to quit at the last minute. Others, however, opposed such a proposal.
Due to escalated misunderstanding, it was resolved that the conference be postponed to today, including the election of local authority councillors.
Oshikoto regional coordinator Armas Amukwiyu said they have accepted the withdrawal of Tobias’s candidature as it happened voluntarily.
“This was an unprecedented withdrawal, it caught us by surprise, and we tried to beg and convince him to stand just to go through the election and have the process done, but he refused, thus brewing some chaos. To this date, we don’t know what led to his sudden change of mind, had we known earlier, we could have made other arrangements,” stressed Amukwiyu.
Currently, three of 11 districts have successfully completed their conferences.
Apart from the Tsumeb fracas, Amukwiyu said the process in other districts is running smoothly.
Meanwhile, several high-profile politicians have failed to make the cut at the various district conferences in Oshikoto, including Guinas constituency councillor Betty Kaula who lost against Elias Kainda Marthinu for the race as Swapo candidate for the upcoming regional council elections.
In Eengodhi constituency, incumbent Protasius Neshuku was uncontested and will remain the Swapo candidate.
Neshuku has been a councillor for the past three years following the death of veteran politician Valde Sheyavali.
Omuthiya held its district conference on Monday, with current councillor Samuel Shivute emerging victorious ahead of Nuuyi Stefanus and Katrina Uusiku.
At the local authority level, incumbent councillors such as Enos Shipahu, Heskiel Nanyeni and Susanna Uukongo failed to make the cut. The new local authority candidates are Kashokulu Katina, Beata Nashongo, Chronelius Esther, Amunyela Petrina, Ndeutapo Johannes, Shimbangula Paulus, Joseph Kakungha and Lapindja Hamatundu.