A new political party, founded by 2019 presidential candidate Dr Panduleni Itula, dubbed Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), will hold its maiden convention at a Windhoek hotel today.
The gathering will adopt the party’s constitution, while the party symbols and official colours will also be unveiled. Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) chief electoral officer Theo Mujoro earlier this month confirmed Itula applied to register a political party called the IPC. When contacted for a follow-up yesterday, ECN spokesperson Vikitoria Hango said the electoral body is still processing IPC’s application.
Itula yesterday promised the country’s political space would not be the same again. “The democratic path Namibians have travelled is only able to create socio-economic opportunities, as a goal, for all our people if there is a high level of trust and confidence, in our elected politicians, especially a corruption-free leadership,” Itula said.
“The supreme purpose of participating in elections to be elected as political leaders and to be voted into power is to serve the people who have elected you in a decision-making office with dedication.”
Itula, who contested last year’s presidency while still a card-carrying member of the ruling Swapo, challenged President Hage Geingob and obtained 29.4% of the total vote, receiving 242 657 votes.
Geingob received 464 703 votes, representing 56.3% of the total vote. Itula, who has since been booted out of Swapo, said his party was participating in the electoral process with a view to influence the composition and policies of government.
“The formation of the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC), on the heels of the first-ever independent presidential candidacy in our political history, is indeed a historical event that we feel should be witnessed by all who are likely to have a harmonious relationship with IPC in the best interest of our people,” he said.
Itula added following the party launch on Friday, they shall conduct route shows throughout the country towns and Windhoek.
“Many of our members and supporters are already advanced in preparations to travel to the capital to join the main event, while others shall celebrate the birth of the people’s formidable political force, the Patriots, in their respective towns and villages,” he said.
Itula was expelled from Swapo in March this year for allegedly working with “counter-revolutionary forces” to destroy and weaken the party. Swapo party’s secretary general Sophia Shaningwa, in the letter to Itula, said that at all relevant and material times prior to Itula registering himself as an independent candidate in respect of the 27 November 2019 elections, he was aware that Geingob, the party’s president, became the party’s only candidate following his election during the ordinary congress. “All party members, including yourself, were under an obligation to observe and comply with the decisions, resolutions and directives of the majority, even when such members hold a diverging opinion as per the Party Constitution,” Shaningwa said.
She added that following Itula’s registration as an independent presidential candidate, he embarked on an election campaign, where he, in some cases, shared a platform with members of the opposition political parties who are manifestly working against the interests of the party and its presidential candidate.