Newly elected Swapo Party Women’s Council secretary Fransina Kahungu has vowed not to tolerate divisions and factionalism within the ruling party’s wing.
Kahungu was overwhelmingly voted as the new SPWC secretary following a three-day elective congress in Windhoek, which was also held virtually in Ongwediva and Rundu.
“I still stand by this notion while equally sponsoring an absolute intolerance towards factionalism, division, regionalism, tribalism or ethnic and politics of character assassination,” said the 51-year-old and one-time City of Windhoek mayor.
“I, therefore, urge you to join hands in the uprooting of these “isms” from the rank and file of the SPWC and by extension from the structures of the Swapo Party.”
Kahungu, who defeated Katrina Liswani, received 363 votes, while her challenger could only amass 153 votes.
Maria Ntusi won the deputy secretary race against Sylvia Kandanga-Sheetekela after receiving 360 votes.
Kandanga-Sheetekela received 159 votes. In an interview with New Era, Kahungu also urged fellow women to ensure the delivery of services to humanity while strengthening the ruling party to become better.
She said she will demand the rightful place of women at the table of leadership and in the boardrooms of governance, strengthen SPWC businesses and promote sound financial management across the rank and file of SPWC.
The elective congress also elected 36 members to be part of the SPWC central committee. The 36 members include Petrina Haingura, Ester Kavela, Pendukeni Iivula-Itana, Kaino David,
Loide Kasingo, Eva Imvula, Johanna Cloete, Rosina Hoebes, Eunice Iipinge, Clemencia Uzie, Ester Kamhulu, Selma Nantinda, Naemi Amuthenu, Tuuliki Uule, Kornelia Shilunga , Belinda Ougus, Martha Eelu, Emilia Amupewa, Sara Shikokola, Hilma Nicanor, Maria Angula, Katrina Liswani, Bernadette Jagger, Ruth Masake, Beata Nashongo, Nelao Amagulu, Tonata Shipena, Sylvia Kandanga-Sheetekela, Martha Iitope Akser, Angaleni Kangai, Christine Malwa, Victoria Kauma, Rebecca Iitembu, Christine Kapembe, Salome Kambala and Agnes Simasiku. Iivula-Ithana, who is a former Cabinet minister and Swapo secretary general, told New Era the voices of women need to be heard.
“As women, we need to improve our situation. We are facing social challenges and women are the labourers of society, we need to know how are we going to develop society in a certain direction,” she said. She said the country is facing the challenge of rape and gender-based violence.
“We need to identify the root cause of some of these challenges. For example, we have boy children that use to live in the streets and had no shelter.
We know most of these children have now graduated from the streets and are no longer living there.
We need to ask ourselves where did these children graduate to? Are they the ones committing these crimes? How do they make a living? We need to pursue some of these things as women,” she explained.
Deputy minister of mines and energy, Shilunga, who was also elected to the central committee, said she will advocate for women to be more active in male-dominated industries such as mining.
Shilunga said she will make sure that there will always be room for women in male-dominated industries as she has already advocated for the women association that will speak specifically to the needs of women working in the energy sector.
“We need to encourage women that children are brought up in a way they respect life. Because most of the children we have in society now, have no respect for human dignity. As a result, gender-based violence cases are high,” she said. Newly elected deputy secretary Ntusi said she will advocate for the 50/50 gender representation in regional councils, as it is currently male-dominated.
“I am going to focus on training women to gain confidence for them to compete in every position. For example, here in the Kavango regions, only two councillors are women. The rest are men and we need women to contest the positions freely,” she said.