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Nudo heavyweight rejoins Swapo

2014-10-10  Mathias Haufiku

Nudo heavyweight rejoins Swapo
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WINDHOEK – Nudo heavyweight Benestus Kandundu joined Swapo yesterday, saying he is “returning home where I originated as a political activist during the apartheid years”. Until yesterday, Kandundu was Nudo’s acting vice-president, councillor for Katutura Central constituency as well as the party’s director of elections. Nudo bosses were quick to dismiss the reason for his returning, saying Kandundu is a frustrated politician who is only joining Swapo because Nudo leadership decided not to guarantee him the vice-presidency post in which he was acting. They point out that Kandundu walked out of Nudo’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last week, hours before the electoral college, when the NEC decided not to confirm him as vice-president, opting instead to keep the position vacant until congress in 2017. “Kandundu defected to the ruling party because he was frustrated that he was not appointed as the vice-president. Of course this is a great loss to the party, but if he came here just for positions then his departure is a blessing. It is better to have trusted cadres than people who are only there for positions,” said Nudo’s Deputy Secretary General Vetaruhe Kandorozu. Kandundu, who joined with his wife, says it is his loyalty to serve the people in a progressive party that motivated his return to Swapo. “Swapo is progressive party and the mission of Swapo has always been to improve people’s lives,” he said in the presence of Swapo Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba and other party members at the party’s headquarters in Katutura, where he also handed over his Nudo membership as well as letter of resignation. He said there was no bad blood or negative emotions between him and Nudo members because of his departure and they remain his fellow citizens. Asked whether he was promised a position in Swapo, which prompted the move, Kandundu denied that, saying he was not greedy about positions and was returning as an ordinary member. “I am not here for positions. It’s not my intention,” he said, adding that when he joined Nudo back then, he was headhunted by the late Ovaherero paramount chief and Nudo president, Kuaima Riruako, because of his capabilities as a political activist. Mbumba welcomed Kandundu and his wife to Swapo, comparing their action to the return of the son in the Bible, who left home but eventually returned to the open arms of his father. He said Kandundu was coming back to the party where he belonged and which made him what he is. “This means a lot to us,” beamed Mbumba, saying that Swapo did not make him any promises and it was up to members in the party to recognise his talents. The Swapo secretary general added that every Namibian has a right to choose the party he wants as provided for in the Constitution. Nudo had just appointed Kandundu as acting vice-president following the death of its president Kuaima Riruako in June 2014, which prompted former vice-president Asser Mbai to be appointed as acting president. Nudo was also adamant that freezing the vice-presidency was not meant to frustrate Kandundu. “We appointed him to act as the vice-president because of his status as a member of the executive. But our legal advisors informed us that since Kandundu is not part of the top nine, he can not act in that position. The process was transparent because we decided that the position should be vacant until the next congress. Not even the chairperson who legally qualifies to act as vice-president was appointed,” explained Kandorozu. Nudo acting president Mbai said the absence of Kandundu would be a loss to the party. Although he did not want to comment because he had not seen a resignation letter from Kandundu or indication that he wanted to leave, it was his democratic party to join any other political party, he said. However, Mbai said he was waiting for Kandundu to put his resignation on record so that the party could call a leadership meeting to re-strategise. – Additional reporting by Mathias Haufiku
2014-10-10  Mathias Haufiku

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