The Swapo politburo has resolved to remove trial-awaiting former Cabinet ministers Bernhard Esau and Sacky Shanghala from its top decision-making structures.
Esau served as both politburo and central committee member, while Shanghala served in the central committee.
Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor told journalists on Friday Esau and Shanghala were removed in accordance with the party’s constitution.
The party constitution reads: “Any member of the Political Bureau who absents himself or herself from three consecutive meetings shall immediately cease to be a member of the Political Bureau”.
Said Nicanor: “As a principled party, we believe in the rule of law and, therefore, being cognisant of the fact that the magnitude of the allegations facing Esau and Shanghala, are of a serious nature,” Nicanor said while announcing the “suspension”.
The political bureau is the executive committee of the ruling party.
Furthermore, Nicanor also used the opportunity to hit back at those labelling Swapo as a corrupt party, saying those with such narrative are being carried by small-minded individuals.
“This narrative is obviously by small-minded individuals, farfetched and devoid of any truth – because over the years, under the Swapo party government, many people from all walks of life and different political affiliations have faced the law and not just Swapo party members,” Nicanor said.
“The party has not received any funds pertaining to the Fishrot and our audited financial statements remain open for viewing. So, there is no proof whatsoever that the party committed any crime.
“A corrupt individual does not make Swapo party corrupt.”
Nicanor also said Swapo does not condone corruption.
“It was the Swapo party, through its government, that has put in place instruments of combating corruption and the fact that Esau and Shanghala are in custody, facing serious allegations, is a clear testimony to our quest in combating corruption,” she said.
Shanghala and Esau were arrested in November 2019 after they were implicated in the Fishrot scandal.
The bribery scandal allegedly involves bribes amounting to over N$150 million, reportedly paid by Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, in return for preferential access to Namibia’s fishing grounds.
They are expected to stand trial on charges ranging from fraud to bribery, corruptly using office for gratification, money laundering and conspiring to commit corruption. The other accused include former Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, James Hatuikulipi, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Phillipus Mwapopi, Otneel Shuudifonya, Pius Mwatelulo, Ricardo Gustavo and lawyer Marén de Klerk. - firstname.lastname@example.org