Edward Mumbuu Jnr
The Fishrot corruption scandal which led to the arrest of senior Swapo figures should not be used as a gauge to sway votes away from the ruling party.
This is because implicated party members should be treated as individuals, Opuwo Urban constituency councillor Weich Mupya has expressed.
Mupya reiterated this on Monday while responding to questions on how the alleged mass fraud case might affect his re-election chances at November’s regional council and local authority elections.
“I am not part of any criminal syndicate. I cannot be implicated in any manner in any kind of crime, may it be corruption or theft. It [Fishrot] cannot follow all of us. If a certain person has committed a crime, let it follow him. It cannot follow the group [Swapo],” he noted. The accused in Namibia’s grandest corruption scandal are former fisheries minister Bernhard Esau and ex-minister of Justice Sacky Shanghala.
The two were members of the central committee - Swapo’s highest decision-making body - at the time of their arrests late last year.
The scandal has since been a thorn in the ruling party’s flesh, with its popularity waning drastically.
Asked the gospel Swapo will preach to retain voters in his constituency in the midst of the scandal, Mupya said Swapo’s work in his constituency and by extension Namibia’s quest for development speaks for itself.
“When it comes to the reputation of Swapo, it is up to the communities to judge,” he said.
He added: “I don’t think the residents of Kunene are so blind not to see what we are trying to do in terms of bringing development to them.”
Mupya emphasised that those implicated in corruption matters should be treated as individuals and the law must be allowed to take its course.
Swapo’s leadership on several occasions admitted that the scandal has attracted bad publicity and was being used by their political opponents for expediency.
In the Fishrot case, the two ministers and five other accused are charged with corruption, fraud, money laundering and tax evasion in connection with allegations that they were in cahoots with Icelandic fishing giant, Samherji, which allegedly paid them millions in bribes between 2014 and 2019 in exchange for access to Namibia’s rich fishing grounds.