Swapo political heavyweights Armas Amukwiyu, Eliot Mbako and Ottillie Shinduvi are among those who retained their party regional coordinator positions during regional conferences, held over the weekend.
The regional conferences are a gigantic leap toward the Swapo elective congress, slated for November. Amukwiyu, Mbako and Shinduvi retained their positions as Swapo regional coordinators for Oshikoto, Khomas and Kavango East, respectively. The regional conferences took place on Saturday, while others continued through Sunday.
Matheus Mumbala retained his position in //Kharas during its regional conference last month.
Elsewhere, most regional coordinators retained their positions.
In Omaheke, Ruth Kaukuata-Mbura was re-elected to the position unopposed over a week ago – while in Omusati, Sackey Kayone remained in the hot seat.
There are, however, some new faces.
In Kunene, Tuarungua Kavari was replaced by Julius Kaujova.
Known as ‘KK’ in the political space, Kaujova, a teacher by training, was the Sestfontein constituency councillor and chairperson of the Kunene regional council between 2015 and 2020 before the constituency was wrestled away by the United Democratic Front in 2020.
In Ohangwena, Fillemon Josua was elected as the new coordinator, replacing Hafeni Hatutale.
Down south in Hardap, Elizabeth Kharigus was toppled out of the position by Joplin Gontes.
On Sunday, New Era caught up with some coordinators – old and outgoing – to solicit views on the state of Swapo in various regions.
This comes at a time when the ruling party has been pushed to the periphery of power breaking in economic hubs, such as Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
The party’s popularity in Hardap, //Kharas and Kunene has also taken a significant dent in recent years if consecutive elections – regional and local – are anything to by.
Accepting her defeat, Kharigus described the process as democratic.
“I am still a member of the party,” she said, buttressing that when and where the party needs her service, she is at its behest.
In Hardap, under her reign, Swapo lost to the Landless People’s Movement.
“For the first three years, I was trying to unite the party, as people were not happy because of what happened. We lost because people were angry,” she said vaguely.
“It was only in my last two years that I started doing my actual work. I was busy with a recruitment drive. People are joining the party, and many agree to become active again. I have the trust that we will regain our support.”
Her southern neighbour Mumbala was upbeat about the party’s prospects going into the future.
Although Swapo popularity among voters declined in //Kharas, it must not be looked at in isolation, he said.
“During the 2019 and 2020 elections, something went terribly wrong in the country. There are towns, even in Outapi, where opposition hardly had a seat. But they do now. So, it is not just //Kharas but the whole country,” he said.
But a stronger Swapo will be back to reclaim its glory days, he added.
“//Kharas is back and strong. We are re-uniting ourselves, and we are prepared. Immediately after the 2022 elective congress, with the new leaders assigned to //Kharas, we have to come together and put our programme in place to supplement the efforts we are putting in now,” Mumbala said.
On his part, Kavari said he leaves Swapo in a good state compared, to when he took over in 2017.
Prior to that, he had been a district coordinator in the region since 2006.
“Well, the party is in a good state and continues improving its footprint in the region. It is not that I am quitting the party. I am just going into retirement and handing over the baton to fresh blood. I will continue being a loyal member of Swapo,” Kavari said.
He will now venture into full-time farming.
Swapo has always been the underdog in Kunene, he said in an earlier interview.
“Since independence, this region has been dominated by UDF and DTA (now PDM). We only won for the first time in 2014. But I can tell you, Swapo is improving,” Kavari said at the time.
In Omusati, Kayone said, Swapo will intensify political education at grassroots level.
“We will intensify our political education at the section and branch level unlike having mini rallies and big rallies during elections,” Kayone said.
Amukwiyu, Mbako and Shinduvi were not reachable on their mobile phones.
Over the weekend, Josua was elected as Swapo coordinator for Ohangwena, alongside Tuyeimo Nathingo as mobiliser, while Selma Kawiwa is treasurer.
The Khomas conference saw Elliott Mbako and businesswoman Martha Namundjebo-Tilahun retaining their positions as coordinator and treasurer, in that order, while mobiliser, youthful Queen Kamati, is the latest addition.
Kamati also serves on the Windhoek municipal council.
In Hardap, Gontes is the new coordinator, while Riaan McNab is the new mobiliser in the region.
Edward Wambo remains treasurer.
In Kunene, Kaujova is the new coordinator, while Alfonzo ‘Fonnie’ Katjingisiua is the new mobiliser.
At the time of going to print, New Era could not confirm Kunene’s mobiliser.
As for Kavango East, Shinduvi remains coordinator, while Kudumo Bonifatius is the mobiliser.
The treasurer is Patrick Haingura.
In Oshikoto, Amukwiyu won by a landslide against Andreas Ntinda, while Saara Ndahepuluka is the now regional mobiliser.
The treasurer position went Andreas Shipa.
Kavango West’s regional conference will take place only in 2024, while Oshana’s has been postponed.
Conferences for Otjozondjupa and Erongo were underway at the time of going to press.