Strict vetting for Swapo MPs

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By Toivo Ndjebela

WINDHOEK – All wings of the ruling party Swapo, as well as its affiliate National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW), will have to abide by a new set of rules in nominating parliamentary candidates for the party’s upcoming electoral college.

Topping the list is the strict requirement that candidates must have been members in good standing for not less than ten years – something that the party did not strictly enforce in the past. Such membership, Swapo Secretary General Nangolo Mbumba said, must be continuous.

This means those who had left the party and re-joined cannot bank their hopes on their two spells collectively.

Several Swapo members, especially those who had joined the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) upon its formation in 2007, have been rejoining the ruling party in droves in recent years.

Mbumba last week informed party regional coordinators, the wings such as the women’s council, elders’ council and the youth league, as well as the NUNW to ensure that their respective candidates have continuously been members of the party for not less than ten years.

In the past, Swapo only enforced this rule on those wanting to be members of the Central Committee.

Candidates are also required to have paid in full their annual fees to the party, including one percent of salaries for those that are employed.

“The candidates must have been active and loyal to Swapo,” Mbumba’s letter reads.

Canidates with criminal records will not be considered, while consideration will only be limited to nominees who have received recommendation from the party’s regional executive committees and national leaders assigned to regions.

Nominations must be accompanied by CVs of such candidates, Mbumba said. 

To avoid squabbles that in the past have accompanied such nominations, Mbumba demanded that minutes of selection meetings be submitted with the names of candidates.

Swapo currently has 55 seats in the National Assembly – gained after an emphatic win in 2009. 

With Dr Hage Geingob as its presidential candidate in the November general elections, the ruling party has set itself a target of winning all seats in the National Assembly – replicating its aims of 2009.

For the first time though, Swapo is expected to be represented in parliament on a 50/50 gender quota after amendments were made to the party’s constitution to ensure an equitable representation of both men and women in all party structures.