Swapo’s presidency dispute persists

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Swapo’s presidency dispute persists

Swapo members have taken the party to court over the alleged sidestepping of the party’s constitution by failing to hold an extraordinary congress to elect a party president following the death of President Hage Geingob in February this year.

Yesterday, party members Reinhold Shipwikineni, Petrus Shituula, Joshua-Vaino Martins, Erich Shivute and Aina Angula filed an application in the High Court, asking it to set aside the decision of the party’s Central Committee to hold the extraordinary congress on 19 April 2025 instead.  


The group is also seeking an order directing the party through its Central Committee to call for an extraordinary congress, as stipulated by the party  constitution, within 30 days of the court granting the order. 

In an affidavit, Shipwikineni said the party’s constitution stipulates that in the event the president is permanently unable to perform his or her duties, the Central Committee must call an extraordinary congress within three months of the vacancy occurring to elect a new party president. 

He said after Geingob’s death on 4 February, the party was obliged to hold an extraordinary congress to elect a president who would complete his (Geingob’s) unexpired term. 

But the Central Committee on 9 March announced that Swapo will only hold its extraordinary congress next year. This, he said, is in conflict with the party’s constitution. 

He further said the party’s interpretation of “call” and “hold” is wrong. 

Shipwikineni said holding the extraordinary congress after the November Presidential and National Assembly elections will prejudice party members, and goes against the aim behind the provision.

He said it is not relevant whether the late Geingob or anyone else preferred party vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to take over the reins – the constitution must be followed to the letter.

“In effect, by foisting the vice president as an unelected de facto president onto its members by default for failing to hold a meeting until well after the elections, Swapo, through its Central Committee, has frustrated the voting rights of its members,” continued Shipwikineni.

He asked the court to hear the matter as one of urgency, bearing in mind the nearness of the November elections.

“It could also result in belated challenges to the legitimacy of Swapo’s presidential nominee or even the president of Namibia – none of which would be in the interest of our country or public’s interest,” he said.

The party has not yet stated its position with regards to the court application.

Swapo has endorsed Nandi-Ndaitwah as its presidential candidate for the 27 November elections.

Party lawyer Sisa Namandje said in May this year that those members who thought the Swapo constitution obliged the organisation to hold an extraordinary congress within three months after a vacancy arises in the party presidency, are misplaced.

The lawyer stated that the party constitution rather requires that it “calls” an extraordinary congress in three months, and not “hold” one at that time.

The party further said Shipwikineni has been demanding an extraordinary congress and disputing the legitimacy of Swapo’s presidential candidate Nandi-Ndaitwah for more than a year.

In addition, the party said there is no merit in the allegations made by Shipwikineni, and sees his “threat” as a sinister and deliberate ploy to distract and to cause disharmony, given the ongoing campaigns by political parties for the upcoming elections.

Yesterday, Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa and her deputy Uahekua Herunga could not be reached for comment, as their mobile phones went unanswered.

Although Herunga later promised to revert, he did not do so by the time the paper went to the printers.