News and Information
Nujoma pulls 'bogus' rabbit out of the hat
|October 4, 2004
| TANGENI AMUPADHI
THERE was an uproar at the Swapo Central Committee meeting on Friday evening after President Sam Nujoma released a list of supposed Hidipo Hamutenya supporters earmarked for the National Assembly, witnesses said.
Some of the Swapo old guard reportedly went head-to-head with Nujoma over the "bogus list", which is now being given as the main reason why many of them failed to perform well in the nomination elections.
More than half of the people on the list failed to make it to the top 40 of those elected as National Assembly candidates for Swapo.
In what some Swapo delegates at the electoral convention described as "the ultimate spin-doctoring", a list titled 'Vote members of the National Assembly 2005-2009' was circulated at the meeting to coincide with the elections.
The Namibian understands that Nujoma introduced the list by stressing that "imperialists and reactionary" elements had infiltrated Swapo to cause division among the leadership, and that the list was an example of the motive to divide them.
Those present say Nujoma brandished the list, pointing out that the anonymous author aimed to promote division by implying that certain people should be voted high up.
Helmut Angula, listed as number eight on the "bogus list" of 35 Hamutenya supporters, reportedly objected vehemently, demanding that Nujoma shed more light on where the list came from.
Angula said he did not know about the list, adding that he had not been at the central committee meeting and could therefore not have objected to it.
In the uproar, others called for the origin of the list to be investigated.
Another clash with Nujoma occurred when National Assembly Speaker Mosť Tjitendero complained that the President, as Chairman of the meeting, had tried to side-step him and denied him the right to state his opinion on the list.
Tjitendero reportedly insisted that he had a democratic right to speak, particularly because his name was on the list.
He is listed at number two, after Hamutenya, whose name was in bold.
Many delegates say although Nujoma was warning them about "infiltrators," the message was not lost on those present how they should vote for the 60 National Assembly candidates.
After the names of the National Assembly candidates were announced yesterday, one Minister remarked that "the spin-doctoring has worked".
Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Swapo Secretary for Information and Mobilisation, declined to comment, saying:"I have no information about that [list]".
Nandi-Ndaitwah's name is also on the list.
Hamutenya has fallen out of favour with Nujoma since the ruling party nominated three potential successors to the State President.
He was fired as Minister of Foreign Affairs ahead of the special congress that elected Hifikepunye Pohamba as Swapo's presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.
Hamutenya has said he was fired from Government on flimsy party-political grounds when Nujoma accused him of fomenting division within the ruling party in the Omaheke region.
His supporters have complained about being systematically sidelined in various areas of governance.
Hamutenya this weekend dismissed the list as the "revulsive" work of anonymous writers, who have used the e-mail name 'Ananias Nghifitikeko' to report alleged business deals involving Hamutenya's supporters.
"I don't know anything about it," he said.
Approached for comment, Environment Minister Phillemon Malima said:"I was fed up to get [my] name on a list that I don't know who designed.
It's a lie that those [named on the list] are supporters of Hamutenya.
And it was strategically moved closer to the elections campaign ..."
The "bogus list" and the anonymous e-mails are being seen as part of a dirty tricks campaign.
The widely circulated e-mails have contained truths, speculations and pure fiction, and have painted Hamutenya and his supposed cronies as corrupt.
Hadino Hishongwa, who is also named, declined to comment about what went on at the central committee meeting, but warned that the dirty tricks had the potential of causing instability in the country.
"If Swapo is not united then the nation will not be united," said Hishongwa.
Others worried that the "bogus list" could be viewed as successful and could encourage the continued use of anonymous rumours to crush dissidents in the party.
Addressing the Central Committee meeting on Friday, Nujoma said:"There are those who seek to sow the seeds of division within our party.
It is being done through faceless letter-writing and electronic mail campaigns, which are based on rumour-mongering.
We must reject such manoeuvres with the utmost contempt they deserve."
Nujoma stressed that Swapo members should remain united.
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