Namibia; Shaningwa rejects call for her to resign

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa

SWAPO secretary general Sophia Shaningwa has rejected a call by a lecturer at the party’s school for her to resign, saying the person making the demands did not vote for her.

“Unfortunately, he didn’t vote for me. Thank you,” she said before hanging up on the journalist.

Shaningwa made these remarks to The Namibian when asked about a letter written to her by Swapo party lecturer, Panduleni Itula.

He had asked her to step down as secretary general because she is imposing leadership at local authorities across the country.

In the letter, which was dated 17 January 2019 and seen by The Namibian, Itula asked for her resignation, claiming that she is “not fit for the job”.

Itula’s letter comes after Shaningwa reportedly instructed the Rundu Town Council to retain its leadership, which includes mayor Verna Sinimbo.

“Local authority government represents the wishes of the local citizens, irrespective of political affiliation. The secretary general has, therefore, no powers to impose on local communities. That is not the meaning of “democracy” in our national Constitution. That is dictatorship,” he stressed.

He said therefore, each and every local authority councillor who joined a political party, such as the Swapo party, has a right to be elected as an office-bearer during local authority elections, which are normally at the end of each year.

Itula also asked which powers Shaningwa had to force local authorities retaining their leadership.

“The secretary general in the same letter acknowledges that the directive she refers to is not that of the party, and does therefore not apply, but is her own. This constitutes dictatorship, and not democracy,” he reiterated.

He further urged Swapo councillors to reject and oppose the autocratic directive of Shaningwa.

Itula was not reachable for comment regarding the letter.

Nampa reported on Wednesday that Shaningwa threatened to take action if the Swapo leadership in Kavango East fails to implement her directive.

“Failure to do so, my office will be left with no choice but to take appropriate action,” she warned.