WINDHOEK, 03 DEC – Swapo on Monday said it is in a sound position financially and amended its constitution to accommodate young people in its top echelons, but did not provide details to support these statements.
This was said at a media conference in the capital on Monday, aimed at briefing the public on the outcomes of the Swapo party’s two-day extraordinary conference over the past weekend.
The congress was intended to amend the party’s constitution in a bid to resonate with current and anticipated realities.
However, at the media conference, Swapo Secretary-General (SG) Sophia Shaningwa provided little, if any, details about the constitutional amendments.
From the onset, Shaningwa said they held a successful convention and quashed insinuations that the ruling party is divided.
“Congress reiterated that the party must be weary of centrifugal forces that are intent on destroying what took the party many years and so much blood, sweat and tears to build,” she stated.
The congress was officially opened by Swapo President Hage Geingob, who in his opening statement emphasised the importance of constitutional amendments.
But when it came to what Swapo amended in its constitution, Shaningwa did not say much.
A bone of contention after the congress, particularly among the party’s youthful members, is the length of time a member must have served as a Swapo member in order to qualify for the party’s top positions.
Shaningwa said age limits were proposed for candidates for the positions of party president, vice president or SG.
“The extra-ordinary congress looked at the ages proposed and it was found that we are limiting the youth from coming in and therefore, there is a reduction on what was proposed. That simply means that the youth will not wait for 50 or 60 years for them to become the president of our party. There is reasonable age or years that were proposed,” she stated vaguely.
Then the SG, without providing details, indicated that the extra-ordinary congress adopted the majority of proposed amendments to the Swapo constitution.
To the contrary, local media has reported that Swapo had set the bar higher for someone to become party president.
According to the report, a decision was taken that an aspiring politician who wants to be a Swapo president should be a party member for 20 uninterrupted years.
Ten of the 20 years must have been served in Swapo’s top two structures, the central committee and political bureau, it was reported.
Further, Shaningwa rebuffed claims that the ruling party was struggling to meet its financial obligations, stressing that soon a groundbreaking ceremony will be held to mark the commencement of construction of Swapo’s new party headquarters.
“It means I could not go ahead, neither could the leadership of this party waste money and time to go to City of Windhoek to have the building plan approved if there is no money to build what we want to build.”
It was reported earlier this year that the anticipated headquarters will cost the ruling party around N$400 million. – NAMPA