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"We need discipline in the Party" - Dr Kamwi

By Cde Dr. Richard Kamwi
Question: You are the leader of national leaders assigned to Otjozondjupa Region. Things do not seem to be going well there. What is happening?

Answer: SWAPO Party is now faced with a situation related to indiscipline of some SWAPO Party members. The situation we are seeing in Otjozondjupa Region, primarily three districts - Grootfontein, Okahandja and Otjiwarongo, calls for serious attention. For me, it calls for discipline. Frankly speaking, it calls for discipline.

These people who are claiming to be "Okahandja leadership up in arms" are not leaders. They were elected fraudulently. They were elected in the nullified elections. Which Okahandja leadership is up in arms? You know the unconstitutional district conference that took place in Okahandja, where most unfortunate, everybody was brought in a hall from sections to branches to districts.

It has never happened. SWAPO Party Constitution is very clear. When you restructure, you go where the people are living. That is where you start with the sections. From sections to branches, and branches will take you to the district conference. This was not done.

That is why the politburo nullified what happened there. Most unfortunate, some of the national leaders assigned to Otjozondjupa Region found themselves colluding with the wrongs. The comrades were not advised properly. What is written here is outrageous. Before I left for Washington, I picked up some information about the wrongs that took place there. In the process, some of the regional leaders held some meetings in Okahandja where the legitimate Okahandja District was being sidelined.

When I learned about it, I said something must be wrong. In fact, there two district conferences. I said this must be corrected. I learned of the divisions there, Cde Steve Biko Booys is having his own faction, while Cde Marten Benhard, the legitimate Okahandja District Coordinator, was being sidelined.

Before I left for Washington, I went there. I called all my colleagues with whom I am assigned to Otjozondjupa. Unfortunately, only Cde Elia Kaiyamo and Professor Peter Katjavivi, who said they were available. But in the end, Professor Katjavivi did not turn up. I invited the Acting Regional Coordinator, Cde Susan Hikopua. She too arrived. I invited Booys. We met in his Office. I invited Cde Marten. Unfortunately, as we were driving there, Cde Marten and the Mayor, Cde Urikhob, were invited by the Secretary General, Cde Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana. Cde Kaiyamo joined me. I was very clear.

I was informed that the leadership was under Cde Booys. I said that this was wrong. I was very firm on that one. SWAPO Party Constitution is very clear.

I told Booys firmly that he should remain Information and Mobilization Officer. He cannot be Acting District Coordinator when the legitimate and constitutionally elected district coordinator was still there in the person of Cde Marten. I told him that the structure must remain as is - District Coordinator, Cde Marten, Information and Mobilization, Cde Booys, Treasurer remains Nunuhe. At that time, I was not informed that she had already resigned. She removed her signature from the bank account. She had also removed a computer she had earlier donated to SWAPO Party. What else do you want? I only came to learn about that when I came back from Washington. She was replaced by the Mayor, Cde Urikhob.

Following the nullification, we had to start all over. National leaders were boosted. Cdes Peter Ilonga, David Namwandi, Elifas Dingara and Sylvia Makgone were added. This was a formidable team. We had several meetings. The first meeting was about how we were going to direct and oversee the whole process. I read the directives as given by the Secretary General, Cde Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, as directed by the Politburo. One of the directives was to verify and authenticate that whatever we did must meet the SWAPO Party constitutional requirements, simple and clear.

That was exactly what we did. Unfortunately when we arrived there, it was no longer the Exco of Okahandja leadership. We found a huge crowd there. I asked Cde Marten, is this your Exco? He said no. At that meeting, we were joined by Cde Charles Namoloh and Professor Peter Katjavivi. Of course, you heard their sentiments. Professor Katjavivi was quite unhappy and angry with the nullification of the District Conference. According to him, it was well constituted.

I don't know what that meant, but those were his own words. He was extremely angry, saying this thing must stop. He said he had written a letter to President Hifikepunye Pohamba. I do not know what the content of the letter was. I want to make one thing very clear. I was appointed to chair the national leaders assigned to Otjozondjupa Region.

I told him that we were here on an assignment by the Politburo. We were assigned through the Secretary General. We are national leaders, and as such, we should lead by example. Let us stick to the assignment. The moment we stick out, we will be creating a situation that will give us a problem as national leaders. He listened. We went ahead.

Now, Nunuhe wanted to come in join the meeting. I told her straight to leave the meeting, like her colleagues. She was not a member of this team. Constitutionally she was not. She had resigned. I was very firm and clear. The rest must as well leave. That I said. Otherwise, we were not going to have a meeting because we were not assigned to come and conduct a rally. We came to correct the wrongs.

Cde Namoloh was also not happy. He said he was not happy with those nullifications and wanted to know who was nullifying all these. He wanted to know which constitution allowed these nullifications. I cautioned him as well. I told him that you recall that when I left for Washington, I asked you through the Secretary General to stand it for me at the Secretariat.

You attended the Secretariat meeting. You were part and parcel of the decision. The nullification of Okahandja was referred to the Secretariat, which you attended - hence our presence here. You were part and parcel of the decision to nullify Okahandja. Why are you questioning it now? That was not the way to go about it. That was how I cautioned my colleagues. That meeting went up to ten in the evening. I realized that there were just too many cooks coming in. I asked for a break because I wanted us to succeed. I was there authoritatively.

When we returned from the break, I directed that only those who were legitimately required to attend should be present. Should there be anybody refusing, I would call in the police. That I said. I called them in to maintain law and order. I asked them to be on standby. I don't entertain anarchy. I am a disciplinarian. We went ahead and did all the districts. One district, Immanuel Ngatjizeko Branch, gave us some problems. There were two branches in one. I said we would not entertain that. That is not SWAPO. We can only have one branch. Our work was to verify.

I directed that we were going to work with Cde Marten, the legitimate Okahandja district coordinator. Constitutionally, that is how it should be done. He should tell us who the branch coordinators were. He told us who the branch and section leaders were. The ones whose elections were nullified, we told them to leave. Those elections were nullified by the Politburo, not by Kamwi and team. We went ahead. We asked them to show us their membership cards. Those who qualified, we asked them to remain. We verified and we were satisfied. It took us up to one o'clock in the morning.

We finished and went back to Utoni Nujoma Branch. It was even worse than at Immanuel Ngatjizeko Branch. One of the sections there was named after Jeremia Nambinga. I said no ways. How do you convince me that in SWAPO you have a section named after Jeremia Nambinga of the Rally for Democracy and Progress, RDP! People were not serious. I said this was unacceptable. We found Ben Katamila there. As far as we were concerned, Katamila was not a member of this team. We were aware that he was on his way to rejoin, but he could not just come and start making trouble here. I ordered him to leave and he left. We proceeded.

Throughout this whole process, we were together with the Acting Regional Coordinator, Cde Susan Hikopua, and Cde Booys as Information and Mobilization Officer. We were determined to make sure that things went well. But we had problems at Komesho Branch, created now by Cde Booys. He was not there when we started. He would just come in and go as he wished. Cdes Booys and Hikopua were all the time sending text messages. They were not with us to physically monitor the process. They were just busy reporting to their masters. Cde Booys then told me that we should wait for the Deputy Mayor. I told him that all the sections were here.

Question: Why did these people create problems for you?

Answer: The problem really was that some of the comrades who did not follow the SWAPO Party Constitution on how branches and district conferences should be conducted did not like the nullification. They knew that the district conference they held was illegal and that was the reason it was nullified. But they just did not want to accept this reality.

Cdes Booys and Hikopua created problems for us. Both Booys and Hikopua wanted us to start with the Anton Lubowski Branch in town. But because it was getting late, we agreed to go to Five Rand to finish there because there was no electricity and our security was also at stake. Cdes Booys and Hikopua did not like this. She told me that she was pulling out because we were bias. I asked her what she meant. She replied that we were only listening to Cde Marten.

I told her straight that colleague, from day one I made it very clear that we were in Okahandja District under Cde Marten as District Coordinator. Both Cdes Booys and Hikopua chose to leave. They pulled out but we went ahead to Five Rand because the concerns raised by Cde Marten were valid. All the branches there were perfect and things went smoothly. They were very well organized.

We finished at Five Rand and proceeded to Anton Lubowski Branch. When we arrived there, there were two factions there. One was under a tree, and another just in the sun. Chaos! There was no unity at all. The four delegates to the District Conference included Nunuhe. She was a delegate. How could she be a delegate when she had resigned?

Question: What do you think is the problem?

Answer: These people really created problems for us. The Party is getting loose on discipline. This letter is unfortunate. Its content is devoid of any truth. This is hogwash. Allegations contained in that letter are not true. These are mere fabrications. I did not join SWAPO Party at quarter-to-twelve. I have been in SWAPO since 1974. I have never seen discipline in SWAPO dropping at that rate.

We followed all the rules and procedures. We followed the Constitution of SWAPO Party. Nobody among those who are complaining now can cite any provision of the SWAPO Party Constitution that we did not follow. I challenge them to do that. SWAPO Party does not belong to one tribe. We don't talk about tribes in SWAPO Party. We are comrades.

As we were busy, one comrade said they were receiving text messages telling them to leave and boycott the conference. I said something must be wrong here. Delegates were receiving text messages from Cdes Otto Ipinge, Booys and Nunuhe. They were calling them to leave the District Conference. Can you imagine! That is why I am talking about discipline. Three of us as part of the leadership assigned to Otjozondjupa Region are members of the Central Committee. Two of us are members of the Politburo. But the way these colleagues were looking at us, treating us and talking to us shocked us all.

To cut a long story short, there is no "Okahandja leadership that is up in arms." Our report was presented to the Secretary General. We prepared it as a team. The conference went well. We verified and satisfied ourselves with the whole process. It is above board. It went to the Politburo through the Secretary General. I was privileged to present it. We were congratulated as a team. We followed the Constitution. That process will never be nullified again. The leadership is satisfied with the way it went. Those who were elected are now the legitimate leaders of Okahandja District.

One of the recommendations we made is that as a matter of urgency there is a need to step up political mobilization and political education in Okahandja. This is so because it appears that many of our members in Okahandja District do not have knowledge of the SWAPO Party Constitution. They therefore need to be educated and recruit more members for the Party in the District. Some SWAPO Party members there are loose. This is not good for the Party.

Question: How do we go about it?

Answer: We proposed a district rally to be addressed by one of the Top Four. This should be organized in Okahandja as a matter of urgency. The theme should center around unity of purpose. I approached the Vice President, Cde Hage Geingob. He agreed with me that there was a need to address those fellows. My colleagues also agreed with the proposal. I informed the Acting Regional Coordinator, Cde Hikopua. She was up in arms, quarreling. In the end I decided to drop it. I also shared it with Cde Otto Ipinge, he too was up in arms. He accused me of having a hidden agenda. Which hidden agenda? We are trying to bring you together. That is how ugly the situation in Otjozondjupa Region is.

We were sent there by the Politburo of SWAPO Party, chaired by President Hifikepunye Pohamba. We are heading for the Congress. The days for the Congress are fast approaching. Unless Okahandja conducts its Regional Conference, the chances of attending the Congress are very slim. It is not the wish of the SWAPO Party leadership to see any region not attending the Congress. All of us must be in attendance. My advice is wisdom must reign. Listen to the SWAPO Party leadership. We went there to address SWAPO Party members, true SWAPO Party members. There is only one principle that should reign - that is to follow the SWAPO Party Constitution.





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