March 18, 2015, 7:20am
WINDHOEK – Swapo has asked Marina Kandumbu to either voluntarily withdraw from the Swapo parliament list or have the party remove her from the list.
Kandumbu was last year convicted of corruption in Rundu for leasing her subsidised government house. She held position 70 on Swapo’s 96-member list.
In a letter dated March 15, 2015, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba informed Kandumbu that: “The position of the leadership of Swapo Party wants you to consider voluntarily withdrawing from the parliament list due to the nature of your case. The leadership of the party shall withdraw you from the list should you fail to do it yourself.” Mbumba rounded off the letter, which was seen by New Era, saying the decision is not his alone but of the entire top-four leadership.
New Era is also reliably informed that Swapo’s national leader assigned to the Kavango West Region, Marco Hausiku, Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku and Swapo regional co-ordinator for Kavango West David Hamutenya are scheduled to meet Mbumba in Windhoek to discuss Kandumbu’s position on the parliament list.
Kandumbu was mum when approached for comment yesterday.
Mbumba last week made it clear to New Era he will not discuss “internal party matters with the newspapers”.
With Swapo having garnered 77 seats for the sixth National Assembly, Loide Shinavene at number 78 on the Swapo parliament list, Gothard Kasuto at number 79 and Paula Kooper at number 82 are expected to fill the voids.
Hamutenya yesterday said he is not aware of Kandumbu’s removal from the list. “I am not informed about the happenings at head office, I just heard the things from the corridors,” he said. Hamutenya said party members have been contacting him since the news broke last week seeking answers as to why Kandumbu was axed.
“Everyday I receive calls from our members here in the region but I have no answers to give them because nothing is being communicated to me,” he said.
Kandumbu’s axing means people from Kavango West will have no representative in the National Assembly.
This prompted Hamutenya to say that “with the Regional Council and Local Authority elections coming up it will be very difficult to convince the voters to vote for the party because last year they voted in numbers to help the party to victory and now there is no one representing them in parliament”.
When Kandumbu attended the women parliamentarians-elect seminar at Gross Barmen last week, many people thought the party had cleared her to go to parliament but the party had other plans.
Kandumbu is now jobless after resigning from her job at the Kavango regional education directorate where she worked as a chief education officer for planning.
The five-day seminar held at Gross Barmen Resort near Okahandja last week was aimed at equipping women to make meaningful contributions in parliament.
It was held under the theme, “Enhancing the Effective Participation of Women Parliamentarians in Namibian Politics”.
According to Article 47 of the Namibian Constitution, which deals with disqualification of members from the National Assembly, Kandumbu is eligible to go to parliament.
The Article states that: “No persons may become members of the National Assembly if they: (a) have at any time after independence been convicted of any offence in Namibia, or outside Namibia, and for which they have been sentenced to death or to imprisonment of more than 12 months without the option of a fine, unless they have received a free pardon or unless such imprisonment has expired at least 10 years before the date of their election.”
Last month Secretary of the National Assembly, Jakes Jacobs, also told New Era that the fact that Kandumbu was given the option of a fine by the court for her offence, as per the constitution means she is eligible for parliament.
Kandumbu is the third person to vacate the ruling party’s parliamentary list after Chairperson of the National Council Asser Kapere withdrew and Dr Nickey Iyambo was selected to be vice president.