Tit-for-tat expulsions ... as Swapo expels Ngurare, others

July 20, 2015, 7:12am

Tit-for-tat expulsions ... as Swapo expels Ngurare, others 

By Tileni Mongudhi

THE ruling Swapo Party's Politburo has opted to circumvent its own constitution in a push to expel youth league secretary Elijah Ngurare.
Ngurare was this weekend expelled alongside Job Amupanda, George Kambala and Dimbulukeni Nauyoma.
The three have been on suspension since November last year for their land activism.
The move to expel the four is seen by some in the ruling party as intimidating the youth not to participate in the mass land action scheduled for 31 July. 
Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba was at pains to explain what Ngurare's crimes are.
At a media briefing Friday afternoon, Mbumba repeatedly said he was only communicating the Politburo's decision and did not want to say why the Politburo came to that conclusion.
“Their conduct is incompatible with that of Swapo members,” Mbumba said when he announced the Politburo's recommendation to the Central Committee to expel the four youth leaders from the party. 
This is despite the fact that the party disciplinary committee has not finalised the case against Amupanda, Nauyoma and Kambala. 
No case has also been registered against Ngurare, prompting a number of Central Committee members, who spoke to The Namibian, to conclude that he was found guilty by association with the three activists.
On Friday Mbumba said the Politburo had recommended to the Central Committee but on Saturday the four leaders received letters from him about their expulsion.
Mbumba confirmed yesterday that the four have been expelled and that the CC is expected to rubber-stamp the decision and not act on a recommendation as stated on Friday.
“They are expelled but the decision needs to be endorsed by the CC,” he said.
A senior party leader yesterday said they fear that President Hage Geingob and Mbumba want to bulldoze the motion at the CC meeting scheduled for this week without allowing debate on the legality or merits of the cases. 
When asked about the discrepancy, Mbumba said “we were in a hurry when drafting the statement”. The Politburo however ignored a part of the party constitution which states that the permanent disciplinary committee was responsible for charging and investigating members who transgress the party's code of conduct. 
The constitution was amended in May 2013 to include the disciplinary committee.
The Politburo opted to use the provision which allows it to dismiss members on condition that the decision is endorsed by a two-third majority of the Politburo and thus ignored the disciplinary committee completely.At the Politburo meeting on Friday, a motion was tabled to expel the four as they allegedly have no intention of resolving the land crisis in the country.
Deputy prime minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah had allegedly tabled the motion at an earlier Politburo meeting and the motion picked up momentum at Friday's meeting.
In a shocking and surprising twist, youth minister Jerry Ekandjo was allegedly one of those leaders leading and supporting the motion. This left a substantial number of Politburo members dumbfounded because it was Ngurare and the youth league, including Amupanda, who supported Ekandjo in the run up to the 2012 elective congress which saw Ekandjo lose to Geingob for the party vice presidency and eventually Swapo's presidential candidate for the 2014 national elections. 
Nandi-Ndaitwah and Ekandjo were supported by safety and security minister Charles Namoloh, labour minister Erkki Nghimtina, urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa and former youth minister Kazenambo Kazenambo. 
Geingob and former president Hifikepunye Pohamba were also in support of the motion.
Ekandjo yesterday denied supporting the push to oust Ngurare and others.
Ekandjo said Ngurare and others were not brought before a disciplinary committee to explain themselves. “How can I pass judgement on them if I am not a member of the DC and did not hear their side?” he said.
A Politburo source said home affairs minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana was one of the few leaders who questioned the legality of the motion, but did not garner enough support. Sources said that Geingob also turned on veterans Ben Amathila, former National Assembly Speaker Theo-Ben Gurirab and former defence minister Nahas Angula to question what their views on the matter were since they had opted to be quiet during the debate. 
The Politburo was allegedly also told that Ngurare had been warned at the May 2013 CC meeting in Swakopmund, after the extraordinary congress, where he survived the chop.
At the time Ngurare and the SPYL leadership stood accused of insulting senior leaders and the party on social networks. At the time Ngurare apologised and was instructed not to discuss party matters on social media and in public. Neutral leaders told The Namibian that at the time the party's permanent disciplinary committee was not incorporated into the party constitution to deal with all disciplinary cases, in accordance with the party's code of conduct. 
Interestingly, while President Geingob was part of the decision to expel the youth leaders, State House issued a media statement saying that he re-affirms his willingness to engage and dialogue with the Affirmative Repositioning leaders and that their expulsion from Swapo has no bearing on government's position to engage on the pressing land and shelter issues faced by the country.

The Namibian