Swapo Regional Coordinator for Otjozondjupa region Susan Hikopua is back in the news again – this time she is caught in an alleged bribe storm involving more than N$60 000 to facilitate the nomination of Tobie Aupindi and lawyer Clive Kavendji as delegates to the central committee.
In May this year, Hikopua presided over a contentious restructuring exercise for Grootfontein district that turned violent and the police had to be called in. The Villager understands that Hikopua was allegedly paid to push for Kavendji as the representative of the Okamandjebere branch and Aupindi as the representative of Onjoka branch.
Documents in the possession of The Villager show that on 01 February an amount of N$3 000 was deposited into the account of Hikopua by Aupindi. Another deposit of N$5 000 was made on 6 February and then ten days later another N$3 000 was deposited. Aupindi made another deposit of N$3 000 on 9 March.
Kavendji made 11 deposits into Hikopua’s account between March and June this year to a total of N$42 000. Hikopua has also been accused of excluding the district treasurer of Omatako, Sir Welcome Kazondunge and its information and mobilisation ofﬁcer from the late 57th Swapo Anniversary Party on the 27th of May where Aupindi was the keynote speaker.
Sources told The Villager that Hikopua has been a host of several illegal gatherings including a meeting that took place at Waterberg last week addressed by Dr Hoze Riruako and Vincent Likoro. Hikopua, who denied taking bribes, said Aupindi and Kavendji are going to the central committee because they were elected last year during the extra ordinary conference of Omatako district.
“They must get that statement of where the money was paid to me. This is totally not true. Kavendji and Aupindi are members of the Omatako district and they regularlyGO to meet their people,” she said. Kavendji denied that he gave Hikopua or any one for that matter any money so that he could be nominated.
“I know that there is one a Welcome Kazondunge who is peddling this malicious information. I challenge him to provide cogent reasons of bribes paid to anyone.
“Surely, I reserve my full legal rights in this respect, especially against that retard. Further, and if you are indeed in possession of the alleged incriminating information tantamount to bribery as per your question, I expect of you as an ethical journalist to present same to me as part of audi alteram partem rule he said.
Audi alteram partem rule is Latin phrase that means listen to the other side. Kazondunge is the Omatako district treasurer in the Otjozondjupa region. Kavendji also said that he was nominated by the Otjozondjupa regional executive committee to be part of the secretariat.
“My selection to be part of the secretariat was unanimous and came highly recommended by the Governor Cde Ipinge and the Regional Coordinator [Hikopua]. “This selection was due to my outstanding service as an inhabitant of the region and what I have delivered to the Party and the Otjiwarongo town in particular.
“As an example, I have on request from the Governor registered a trust for the Otjiwarongo residents via my law ﬁrm for free. This is part of my social responsibility to my region as a bona ﬁ de Swapo Party member. As a member of the Okamandjebere branch, I have been an active member in ensuring that the ideals of the Party are disseminated,” he said.
Aupindi did not answer his phone neither did he respond to questions sent to him via SMS.
Hikopua has also been caught up in another storm where she is accused of organising exclusive meetings without the blessings of the party secretary general Nangolo Mbumba.
She, however, told The Villager that the meeting at Uitkoms was not a belated Swapo Party 57th anniversary. Uitkoms is a farm where some San people were resettled.
Hikopua said they invited Aupindi to the event so that he could talk to the San community that received animals to rear. “We invited Tobie just to give them a background and for them to tell him their ideas on what they want to do,” she said.
Hikopua also accused Kazondunge of neglecting his duties by not attending meetings where he had been invited.
She asked whether Kazondunge is a treasurer by title or by doing the party job. “I am not a district coordinator of Omatako. I am just a regional coordinator and based on that I go and help our people. “The treasurer was elected in 2015. Did he even attend any meeting where he was invited? We can even give you where the executive members are communicating on WhatsApp,” she said, adding that whoever was spreading the lies wanted to come up with an irrelevant ﬁght.
Hikopua said Kazondunge does not attend meetings in Ovitoto where he stays and now that Aupindi was at Uitkoms, he makes up stories. “Even if you call Tobie, he will not tell you that there was an event of the 57th anniversary at Uitkoms,” Hikopua said.
Kazondunge told The Villager that he does not get invited to party activities. “I do not know why I was not invited even though I am the district treasurer. In fact, the mobiliser would be the person who coordinates with everyone like the district coordinator and the treasurer.
“Why didn’t the invitation reach me whether by WhatsApp or SMS? I am also in the dark. I am trying to ﬁgure out what could be the reason,” he said. Kazondunge added that he is aware of rumours of several other meetings to which he was not invited.
“Since our election in 2015, we never had a meeting in the district. I only heard of the one at Waterberg and the belated anniversary. I also got to know there was a meeting in December but these were just rumours,” he said.
Kazondunge further said that he spoke to the mobiliser who also complained that she does not know what is happening.
“The mobiliser has hinted that she has also not been invited to these meetings. She is also in the dark,” he said. Mbumba said districts can organise their own party celebrations which do not need approval from his ofﬁce because they are not part of the party programme. He, however, said such events should be inclusive. Mbumba said it was unconstitutional for the Otjozondjupa region to hold a belated 57th anniversary party without inviting the Omatako District Treasurer and its information and mobilisation ofﬁcer.
“If it was at the regional level and the regional coordinator was informed, it would have been the duty of the regional coordinator to inform other leaders. If it was at district level whoever got the information or organised the event has the duty to tell other leaders. And no leader should be left out,” Mbumba said.
Hikopua also organised another meeting at Waterberg that was attended by Vincent Likoro and Hoze Riruako. Sources told The Villager that Likoro allegedly addressed the gathering at Waterberg after telling the people that he was Mbumba’s special advisor.
The sources also said that Likoro attended several regional meetings where he has introduced himself as a representative of President Hage Geingob. Hikopua conﬁrmed that both Likoro and Riruako were present at a gathering in Waterberg although they did not deliver any speeches.
“I attended the come together at Waterberg not a meeting. It is pure lies that Likoro and Riruako addressed people at Waterberg. “Likoro and Hoze came there where they found us but they did not address anybody. There was not even such a thing as people sitting close together. People were just standing around, eating their meat and having fun,” Hikopua said.
Mbumba said he heard about Likoro and Riruako addressing a meeting at Waterberg. “I heard that story and I am saying that in all our things for instance when people are elected to regional council or local authority and parliament and central committee, we brief them on the constitution and the party procedures and the constitution of the country.
“We never coach people for congresses. Those people must do their own elections within their regions or districts. No one has a mandate to go and coach people. If they are doing such meetings it’s their own and they are illegal,” Mbumba said.
Likoro denied that he addressed the Waterberg gathering and that he told the people he was representing Geingob. He also said he did not tell the people that he was Mbumba’s advisor. “A lot of things happen during congress year. I never addressed any meetings of comrade delegates. I did not. I was not speaking at any Swapo meeting at Otjozondjupa. I was not delegated by the President to speak to anyone in Otjozondjupa,” he said. Riruako said he was not present at any meeting at Waterberg last week.
“I am not appointed by the president and I am not appointed by the SG to address any meeting. I have never addressed any meeting and I have never attended one,” Riruako said.
Mbumba has since written to Likoro advising him not to misinform people that he was his advisor. In a letter dated 20 June 2017, Mbumba told Likoro that his involvement in the Swapo Party structures at different levels as his advisor should stop because it was causing confusion. Mbumba also said Likoro’s involvement in the party structures and the process of renewal of mandates within such structures is illegal and should be stopped.
The letter was copied to Geingob, Swapo Party secretary for legal affairs Albert Kawana as well as all regional coordinators and party wings and afﬁliate organisation. The Ofﬁce of the President has also discredited a text massage circulating on WhatsApp claiming that Geingob has assigned Likoro as the “National Strategic Advisor and technically mandated to establish Dr Hage Supporters focal persons in all the regions in order to consolidate our strategic agenda at section, branch, district and regional levels of governance”.
Presidential press secretary Albertus Aochamub dismissed the SMS as the work of demented people. “No, It is all false and the work of some demented people,” he said. Mbumba also told The Villager that the sms is not authentic although he had not seen it at the time when The Villager contacted him. “No, that SMS has not reached my ofﬁce. Nor do I think or know that the president can assign somebody like that.
The president has been telling us the time for campaigning has not come. Such a letter if it is true that it exists is either from imposters or just people who are trying to spoil the president’s name or the party’s name.
“We are selecting delegates to the congress that is all we are doing starting with the regions and the wings until the mother body. All those things are just rumours,” he said.