In a ‘do as say, not as I do’ scenario, Swapo is under fire for allegedly breaking state of emergency regulations prohibiting large gatherings during the current lockdown.
This comes after two Swapo districts held elective conferences to nominate aspiring candidates for regional and local authority elections.
The conferences were held at a time security forces had pounced on members of the public last week over the same breach. Swapo is the ruling party under the current president Hage Geingob.
Sadly in what has been seen as an impartial enforcement of the law, members of the public were arrested and charged for attending social events and funerals in contravention of Covid-19 regulations. On Saturday, the police at Keetmanshoop blocked Landless People’s Movement (LPM) members from entering the cemetery where the late LPM councillor Maxie Minnaar was buried. Two weeks ago, law enforcers ordered mourners at a memorial service of an employee of the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation, Rebbeca Elifas to adhere to the regulation requiring not more than 10 persons in accordance with the Covid-19 control measures.
Eye witnesses in attendence said this happened when the pastor was about to start the sermon. Members of the public view this as preferential treatment to Swapo, as the party keeps on convening meetings where more than 10 people attend but no arrests are made. The party’s conferences were conducted at Moses //Garoëb and Samora Machel constituencies to choose candidates for the upcoming elections.
About 44 party members attended the conference at Moses //Garoëb, while 28 attended the Samora Machel constituency meeting where some senior government and party officials were in attendance. Sources revealed.
Deputy minister of information and communication technology Emma Theofelus and the party’s coordinator for Khomas region Elliot Mbako reportedly attended the Samora Machel constituency meeting.
President Hage Geingob imposed an 8pm to 5am curfew, on 12 August, requiring all people in Khomas and Erongo to be in their homes during that time.The regulation also states that during this period all public gatherings are prohibited, except where a gathering is for persons attending a funeral or meetings of a governmental institution at national, regional and local levels or the Cabinet or the parliament.
In contravention of the set Covid-19 regulations, both meetings are believed to have adjourned after the curfew imposed time for the region. Despite sending invitations for the meeting, Samora Machel constituency information secretary Sylvia Kandanga-Shetekela denied that the meeting took place, contrary to some party leaders who confirmed having attended the meeting. “I have no idea. We didn’t have a meeting. Where did you get the information from? I did not send the invitation, bye,” she said.
The party district coordinator Nestor Kalola, however, confirmed the meeting, but denied that it was in contravention of the Covid-19 regulation as the people were allegedly divided into groups of 10 and they also adhered to social distancing. Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa was not reachable for comment, while Mbako confirmed that meetings were done but that said the conferences were not in contravention with the law and that people who are complaining are those that were not nominated.
“They are coming to the newspapers because they lost. Why did they not lodge those complaints before the conference? Police came at Windhoek West district but we explained to them how we were doing the nominations and they went. “People were divided into groups of seven. We conducted our meetings according to the regulations. ECN is forcing us to submit the names of the candidates,” he said. Contacted for comment, police inspector general Sebastian Ndeitunga said the police should be kept out of politics, as the organisation is responsible to enforce the law. “Nobody reported those gatherings to the police. Please tell those people to keep politics away from the police. They want to draw police in their frustration and political squabbles. We are here to protect everybody,” he said. Khomas regional commander deputy commissioner Joseph Shikongo also said that he was not aware of Swapo meetings.. This is not the first time Swapo is accused of violating Covid-19 related regulations. Sometime in April this year Swapo is alleged to have contravened lockdown regulations when more than 10 party leaders are said to convened for the party’s 60th birthday celebrations in Windhoek where president Hage Geingob officiated.
Liberty Pazvakawambwa SADC News