Home affairs minister and rival contestant for the position of vice president Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana has shaken off criticism that she is playing the politics of name-calling instead of addressing pressing matters.
The Villager followed up with Iivula-Ithana to find out more about the comments she made on 4 November at Oshakati Stadium, during the Team Swapo’s five star rally where they launched the campaign ahead of the elective elections end of this month.
In her speech she said the Swapo acting president, Hage Geingob, should not accuse Team Swapo of being a tribal group because he has Aawambo blood.
Talking to The Villager in a telephonic interview yesterday, Iivual-Ithana said it is not in her culture to play the man.
“Actually, I was appealing to the candidates wherever they are not to play the man, but the ball. I went farther to explain the insults that were showered on Team Swapo elsewhere about us being a group of tribalists and (that) we suffered from the Savimbi Syndrome,” she said.
She added that she saw it incumbent upon herself to push off the “hatred behind the insinuation of Wambos being now tribalist and all these kind of things”.
“I was not playing the man,” she countered.
She said the campaign trail is so far so good and that her campaign message continues to resonate with those giving her their ears.
“We are not giving them a message that they do not know. These people, whom we are seeing, are even educating us more in seeing the rot going on in the party.
“They thought all of us were in agreement with what was going on. They were actually angry with everybody in the leadership,” she said.
Another Team Swapo delegate vying for the position of the secretary general, Armas Amukwiyu, also said they were not tribal and that they were nominated.
Amukwiyu told The Villager on Sunday soon after the star rally that just because his team has only one non-Oshiwambo does not mean it is tribal.
“Just forget about those so-called tribalism remarks and all that. This is a team of Swapo leaders. We don’t consider tribes. When the nominations were done, the criteria of Swapo (were) very clear.
“We don’t nominate people based on their tribal origins. The politburo and the Central Committee are the only two bodies that have the constitutional right to nominate and they nominated. Nominations were open to each and everybody. What I remember (is) both Oshiwambo and non Oshiwambo (were included), the issue of Oshiwambo or that is immaterial,” he told the Villager.
He said those talking about Team Swapo being tribalist have a deliberate agenda and that they feel threatened and may be insecure because of the presence of the comrades who were nominated by the Central Committee.
He said his campaign message was “getting into the minds of the people and reawakening the delegates that indeed they have a constitutional right to exercise their democratic right without any fear of intimidation from anybody”.
“To me (the campaign) is really going well. It’s like the flow of the sea, you can’t stop it. I am ready, we are ready for congress. If congress comes for instance tomorrow, we are walking in there knowing that we shall emerge victorious,” he added with exuberance.