By: Justicia Shipena
Swapo party veteran politician Jerry Ekandjo’s fate to contest for the party’s vice president position now lies in the hands of the central committee.
This follows after Ekandjo took the legal route to battle his exclusion from the nominee list of VP candidates at the upcoming elective congress.
The congress, which will take place in November this year, will elect the new leadership of the party and eventually the candidate running for the presidency in the upcoming 2024 elections.
In letters dated 20 September 2022, Ekandjo’s lawyers, Metcalfe Beukes Attorneys and Swapo lawyers Murorua Kurtz Kasper Inc agreed for the matter to be referred to the party’s central committee.
Ekandjo’s lawyers, Metcalfe Beukes, said to resolve the matter amicably, Ekandjo agreed that it be referred to the central committee for consideration and decision with speed and alacrity.
“It is, without prejudice, proposed that the matter be remitted to the Central Committee for its consideration and decision on/before 12h00 on 3 October 2022,” said the lawyers.
They added that failure to receive a timeous response would result in the institution of litigation.
Previously, Ekandjo threatened to sue the party for his exclusion in the VP race.
Ekandjo, who unsuccessfully stood as a Swapo vice presidential candidate in elections in 2012 and 2017, also failed to make it to this year’s list when the party’s central committee announced the final names of candidates for the position.
However, Ekandjo, through his legal representation, said he would not campaign until the central committee has made a decision.
“This obviously sets his campaign back by three weeks whilst other vice presidential candidates campaign freely, and he suffers severe prejudice in not being able to campaign,” the letter reads.
The lawyers further said Swapos ignored that Frans Kapofi withdrew as one of the two identified candidates for the position, adding that Ekandjo received sufficient votes to replace Kapofi on the candidates’ list.
Last week, Kapofi, minutes before the Swapo party’s inter and intra-campaign launch, dropped the ball in the court and quit the race.
“Comrade Ekandjo has never been duly eliminated, but given the aforesaid supervening facts and law, he was unduly eliminated and continues to suffer severe prejudice.”
Ekandjo claims that the election for candidates for the position of VP was not conducted following the 5 September 2020 amended constitution of the party.
“Your client, however, then attempts to wallpaper and obfuscate this glaring irregularity and deviation from its constitution by invoking the transitional provisions set out like some afterthought in its amended constitution,” the letter further reads.
In this vein, on the instructions of Ekandjo, the lawyers said Swapo’s interpretation of its constitution creates an inherent perception of discrimination amongst its party members.
Meanwhile, Swapo, through its lawyers Murorua Kurtz Kasper Inc, denied any constitutional transgression concerning the elimination of election for candidates.
“The Swapo party posits that comrade Ekandjo’s complaint is a consequence of genuine interpretive oversight consequent upon disregard of the transitional provisions of the amended (2020) constitution, which transitional provisions had they been taken
into consideration banishes the complaint raised.”
Murorua Kurtz Kasper Inc said it appears from the complaint heading that Ekandjo is keenly aware of the party’s rules and procedures for the election of party office-bearers.
“It is needless that we add that the logical import of the aforementioned transitional provisions is that the impugned Comrades are exculpated from the aforesaid 2020 provision requiring ten (10) year membership of the central committee and did therefore qualify for nomination for the position.”
In addition, in its letter to Ekandjo’s lawyers, the party said the Swapo party elimination election process was constitutionally compliant and administratively fair.
“Hence the Swapo is constrained not to accede to comrade Ekandjo’s complaint as framed,” it said.
The party also acknowledged Ekandjo’s decision not to commence campaigning until authorised by the committee.
“To this end, Comrade Ekandjo, despite having participated in the electoral contest without any protest, duly eliminated and suffering no prejudice, remains at liberty to submit his case to the Central Committee for its consideration.”