By: Kelvin Chiringa
An elaborate plan to remove Bernadus Swartbooi as party leader is understood to be currently unfolding in a palace coup meant to realign the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) into an effectively Nama-led party.
High placed party insiders have confided in The Villager that the plot has been hatched by nine party members led by Floris Fleermuys, an employee at Namfisa and brother to Florette Nakusera, a macro-economist at the Bank of Namibia.
Part of the coup masterminds is said to be the party’s ex-secretary general Edson Isaaks, former and resigned Mariental mayor Adam Kuhlman and his then-personal assistant, Anwaar Thomas, who also is Fleermuys’ cousin.
According to party insiders, Hanse Hendricks, an ex-office administrator at LPM, the now-resigned founding member Ziggy “Sixtus” Isaaks, an officer staffer Paul Thomas, ex-regional party commissar Ivan Josob and Swartbooi’s distant relative Richard Swartbooi are in the plot.
“The idea is to have a Nama party. The thinking is that Swartbooi destroyed the Namas by bringing in non-Nama people into positions,” said a source that refused to be identified for fear of retribution.
The plan is to have Swartbooi removed by 2024, including his second in command, Henny Seibeb. According to details from the source, the coup plotters have also received the blessing and support of Swartbooi’s elder sister, Maureen Swartbooi.
“Fleermuys is also unhappy because Swartbooi is said to have done little to help his sister, Florette, get the deputy governor position at Namibia’s bank. But what is interesting is that even Edson, the former SG, also refused to assist him.
“So, you can see how they are also divided? He called Swartbooi and told him that let Floris feel the pain. Geingob called a meeting on 21 December about Florette, but her family then demanded that she be made an ambassador, which Geingob declined,” said the source.
Fleermuys, who is said not to be a card-carrying member, is also accused of undermining an LPM company !Guruchab (Pty) Ltd in favour of his own to get land in the south.
He led a technical committee that later got disbanded into a policy unit and effectively placed in the hands of Seibeb, a move which is said to have infuriated him, said the source.
“Even the naming of the party company was a matter of concern, giving it a Nama name. These guys wanted to put CEOs in local authorities to get tenders.”
But Fleermuys has denied the allegations against him, saying that he was rather concerned that his family was being brought into this.
“I am not involved in any of those party politics staff. They should do their own things. I do not know why they are calling me into this. This is just going too far. I am not involved. Why would I even think about that? I don’t even have companies that do tenders,” he said.
ACC Goes After Kuhlman In Fish-Theft Case
In the meantime, the now-resigned Mariental LPM mayor, Kuhlman, is facing a possible arrest in a case referred to the ACC in which he is accused of stealing boxes of Novanam fish meant to the poor.
According to party insiders, the matter was brought to the attention of Swartbooi and caused serious concern.
According to documents seen by The Villager, on 15 March 2022, senior ACC investigator Petros Kangameni wrote to the Mariental municipality’s Paul Nghiwilepo informing him that the ACC’s head of investigation and prosecutions had taken various decisions.
“As per the complaint received of a fish donation made to your institution which was intended to feed the old age at your town during December 2021 and alleged to have been used. I discussed the matter with my head of investigations and prosecutions, and the following were reached:
“The matter represents a straightforward theft case. That it should be reported to the police as such. Try and obtain all necessary proof, i.e. inventory list from NovaNam, delivery note, and verify the correctness of the amount of boxes received and what is in stock/record now. I hope the listed items would enhance your office inquiries and report it to the local police station in Mariental,” said senior ACC investigator, Kangameni.
According to sources inside LPM, Kuhlman taught Fleermuys at secondary school, and they both studied in the United States at the tertiary level.
The sources took a decision to fire his PA, Thomas, which prompted him to resign from the party.
“The PA was his pillar. He jumped the ship. He had said that if my PA is to be fired, I will go. Kuhlman plotted against the party leadership, and he thought he would be popular,” said the source.