50-50 Could Rock Swapo Central Committee Boat

THE discussion around the 5050 gender representation at all structures of Swapo is expected to spark fireworks this weekend when the party holds its first Central Committee (CC) meeting for this year.

The Namibian has learned that a section of the party’s elders was still skeptical about how the system can be practically implemented. This is despite the party, last year, making it their constitutional requirement that all structures have 5050 representation.

The CC is expected to decide mainly on when to hold the party’s electoral college that will elect candidates to the party list for the National Assembly elections. However, a motion to delay the implementation of the zebra-list system is expected to be introduced from the floor during the CC meeting.

Party sources expect the discussion to be heated with a section of the CC, especially women, expected to oppose the motion.

A senior party source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the 5050 representation was adopted by Congress, thus making it significant party policy, which cannot be scraped by a mere motion from the CC floor.

Those who want it delayed argue that the party still needs to come up with modalities around the implementation of the 5050 strategy.

They also maintain that even though the party’s congress decided that the secretary general position will be a full-time job, it was delayed for several years before it was implemented.

“Remember President (Hifikepunye) Pohamba was the SG when the decision was taken that the position would be full-time but it took years before it was implemented. We needed to be ready for it as a party,” one senior party member said.

Nevertheless, one of those who are pushing for the implementation said: “It is a congress resolution, period. They (those opposed) were sleeping at the congress. They should have raised their concerns there but instead opted to concentrate on the race for vice president. That’s now water under the bridge.”

Last month, Swapo secretary general Nangolo Mbumba was quoted in the media, admitting that the party had not yet found a formula on how to implement the quota system. Swapo vice president and Prime Minister Hage Geingob was also quoted, stating that the implementation of the policy would disaantage male politicians in the party.

The prime minister at the time said the quota will please women and annoy men, and that there was a misunderstanding of the 5050 concept because some women think they will just walk into positions.

“Therefore, everyone, male or female, must be democratically elected, no one must be wheel-barrowed into positions. I can assure you that it is not the case. Women must fight and sacrifice as much as men. We cannot have a list of women and one of men and take one from each list until we get the required number. If we do that, you will have a situation where the lady topping the female list makes it while the man at position 10 on the male list does not make it even if he has more votes than the lady topping the female list. This will not work, the ones with the most votes must have the nod,” Geingob was quoted saying.

Sources also added that some leaders intend to find loopholes in order to postpone the implementation of the policy.

Mbumba, yesterday, refused to shed light on the meeting’s agenda but confirmed that the meeting will start on Friday. He said the agenda is decided by the CC members and the party will make public what the CC discussed afterwards.

The CC meeting is considered to be long overdue after being postponed on three occasions for technical reasons. Mbumba said the party wanted to have the full CC membership present at such a meeting and some key leaders, including the President, had tight schedules this year.

Source : The Namibian