Murmurs Over Swapo Branch Election

A Swapo branch election held at Choi, some 120 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo, left some delegates dumbfounded by what they say was an unfair process of electing branch leaders on Friday.

They branch election was overseen by Kongola constituency councillor David Muluti instead of the district Swapo coordinator Boniface Subulwa.

The exercise, which has been on-going, is meant to restructure Swapo branches in Kongola district.

According to delegates, who have since called for the nullification of the result and an immediate re-election, they were compelled to close their eyes when requested to put up their hands in favour of their preferred candidates, a process some felt was unfair as Muluti, who presided over the election together with an assistant, was the only one with his eyes open and therefore he could easily have rigged the outcome by mentioning any number he deemed fit.

One of the sources that formed part of the meeting lamented the whole process saying the secret ballot process was the most favourable process as per the Swapo constitution.

“The district coordinator was supposed to conduct the election not the councillor. After the proposal of names, we were told to close our eyes as he counted. How do we know the real results if our eyes are closed and he is the only one who can see?” asked a source who attended the disputed election.

Another source – who also preferred anonymity for fear of possible reprisals – noted that Muluti controlled the entire meeting and also questioned why the process of closing eyes had to be used when it clearly undermined the credibility of the elections. “In Swapo, we know that it was supposed to be the ballot process or if he preferred the showing of hands, we were not supposed to be told to close our eyes. We want this election to be done again in a transparent manner. How do you expect the results to be fair if you close your eyes?” queried another source.

Contacted for comment, Swapo Kongola district coordinator Boniface Subulwa demanded to know from whom this information came and hung up the phone in anger when this reporter refused to reveal his sources.

Swapo regional coordinator, Linus Mafale however noted that he has not yet received a report regarding the restructuring process but affirmed that the secret ballot process is what applies in Swapo.

“I have not yet received any report, so I don’t know what transpired there but people were told to follow the Swapo constitution. It is clear that in Swapo we use the secret ballot process,” said Mafale. Kongola constituency councillor David Muluti denied ever chairing the meeting or compelling delegates to close their eyes stating that his role was to count people who had raised their hands in favour of their preferred candidates.

“People with concerns should approach the Swapo district office. I was only helping out with counting and the meeting was chaired by the district coordinator. People that were chosen had support already,” he said, justifying the closed-eye ballot.

Similar elections were conducted at Omega, Chetto, Masambo and Sikaunga and it is not clear whether similar complaints were received.

Source : New Era