by Tileni Mongudhi and Mathias Haufiku

THE ruling party’s disciplinary committee (DC) says it cannot take action against Dr Panduleni Itula for breaking traditional party norms, unless party members lodge a complaint.

While the party’s campaign trail has seemingly been distracted by Itula, many have called on the party to discipline him for challenging the party’s presidential candidate Hage Geingob at the upcoming polls as an independent candidate.

“The committee cannot be the referee and player at the same time. But it seems party members do not understand the modus operandi of this committee, as many expect them to take action on any matter that is seen as being against the values of the party’s constitution,” said a senior official at the party’s headquarters.

The Mathias Kashindi-led committee says its hands are tied as far as dealing with dissenting party members is concerned because no case has been brought before them.

“If you apply the rules of natural justice, the committee cannot be the initiator. It only plays a role when it comes to presiding over matters brought before the committee. Hence, there is currently no matter brought before the committee to preside and decide on,” Kashindi told The Namibian yesterday.

The committee is composed of legal brains in the form of chairperson Kashindi, deputy chairperson Yvonne Dausab, Ludwina Shapwa, Elias Manga, Johanna Kandjimi and Joshua Kaumbi.

The party is now ruing its decision not to discuss the proposed amendments to its constitution at the 2012 congress. At present, the party’s constitution is silent on independent candidates.

Senior figures at the time proposed amendments that would enable the party to expel members who run as independent candidates, and those who form associations that directly challenge the party.

It comes as a surprise to many that the party’s leadership opted to issue a press release condemning Itula for contesting against Geingob, without reporting the case to the disciplinary committee to look into the matter.

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*This article was first published on 31 October 2019

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