by Sakeus Iikela
THE ruling party Swapo on Friday expelled dentist-turned-politician Panduleni Itula, who contested last year’s presidential election as an independent candidate, for allegedly working with “counter-revolutionary forces” to destroy and weaken the organisation.
Itula, who until his expulsion was a Swapo member, received 29% of the votes and lost the election to Swapo candidate Hage Geingob who garnered 56% of the votes.
Itula has since unsuccessfully challenged the outcome of that election in the Supreme Court.
His expulsion, according to a letter by Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa dated 19 March 2020, was decided at a politburo meeting on Thursday last week.
According to Shaningwa’s letter, the politburo meeting on Thursday concluded that Itula contravened Article 10 of the party’s constitution and made himself guilty in terms of the Swapo party code of conduct and disciplinary procedures.
Itula is accused of violating Swapo’s constitution by allegedly supporting rival parties that were in competition with the ruling party during last year’s presidential and National Assembly elections.
Shaningwa said Itula behaved in a way that provoked and caused “division in or the break down of the party’s unity”.
She added that Itula also made himself guilty of disruptive behaviour by not accepting the party’s choice of Geingob as its sole candidate in the 2019 presidential election, and also noted that as an independent candidate, he had campaigned against the party and shared a platform with other political parties opposed to Swapo.
“Following your registration as an independent presidential candidate, you embarked on an election campaign where in some cases, you shared a platform with members of the opposition political parties who are manifestly working against the interest of the party’s its presidential candidate.
“In this manner, you gave an impression that you support opposition political parties against the interests of the party. Indeed, this conclusion is supported by the fact that some of those opposition political parties endorsed your candidature,” Shaningwa’s letter reads.
Shaningwa added that Itula continuously disobeyed, disregarded and made “wilful default in carrying out and complying with the party’s resolutions and directives”.
“You continued with your disruptive behaviour by refusing to accept the communication from the party aimed at giving you a fair hearing by virtue of your disruptive conduct, you are deemed to have been found guilty of misconduct as charged,” Shaningwa’s letter reads.
Shaningwa reminded Itula that in terms of the Swapo constitution, he can appeal against the decision to expel him to the party’s central committee within 14 days.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Itula confirmed receiving the letter but said he has not taken time to read it.
“I have not read the letter. I can confirm acknowledging receipt of the letter. If I come to read the letter and consider it worth reading or important, I will then respond,” Itula said.