WHEN the ruling Swapo Party elected its new leadership at its 2017 congress, both the winning and the losing candidates made conciliatory statements and the delegates departed the venue of the congress hoping that the acrimonious struggle between the so-called “Team Swapo” and “Team Harambee” was something of the past.
In reality, the struggle continues.
The latest example of this is the ongoing trading of accusations between veteran Swapo politician and former presidential aspirant Nahas Angula, and Sigo Amunyela, a Nam-Mic Financial Solutions official who is a well-known Hage Geingob loyalist and self-identified “Swapo foot soldier”.
It all started a few months ago when Angula granted an interview to a local radio station, accusing the current Swapo leadership of being illegitimate because 2017 congress delegates were allegedly bribed with Fishrot money.
Amunyela reacted by uploading an audio clip on social media platforms demanding that Angula [and Pendukeni Ivula-Ithana] apologize for forcing late Hidipo Hamutenya out of Swapo and for deceiving him to establish the Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP).
He accused Angula of being a tribalist who wants to destroy Swapo and cause a civil war.
Angula is now threatening to drag Amunyela to court for defamation of character.
On 2 October, Angula’s lawyer, Nixon Marcus of the Public Law Office, addressed a letter to Amunyela demanding a retraction of his “false and defamatory” utterances and an unreserved apology to restore Angula’s “good name”.
Amunyela, who was given until 7 October to apologize, responded in writing on 6 October denying any wrongdoing and reaffirming his earlier statements.
According to him, the audio recording was not meant to tarnish Angula’s name. Rather, the letter from Angula’s lawyer constitutes political intimidation meant to silence him “on matters of public interest”, he says.
He says that what he said in the audio does not constitute a vitriolic attack on the character of Angula; had no intention of disseminating falsehoods nor to inflict maximum pain and tarnish his good name.
“I am of the opinion that such pain, if indeed any, is self-inflicted,” he said.
Amunyela says that Angula is currently “a principal member and campaigner of Team Swapo” which is threatening to tear Swapo apart and threatening to plunge Namibia into deadly civil strife.