THE fight is on for the vacant seat of Ondangwa Urban constituency councilor in the Oshana region.
When President Hage Geingob earlier this year appointed constituency councilor Elia Erimari as the new the Governor of Oshana, he opened the door for a by-election that has now attracted the interest of four political parties and an independent candidate.
The ruling Swapo party has fielded former Ondangwa mayor Ronny Negonga as its candidate and the party is using its heavy guns to ensure it retains the constituency.
The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM, former DTA) has chosen its sole Ondangwa local authority councilor Johannes Martin as its candidate for the vacant position.
The Congress of Democrats (CoD) and the All People’s Party (APP) have Mandume Tuhafeni and Vincent Ndjoba as their respective candidates.
However, it is independent candidate Angelina Immanuel who has become the centre of attentions and who has turned out to be the real thorn in the flesh of the ruling party.
The 27-year-old teacher has emerged from nowhere to steal the limelight. She has a number of vocal supporters including a sizable number of Affirmative Repositioning (AR) members.
Addressing a Swapo rally at Omashaka in Ondangwa on Saturday, Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila warned party members against supporting or voting an independent candidate.
Immanuel reacted by writing an open letter accusing Kuugongelwa-Amadhila of coming to Omashaka “to attack me” instead of talking about what Government plans to do develop Ondangwa as a town and as a constituency.
Kuugongelwa-Amadhila’s response came fast, dismissing Immanuel’s claim that she attacked her or that her speech focused exclusively on Immanuel instead of outlining government policies.
The Prime Minister said that she did not attack Immanuel but merely outlined party rules and procedures regarding elections, pointing out that party members have to vote for their own party’s candidates.
She also pointed out that in her speech she spoke about achievements of the party and the policies put in place by government to address “the remaining challenges” facing the country.
“Mobilization of members to throw their support behind their own party’s candidate is a normal way of campaigning all over the world,” said Kuugongelwa-Amadhila in a letter now circulating on social media.
The Ondangwa Urban by-election is scheduled to take place on 15 June.