WINDHOEK: Minister of Presidential Affairs Albert Kawana has rubbished reports that President Hifikepunye Pohamba met with retired Generals over their nomination as delegates and candidates to the Congress by the Swapo-Party Youth League (SPYL).
The SPYL recently announced that they nominated retired Lieutenant-General Solomon Hawala, Lieutenant-General Martin Shalli and Major-General Peter Nambundunga to represent the youth at the Swapo-Party Central Committee meeting slated for Friday.
But the three retired Generals have since withdrawn their candidature to the upcoming party congress.
“At no point did the President invite or meet with the three retired Generals regarding their nomination as delegates and candidates to the Congress by the Swapo Party Youth League, nor did the President meet with those who nominated them,” Kawana said in a statement issued by State House on Thursday.
Kawana was reacting to a report published in local English daily The Namibian on Wednesday under the headline ‘Swapo at Crossroads’ with the sub-head ‘Generals Withdraw Under Pressure’.
It is alleged that the President had met with the retired Generals at State House on Monday, where he requested them to withdraw as delegates and candidates to the forthcoming Swapo-Party Congress.
It is also stated that the President is said to have made the request to save him embarrassment since the retired Generals are still perceived to be under his command.
“The President did not make any statement or any promise to the retired Generals as alleged in the print media. The relationship between the President as Commander-in-Chief of the Namibian Defence Force, including the retired Generals, is very healthy,” Kawana said.
“We fully respect and abide by the provisions of the Constitution of the country, which guarantees the fundamental rights of all Namibians, including the right to freedom of expression,” he said.
The Presidential Affairs Minister added that there are “officials in the Office of the President from whom correct information and facts could be obtained as to whether or not the purported meeting between the President and the retired Generals had taken place”, and stated “unfortunately, some newspapers deliberately chose to fabricate a story that has no factual basis whatsoever”.
“While there appears to be excitement regarding the forthcoming Congress of the Swapo-Party especially by the print media, all media houses are advised to verify their facts. To spread untruths that can cause uneasiness in our peaceful country should be avoided at all cost. We appeal to all patriotic Namibians to continue with the promotion of peace, harmony and stability in our country. We should continue to promote the motto of One Namibia, One Nation,” he said.