Re-elected Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa says her office will adopt a business unusual approach, with a greater focus on service delivery this time around.
Shaningwa soundly defeated Oshikoto Swapo coordinator Armas Amukwiyu for the ruling party’s secretary general position at the just ended congress. It was the second time that Shaningwa won against Amukwiyu for the SG position.
Shaningwa also made history by becoming the first Swapo leader to be re-elected as its secretary general.
“All the powers have been given to the secretary general and this is going to be business unusual,” a confident Shaningwa remarked late yesterday afternoon on the sidelines of the Swapo congress.
“We are going to make sure that we toe the line of the party. We have been updated with decisions from the national policy conference of the party whereby the powers have been given to the party, and moreso, to the secretary general. So, if the people are going to see me acting tougher is not because of Sophia Shaningwa but because of the responsibilities that have been given to me to see to it that the manifesto of Swapo party is being implemented with benefits from government, when the budget accommodates, should benefit all Namibians.”
Shaningwa and the ruling party have come under heavy criticism over the past years following the performance of Swapo in the general elections in 2019 as well as the 2020 regional council and local authority elections where the party lost some ground in key constituencies.
Shaningwa admitted it has not all been rosy.
“There were times when many people did not want to be associated with the party. I remember that sometimes people used to refer to it as the “Sophia Party”. So, I defended my party. And I think my re-election is not by mistake. The people know that is what they had to do. I deserve it. Why not?”
Shaningwa also reflected on the tedious campaign trial where she ran along eventual vice presidency race winner Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah. The international relations minister retained her role after seeing off Prime Minister Saara Kuugongwelwa-Amadhila and environment minister Pohamba Shifeta. For Shaningwa, their convincing win at congress is all about the trust bestowed upon them by congress delegates.
“I should tell you that these people followed us voluntarily and went with us all over, voluntarily. They sacrificed their energy and resources. This victory is a victory of the people. It is not our victory. This victory belongs to the people. For us this was a very big statement that the Namibian people have done to express themselves and to tell us what they expect from us,” she said.