By TheNamibian/Shinovene Immanuel, 25 June 2014
The nationalisation rhetoric by Julius Malema, the leader of the South African Economic Freedom Fighters, has influenced the formation of a similar political party in Namibia.
The formation of the NEEF, allegedly a “sister political party” to EFF, is being spearheaded by former Swapo and CoD member Epafras Mukwiilongo, who has styled himself as the “commander in chief”.
Mukwiilongo and his right hand man Kalimbo Iipumbu, who is the second commander in chief, recently arrived from South Africa where they claim to have held talks with EFF.
The duo also said they have been promised millions of dollars by an anti-homosexual organisation for starting the party.
Although details about the leadership are sketchy, the founders who claimed links to Malema, said their party is a “radical left” political, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist movement.
They declined to provide more details. However, a passenger who was on the same flight with them told The Namibian yesterday that she saw Malema at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg before they left for Windhoek.
Efforts to get comment from EFF to confirm the new alliance were not successful yesterday.
The NEFF leadership said they held a meeting two weeks ago at Oshakati where they resolved to form the party and that the full leadership of the party will be elected later this year.
They have set their eyes on the upcoming elections and are planning to register their party because they are confident of getting the required number of supporters.
While they could not say how many members they have so far, the two said they have poached members from several political parties, including Swapo.
Mukwiilongo, a businessman from Omusati and a former Swapo member, who also crossed the floor to CoD once, told reporters that the formation of the party is the birth of a giant that will fight for economic freedom.
He accused the Swapo-led government of conforming to “capitalist interest” at the expense of the citizens. “Our government is busy empowering Chinese and Indians to destroy local businesspeople.”
Mukwiilongo claimed that the new party will fight for economic freedom of the people by changing laws that are not benefitting the people.
“We are a very rich country that can take care of itself if the government ensures industrialisation and processing of our minerals in Namibia,” Mukwiilongo said.
On the funding, Mukwiilongo said he was in Uganda last week where they acquired N$2,7 million from international anti-homosexual organisations.
The NEFF, whose target group includes the youth, is against homosexuality, and accuses certain political parties of having homosexual candidates.
“Homosexuality in our country and culture is a tambo (sic) and its foreign,” Mukwiilongo said. “Namibia is a country which respects culture. Our freedom was not to liberate homosexuality but to celebrate and enjoy people in our country.”
He blamed the West for influencing governments. “Today, the imperialists are manipulating/influencing our nation through homosexual practices. The NEFF is committed to uniting all Namibians to root out this evil practice. Namibia will never be ruled by homosexuals,” he said.
The NEFF leadership was welcomed at the airport by about 25 people, mostly young people.
The Namibian asked one of the young NEFF supporters at the airport which party she supported, and she said: “Swapo.”
SPYL spokesperson Job Amupanda said the claims of the alliance by the new party are a hoax.
“It’s a new development. We are still absorbing the news but we don’t want to give prominence to this issue. We remain unmoved and we are the only legitimate organisation for young people in this country. People are trying to be adventurous. This thing is just a hoax, we are unconcerned,” he said.
Asked about the effects to their relationship with Malema who they glorify on social networks, Amupanda said there is no formal relationship between SPYL and EFF.
Who Are They?
EPAFRAS Mukwiilongo is a businessman from the north and owns the Mokasa business outlets at Oshakati and Oshikuku. He was a member of Swapo, then joined the Congress of Democrats, and returned to Swapo. He was a member of the CoD national executive commit- tee in 2004. In 2008, he formed part of the Save the Local Business Community, an organisation that was outraged by what they considered unfair competition from Chinese and Indian traders.
KALIMBO Iipumbu is a former CoD leader, who was allegedly suspended in 2008 after the party accused him of not accounting for funds received from the National Youth Council. His disciplinary hearing did not materialise and the period for charging him lapsed. He was ranked 17th on CoD’s party list before the 2009 elections.