Swapo’s democracy before the testBy: AMY SMITH
THE nomination of Swapo’s vice president, Hage Geingob, and the party’s secretary general, Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, by the Politburo has not come as a surprise to political analysts, but Prime Minister Nahas Angula’s decision not to stand is found interesting.
At the same time analysts are of the opinion that more drama could be expected within the ruling party, but that democracy would triumph in the end.
However, the political analysts are cautious on who to put their money on in the race for the prospective successor to President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
Professor Bill Lindeke at the Institute for Public Policy Research told The Namibian: “It is interesting that [Angula] withdrew. However, the two names, [Geingob and Ithana] are what we have been expecting. I think Minister Jerry Ekandjo will most likely be the third candidate or possibly someone we have not thought about. It is now the Central Committee’s turn to nominate, but one thing is certain, more drama is expected.”
Referring to Geingob’s nomination of Nangolo Mbumba for the position of secretary general (presently serving as deputy secretary general), Lindeke said that Mbumba will now have a choice to step up to that position if elected, or resign.
Back when Pohamba was secretary general, Swapo passed a resolution to make the position a full-time job.
But Ithana has diplomatically avoided moving full-time to the head office.
With regard to the nomination of Omaheke governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua as deputy secretary general, Lindeke regards her a new face who has proven to be reasonably competent as governor.
“We don’t know what strengths she could bring to the role [of deputy secretary general], but Ithana’s nomination of her is a good attempt to maintain a gender balance in the Swapo ranks,” he said.
She will compete against Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, nominated by Geingob, for that position.
The executive director of the Institute of Public Policy Research, Graham Hopwood, said the two candidates are “no surprise”, but the possibility of a third ‘surprise’ candidate could open a freeway for the central committee to nominate a candidate.
“It is now up to democracy to decide,” he said.
He added that the announcement of candidates is good news, as the candidates are now able to campaign openly.
Hopwood said he did not have a favourite to walk away as winner, adding that both have a good chance of winning as they have a strong record in the party.