Nandi-Ndaitwah’s faction to push congress to 2025

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah
… NNN expected to be named as presidential candidate without extraordinary congress

Ruling party lawyers say Swapo’s constitution does not compel the party to hold an extraordinary congress within three months after the death of a president – an interpretation that will pave the way for Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to become the ruling party’s presidential candidate.

This legal interpretation is set to be the centre of discussions when ruling party leaders convene for the central committee (CC) meeting in Windhoek tomorrow, where Swapo’s leadership future will be decided.

Politically, it will be a battle between Nandi-Ndaitwah’s faction and a faction that wants to challenge for the throne of the party.

Nandi-Ndaitwah’s faction is convinced by the version of legal opinion from lawyers that the constitution does not explicitly state that a congress should be held in three months.

Party rivals, however, accused them of using a loophole in Swapo’s constitution to benefit Nandi-Ndaitwah’s presidential ambitions.

The loophole centres around two words, “called” and “held”.

The Swapo constitution says an extraordinary congress shall be called by the CC within three months.

However, intepretation by legal advisers note that the constitution does not say the congress should be held within three months of a president’s death.

Swapo leaders will tomorrow present this scenario to the CC, which is dominated by Nandi-Ndaitwah’s faction.

Many believe this weekend’s CC will simply announce the date of the next ordinary congress and endorse Nandi-Ndaitwah as Swapo’s presidential candidate.

The constitution says: “In such an event, the vice president shall exercise all the powers, duties and functions of the president pending the election of the president at the ordinary congress.”

Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa yesterday told The Namibian tomorrow’s CC meeting will be the most important meeting since president Hage Geingob’s death.

“The CC is called to engage and take off as a collective, from where our president left it. We shall discuss as a house and decide the best way forward for our party within the confines of our constitution and rules and procedures.”

Shaningwa said the decision to be taken tomorrow will be in the interest of Swapo.

“As secretary general, I believe and have trust … and have high hopes that we shall conclude the CC on Saturday in the best interest of our party and its existence.”

On whether Swapo is violating the constitution with the possibility of postponing the extraordinary congress and endorsing Nandi-Ndaitwah, Shaningwa said: “Allow me not to preempt the outcome of the meeting, as I want CC members to discuss our party issues as they always do.

“We are the Swapo party today because Swapo has always prevailed through difficult situations.”

Kaire Mbuende


Nandi-Ndaitwah was last week endorsed by Swapo’s administrative body, the politburo, which has since referred the decision for approval to the CC.

“The congress is of course over. That process is over. The presidential candidate at the time was of course obvious. Now a decision to reaffirm will have to be made. I don’t want to talk about anything that has not been made public. We are waiting for the CC meeting to decide on the way forward,” Kaire Mbuende, ex-campaign manager for Nandi-Ndaitwah said this week.

The CC is expected to base its decision on Geingob’s alleged commitment to step down as Swapo president and hand over the reins to Nandi-Ndaitwah in 2025.

This would have been similar to when former Swapo president Hifikepunye Pohamba resigned and handed over the reins to Geingob without any extraordinary congress.

Speculation is rife that prime minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila will refrain from vying for the party presidency due to concerns about potential demotion or the risk of not securing a ministerial position at all.

However, environmental minister Pohamba Shifeta is expected to remain in the running for the vice president position.

Former Cabinet minister and Swapo veteran Jerry Ekandjo is reportedly gearing up to challenge for the party presidency, and has expressed his desire for the extraordinary congress to take place this year.

“The process still has to be followed. The CC still has to call for an extraordinary congress, then the nomination process can occur. Every qualifying Swapo member should be eligible for positions,” Ekandjo said last month.

Zambezi regional coordinator Moffat Sileze said the party should follow its constitution.

His Omusati counterpart Sacky Kayone said: “Why can’t you wait for Saturday, when the party will take the decision?”

//Kharas regional coordinator Matthew Mumbala said he will comment on the CC decision on Monday.

Political analyst Erika Thomas said it is wise to wait for the CC to pronounce itself.

Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah said any decision regarding the hosting of an extraordinary congress should be done in the parameters of the constitution.

Helmut Angula


Former Cabinet minister Helmut Angula this week called for an extraordinary congress within the time prescribed by Swapo’s constitution in order to fill the party president position.

In 2016, Angula, then Swapo spokesperson, castigated ex-youth leader Elijah Ngurare for calling for an extraordinary congress after Pohamba passed on the presidency to Geingob without an extraordinary congress .

Former Namibia Today editor Asser Ntinda wrote an opinion piece today (see page 10) in which he calls Angula out for his double standards.

“Can we today say Helmut is an “anti-Swapo party agent provocateur,” now that he is calling for an extraordinary congress, which he didn’t want in 2016, despite the constitution of Swapo saying so? Today, Swapo finds itself facing the same problem it faced back in 2015”.

“Those who are calling for an extraordinary congress are not genuine. They are disingenuous. There is nothing wrong and unconstitutional with postponing the congress to next year, given the logistics and the time before the November elections.

“If there is something unconstitutional, then Geingob acted unconstitutionally for two years and eight months from 2015 to 2017. Helmut was part of the team that midwifed this unsightly precedent. He is, therefore, the last person to lecture us on constitutional issues.”

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