Politburo selects Nandi-Ndaitwahas presidential candidate

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

… bypasses Swapo congress

Swapo’s politburo on Wednesday night endorsed its vice president, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, as the ruling party’s presidential candidate for the presidential and National Assembly elections scheduled for November.

The politburo wants the party’s extraordinary congress moved to 2025 to prevent internal division just months before the elections.

The politburo, which has met for the second time since Swapo’s president, Hage Geingob, died on 4 February, has now referred the decision for endorsement or refusal to the party’s central committee, which is expected to meet on 9 March.

The central committee is dominated by Nandi-Ndaitwah’s faction.

The ruling party has allegedly already been threatened with legal action over its top positions.

Hilma Nicanor

Swapo spokesperson Hilma Nicanor has confirmed this week’s politburo meeting.

“The Swapo party’s organs have always been meeting, albeit now with intervals because of the death of our president. Yesterday’s meeting didn’t take up a position, nor has it given us a directive to communicate any activities to Swapo members, the media or citizens,” she said this week.

The congress, regarded as Swapo’s highest decision-making body, is responsible for electing a new president to complete the unexpired term of the former president in the event of his inability to fulfil his duties.

Some central committee members are concerned over a lack of time to host an extraordinary congress.

They also want to save money for national election campaigns, instead of spending it on the logistics for an extraordinary congress.
“When you say if there is still time for an extraordinary congress, where did you learn that an extraordinary congress will take place?” Nicanor asked yesterday.

Other Swapo members believe a congress months before the elections in November could result in internal division in the party.
“Of course we are aware of what happened in the past, but introspection has been done. Swapo is gearing up for national elections to achieve a resounding victory,” Nicanor said.

The sentiment among some party members is for the central committee to endorse Nandi-Ndaitwah as the sole candidate for the national election, and to avoid an extraordinary congress – a situation that could bring the Swapo constitution into disrepute.

“In the event the president is unable to permanently perform his or her duties or carry out his or her functions for whatever reasons, an extraordinary congress will be called by the central committee within three months of the vacancy occurring to elect a new president to complete the unexpired term of the former president – unless such vacancy occurs six months prior to the ordinary congress,” Swapo’s constitution reads.

Sacky Kayone
Mathew Mumbala
Ottilia Shinduvi


Some Swapo leaders The Namibian spoke to yesterday said the politburo cannot endorse the party president.

Kavango East region Swapo coordinator Ottilia Shinduvi said the party president should be endorsed by the congress.

“We cannot get away from an extraordinary congress. That’s what the constitution says, and the constitution is the guiding document of the party,” she said.

Swapo’s coordinator for the //Kharas region, Mathew Mumbala, said Swapo members should allow the top three and the central committee to decide whether an extraordinary congress should take place.

Omusati regional coordinator Sacky Kayone said if an extraordinary congress has to happen, it should be decided on by the central committee.

Former Cabinet minister Jerry Ekandjo last month said an extraordinary congress was always going to happen and should happen.
Political commentator Ndumba Kamwanyah says it would cause the party trouble if it bypassed its own procedures.

“What they should do now is not to create another layer of unconstitutional adherence to the party’s constitutional procedures. They have to be careful,” he says.

Kamwanyah says there would be more trouble if an extraordinary congress is not held.

“I don’t know which rule they are relying on to skip the extraordinary congress as stipulated by the party constitution.

“I know they are concerned that time is not on their side, considering there are only a few months before the elections, but they need to make sure they rely on a good clause in the constitution,” he says.

Stay informed with The Namibian – your source for credible journalism. Get in-depth reporting and opinions for only N$85 a month. Invest in journalism, invest in democracy –
Subscribe Now!

Latest News