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Namibia’s ruling party chooses first female presidential candidate

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Newly-elected Swapo Party vice president and presidential candidate Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah acknowledges ovations at the 7th Swapo Party Congress in Windhoek, Namibia, Nov. 29, 2022. (Vitalio Angula/VOA)

  • During a prolonged party congress, members of Namibia’s ruling Swapo party re-elected Netumbo-Nandi Ndaitwah, the country’s deputy prime minister, as its vice president.
  • According to the Swapo constitution, she will be the party’s candidate for president when the incumbent, Hage Geingob, completes his limit of two terms in office in about 15 months.

Namibia’s ruling party has selected Netumbo
Nandi-Ndaitwah as the party’s vice president, putting her in line to be the
country’s first female presidential candidate when the current leader steps
down in March 2024.

During a prolonged party congress that ended
Monday night, members of Namibia’s ruling Swapo party re-elected Netumbo-Nandi
Ndaitwah, the country’s deputy prime minister, as its vice president.

According to the Swapo constitution, she will
be the party’s candidate for president when the incumbent, Hage Geingob,
completes his limit of two terms in office in about 15 months.

Ndaitwah cruised to an easy first-round
victory over two other candidates, including her boss, the current prime
minister.

Speaking to VOA, Ndaitwah said she is
prepared to lead.

“The point I am trying to make is there is no
easy time in life,” she said. “So, every time it has its own challenges and I can
tell you, whatever the challenges, there are always people who are ready to
face those challenges and I am one of those. This is the time I am given in
order to take the position. I am asking party members to give me that
opportunity and I am ready.”

More than 700 delegates descended upon the
capital for the party congress.

Amongst the delegates were observers from
nearby countries, such as Mike Bimha, national political commissar for
Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF party.

He commended Namibia’s ruling party for ushering
in new leadership through democratic systems and processes.

“Right from the first day, the conduct of
congress went on very well and it was very purposeful,” he said. “Everybody was
attending and the procedures were followed diligently. We were also delighted
that the election process went on well. Procedures were followed and it was
very transparent.”

The congress that was scheduled for three
days was extended by a rerun for the deputy secretary general position, after
none of the candidates won a majority of votes in the first round.

Uahekwa Herunga was later declared the winner
per the Swapo constitution, which requires a gender balance in the top four
positions.

The ruling Swapo party has led Namibia since
independence in 1990 and commands strong support from voters, paving the way
for Ndaitwah to become the country’s first female head of state.

Only one woman has been elected head of state
in Africa, that being Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.



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