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Namibia Deputy PM to be First Female Presidential Candidate


Delegates cheer at the 7th Swapo Party Congress as intra-party election results were being announced, in Windhoek, Namibia, Nov. 29, 2022. (Vitalio Angula/VOA)

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.

Ndaitwah said she is prepared to lead.

"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,” she told VOA.

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)
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)

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.

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.

"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," Bimha said.

Phil Ya Nangoloh, a political analyst and head of the Namibia National Society for Human Rights, told VOA that the election of a female candidate is a seismic transformation of the ruling party which was formed in 1960.

"It is clearly an encouragement to women that they are just equal as men are, and they have not to shy away to participate in political processes and to be elected to even the highest position of power."

"It’s a victory for Namibia as a whole," Nangoloh added.

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