Down to the wire… as women dominate Swapo politburo nominations

Home National Down to the wire… as women dominate Swapo politburo nominations
Down to the wire… as women dominate Swapo politburo nominations

Incumbent Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah will have to defend her position against Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who will be contesting for power in the ruling party for the first time.  

The two were once again nominated during a politburo sitting yesterday for the position of vice president. 

If they pass the Swapo vetting test, they will square off at the intra-party elective congress in November. 

Saturday will also see another round of nominations and secondment of possible candidates for Swapo’s top positions. 

The central committee is likely to eliminate some nominees to avoid a crowded field of contestants. 

The much-anticipated Swapo elective congress will likely see another showdown between incumbent secretary general (SG) Sophia Shaningwa and ambitious Oshikoto ruling party coordinator Armas Amukwiyu. 

The two were the only candidates for the SG position yesterday. 

The politburo also nominated candidates for the deputy SG position. 

They are parliamentarians Lucia Witbooi and Evelyn Nawases-Tayele as well as Swapo’s coordinator for Kavango West, David Hamutenya. 

It is the first time Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is contesting for a top four position in the ruling party. 

The former finance minister has also been accused in the Swapo circles of riding on the popularity of her close ties to Founding President Sam Nujoma. 

She has always played with her cards close to her chest over the years.  

But after years in top positions in government and Swapo, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila is believed to be ready for the highest office in the land. 

Whoever emerges as the victor in the Swapo vice president race is likely to be the ruling party’s presidential candidate in 2025. 

Meanwhile, Nandi-Ndaitwah, Kuugongelwa Amadhila faces an incumbent whose popularity is premised on integrity and firm leadership. 

She is a seasoned diplomat, who served in various portfolios throughout her career and is believed to be aligned to former President Hifikepunye Pohamba. 

Reports yesterday also suggested environment minister Pohamba Shifeta and his labour counterpart Utoni Nujoma were also nominated but failed to secure a secondment during the politburo meeting. 

Reacting to the nominations, political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah was not surprised. 

“We knew that they had somehow informally indicated their intentions to contest so this doesn’t come as a surprise. Now we are just waiting to see what will happen at the central committee meeting. More names will still emerge there,” he said. 

Additionally, several key Swapo leaders vowed to end their political careers beyond 2024. 

They tendered their notifications to the politburo by indicating that they have no wish to continue beyond their current terms. 

National Assembly Speaker Peter Katjavivi and land reform minister Calle Schlettwein were among those who gave notice about ending their political careers in two years’ time. 

Schlettwein confirmed this. 

“We were asked at the last central committee meeting to indicate if we will be availing ourselves for positions at congress. I just indicated that I will not be continuing beyond my current term,” Schlettwein said. 

Asked if this is the end of the road for him, he replied: “Yes. That is if I am not allowed to finish my term. But beyond my term, I am going [retiring].”