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UDF poised for congress this Saturday

2024-01-16  Eveline de Klerk

UDF poised for congress this Saturday

SWAKOPMUND - The United Democratic Front (UDF) is gearing up for its long-awaited congress this Saturday. The venue is Otjiwarongo’s Paresis Hall, where over 500 party loyalists will converge to elect their leaders for the next five years.

This congress signals a new era for the UDF, one of the oldest political parties in Namibia, which has not seen leadership changes for over a decade. 

It will witness incumbent party leader Apius Auchab defending his territory against his deputy, veteran politician Dudu Murorua, Kunene Regional Council chairperson and Sesfontein constituency councillor Hendrik Gaobaeb, as well as deputy Omaruru mayor Christian !Nanuseb.

A competitive field of 18 candidates will vie for the top eight leadership positions. Apart from the above, Michael Skinni and Tina Harases will battle it out for the vice presidency.

As for the secretary general position, contenders include Simson Ochurub, Daniel Tsaneb, Hage Gawaseb and Davey van Wyk. Seriana Mukuta and Kallista Kausiona, amongst others, will vie for positions such as national and deputy treasurer, secretary for information, national organiser, and treasurer.

One of the secretary position candidates, Daniel Tsaneb, emphasised the historical significance of this upcoming congress, marking the first occurrence since 2013. Despite challenges within the party, Tsaneb highlighted the richness of diversity and talent within their ranks.

“It is indeed a milestone, and I hope that democracy is upheld, and a new leadership must be elected to take the party forward. We are happy that the process is finally taking place, providing an opportunity for party members to express themselves without intimidation.”

Tsaneb also emphasised the importance of transitioning to enhance intra-party democracy, envisioning a modern-day culture of citizen expression


Meanwhile, Auchab recently expressed his desire for unity in the party, stating that things will be different post-congress. 

“My desire is that the party holds the congress in unison. We acknowledge the youth, and they are the future leaders, and also understand the purpose of the party. They know that leadership positions are not for self-gratification, but for the common good of the party,” he said.

Auchab, who himself has led the party for a decade, faces an intriguing situation. If he retains his position, it will technically mean he has run the party for three terms, or 15 years. However, there is a catch, as the amended UDF constitution only came into force in 2019, and Auchab’s first term, starting in 2014, predates this constitutional change.

He earlier clarified the political paradox to New Era, stating that this will indeed be the second congress for the party. “Anybody elected now into office will phase out after the next five years. That’s why, legally, I am given a chance by the constitution to compete for a second term. It should not be counted as a third term because there was no constitution when we entered parliament for the first five years,” he stated.

Neck and neck

Onlookers and party insiders say a tight contest is expected between Auchab and Murorua – two senior figures who both command respect and support within the party and the national political landscape.

Auchab believes they are a party on an upward trajectory. 

Justifying his candidacy late last year, he said: “Since I took over, we have never fallen back. I found the UDF with two seats in the National Assembly, and we still have those seats. In the history of the UDF, we only had one seat in the National Council; today, we have two seats. That is history.” 

“I have taken the UDF to another level. My record speaks for itself. Only jealous people will not see. The party is not stagnant; we are growing,” he stressed. 

Meanwhile, Murorua said he has been around long enough for the UDF’s faithful to know what he brings to the table. 

“I have been in this for quite a while. History speaks for itself. I have been doing what I have always been preaching to the people. I have been treating everyone equally, in such a way that I have assisted in their development,” he noted at the time. 

The former Kunene governor continued: “When it comes to the use of resources for the party itself, I have relied on my own resources to assist the party wherever it needed to be assisted.” 

Photo: UDF

Caption: Decisive… The United Democratic Front will hold its intra-party elective congress this weekend. 


Photo: Nampa

2024-01-16  Eveline de Klerk

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