Mudge set to retain seat

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By Mathias Haufiku

WINDHOEK – Incumbent Republican Party (RP) president Henk Mudge is likely to retain his position at next week’s congress where the party will elect its new leadership. 

Although many tout Clara Gowases, the party’s national chairperson, as a strong competitor for the top seat, she ruled out the possibility saying she would be vying for the party’s vice-presidency.

Insiders claim Gowases is reluctant to run for the presidency because she fears upsetting Mudge.

“Clara [Gowases] is the only person in the party that can compete with Mudge to lead the party, and I think it will be good if we have a change of leadership because, as you can see, the party is really struggling to keep up with others,” said a source within the RP.

The party will hold its congress on June 20-21 and with Gowases deciding not to contest the party’s top seat, Mudge is expected to be given the mandate to run the party for another term.

The party’s vice-president position is currently vacant.

Asked why she was not running for presidency, she said: “With this 50/50 thing it will be good if I become vice-president. I will be able to cope with the new responsibilities if I become vice-president because I am already running some affairs of the party.”

The party is also expected to launch its election manifesto on the final day of the congress.

The party will only contest the National Assembly elections this year, after publicly announcing that it will throw its weight behind Swapo’s vice-president Dr Hage Geingob who is seen as the frontrunner to replace Hifikepunye Pohamba as Namibian president.

During the 2009 presidential elections, Mudge ended seventh overall after he garnered a mere 9  425 votes.

The RP earlier this year called off merger plans between itself and the Rally for Democracy and Progress and also made known that it would not contest this year’s presidential elections, but that it would support Geingob who is Swapo’s presidential candidate for this year’s elections.