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Nujoma hopes for woman president… calls for youth, merit-based deployment

2022-05-11  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

Nujoma hopes for woman president… calls for youth, merit-based deployment

Founding President Sam Nujoma believes Namibia is ready for a female head of state, while saying the ruling Swapo needs to be transformed into a modern political party that deploys people based on merit.  

In an exclusive interview with New Era to mark his 93rd birthday tomorrow, Nujoma said Swapo has capable leaders - including youth and women - to take over from President Hage Geingob, whose current and last term as head of state ends in March 2025. 

“In many other countries, they have women presidents,” he said yesterday from his Windhoek office. 

“For example, in India, they had a woman prime minister in the name of Indira Gandhi, and many others too. So, we must prepare our women to take over the reigns of power when the time comes.”

Before the Presidential and National Assembly elections in 2024, Swapo, the party that Nujoma led for decades until he retired from active politics in 2007, will first have to field a presidential candidate to contest the country’s presidency. 

Several prominent female leaders, including Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah and Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, are among those linked to the contestation.  

Although he can still serve another term as Swapo president, Geingob ruled out standing for another term during a one-on-one interview with New Era last year, saying he was planning for retirement. 





Nujoma said President Geingob currently has a crop of experienced youth and youthful women who are ready to take over from him. 

Nujoma on Swapo 

Nujoma also said Swapo currently faces a myriad of challenges confronting the country, including unemployment, poverty, material inequality, challenges in the education and health sectors, and a sluggish economy.

He said this compels the ruling party to provide the kind of inclusive and cohesive leadership urgently required to solve these challenges through their choices before and during the party’s November congress.

“The contentious clauses within the Swapo constitution, popularly known as ‘the Helmut amendments’, have divided the party, with some calling for their immediate removal before this year’s congress to widen the pool for potential top four leaders,” he stated.

He added that these clauses are believed to be blocking the youth from participating in positions of significance, leaving only a small pool eligible for the top four positions. 

Nujoma said Swapo should consider a system where they are guided by a clear set of rules. 

This, he said, would enable delegates to select leaders based on their performance in the party and government.

According to Nujoma, the Swapo leadership must at this stage and with urgency lead the way in transforming the organisation into a modern political party that deploys people based on merit, skill and commitment to serving the country, rather than their allegiance to certain organisational factions.

“The next few months and those that will follow after the elective congress will be crucial. There is much to do to fight the elements that were key in the party’s subdued electoral performance in 2019,” he observed.

These include addressing factionalism and ensuring accountability for those entrusted with public institutions. He said Swapo should also get these public institutions to function in a way that delivers basic services to the people.

“If it fails to do any of this, Swapo may well suffer losses akin to the previous local government elections at a national level, and further reduce its electoral dominance of Namibia’s political landscape when it goes to the polls in two years’ time,” said the revered statesman.  

During last year’s regional council and local authority elections, Swapo lost significant support in some key constituencies.

The ruling party, which won 112 of the 121 constituencies in 2015, failed to repeat the same feat after they lost some ground to the Independent Patriots for Change (IPC) in Windhoek, Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, while the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) also dealt the liberation movement a major blow in the south. 

Swapo lost its grip on local authorities in Keetmanshoop, Windhoek, Mariental, Walvis Bay, and Swakopmund, highlighting the declining popularity of the party that successfully led the country’s anti-apartheid struggle. The ruling party also lost some constituencies in the Kunene, Hardap and Zambezi regions.




Meanwhile, Nujoma has encouraged the country’s youth to participate in agriculture, saying they should be trained so that they can start producing enough food for the country and for exports.

“We need to raise farmers to produce food for the nation and the international markets,” he reiterated.

He also called on the youth to participate in politics, saying politics decides their future.   

Read more about Nujoma’s interview with New Era in tomorrow’s edition as he celebrates his 93rd birthday. 









2022-05-11  Kuzeeko Tjitemisa

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