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Battle for Nudo’s soul

2023-11-30  Edward Mumbuu

Battle for Nudo’s soul

It is on.

Incumbent National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) president Utjiua Muinjangue will have a run for her money next year when the party holds its intraparty elections.

Muinjangue, who is also deputy health minister, is set to face stiff competition from Nudo secretary general Joseph Kauandenge and former Okakarara constituency councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu, who is known as ‘VK’ in Nudo folklore.

Both men have indicated their intention to stand for the Nudo presidency when congress comes in April 2024.

“I need no introduction to Namibian politics. I am like Coca-Cola; wherever I go, people know and can relate to me. I am not a Johnny-come-lately. I was there when Nudo pulled out of the then DTA with my late paramount chief Kuaima Riruako, when it was not fashionable to do so. I was just 27,” Kauandenge said last week while announcing his candidacy.

He wants to breathe fresh life into the party, grow it into a national brand, and increase its presence in the National Assembly, regional councils and local authorities.

Although Muinjangue has indicated to her inner circle her intention to defend her turf, she was not reachable for comment yesterday.

Both Muinjangue and Kauandenge teamed up in 2019 against Kandorozu’s faction at their watershed congress. 



Their faction was known as ‘Team Nudo’, while Kandorozu stood under the banner ‘Team 100% VK’. That year, Muinjangue faced competition from long-term party servant Kandorozu in a fiercely contested three-day congress. When the results were announced, however, Muinjangue garnered 240 votes out of the possible 495. Kandorozu had 227 votes.

The party then also elected a new vice president - Peter Kazongominja; secretary general - Kauandenge; deputy secretary general - Uaraa Uapingene, and 25 members to the 88-member national council.

The national council is Nudo’s highest decision-making body between two congresses.

A new party treasurer, vice treasurer, national chairperson and vice chairperson were also unveiled. In May 2018, Nudo attempted but failed to elect a new leadership after chaos erupted during an ordinary congress.

The disagreements emanated from things like illegal delegates to the congress, an 11th-hour court battle, and the mushrooming of party branches. Now, it appears, it is everyone for themselves as far as Muinjangue, Kandorozu and Kauandenge are concerned.

Kandorozu also confirmed his availability for the highest position in Nudo, provided the “people want me”. “I will not refuse availing myself if the people want me. The only thing I have known all my life is serving my people. In fact, it is good that discussions to that effect are already taking place,” he said yesterday upon enquiry.



Both Kandorozu and Kauandenge have hinted that injecting fresh blood into Nudo’s veins is among their chief priorities.

“[I will stand as] president at our upcoming national congress, slated for April 2024. It is a fact that to take such a decision is not an overnight thing, but a timeless one where one considers all angles, all facts in black and white, and decide your course of action,” Kauandenge said at a press conference recently.

Justifying his latest political chess move, the former City of Windhoek municipal councillor said Nudo needs to be modernised and transformed into a national party.

“We all agree that the historical origin of Nudo in 1964 cannot be wished away [that it was formed through the Ovaherero chiefs’ council]. We will protect this legacy, jealously. However, it is time that the party be aggressive in areas where the party is not known to make it a truly national party,” the buoyant politician said, setting the tone for his campaign.

Kauandenge, who is a musician, lawyer and lawmaker, continued that while in Nudo’s engine-room as SG, the party is already on an aggressive campaign drive in the two Kavango regions, as well as Zambezi.

“I believe that with me at the helm of the party, this process will be intensified and move towards the north and the south,” he said, as Nudo Youth League SG Veparura Kandirikira looked on. Kandirikira, a prominent figure among Nudo loyalists, is rumoured to be in Kauandenge’s corner. “The party needs a captain who will direct it towards unity. A leader who will be on guard 24/7 to guard against divisions within the party. A leader who will treat every member of the party as an equal. A leader who will put party cohesion and unity as a cornerstone of his leadership, and I am that leader,” Kauandenge asserted.


100% VK

While maintaining that the party is currently stable, Kandorozu is adamant there is still room for improvement.

At the height of Nudo’s internal squabbles, he was expelled from the party and recalled from the Otjozondjupa regional council three years ago. He was later reinstated as a member of the party, provided he would relinquish all positions he held prior to the expulsion.

“I am a member of the party by default. The current leadership expelled me, and brought me back on condition that they strip me of my position as a member of the regional council. As we speak, I still enjoy my full benefits as a former councillor. So, if the Nudo constitution is subservient to the Namibian constitution, how can they take that right away from me? I don’t care about coming back as a member of the Nudo national council. But you can’t take away that which is given to me by the Namibian constitution,” Kandorozu stressed.

He added: “Personally, I consider myself a member of Nudo. I have never gone anywhere. Currently, I am just an ordinary Namibian, a street vendor, hustling and trading”.

Asked what he intended to bring to the table if elected as Nudo president, he responded “a lot”. “We must amend the Nudo constitution. It is a working document, and it must speak to the realities of today. That constitution is from 2011. Party unity and growth that is centred around youth empowerment are also top priorities for me. I want to bring the youth closer to Nudo. The party must be active throughout, not only during elections,” he said.

Asked about Kandorozu’s potential candidacy, Kauandenge said the former is not a political threat to his ambition.

“No, he is not [a threat]. Not at all. By the way, in the last elections in 2019, I obtained the highest votes in congress. So, whether he is here or not, for me is immaterial,” he brushed it off.

Kauandenge said while Kandorozu remains an expelled member of the party, a hand was extended to him to rejoin as an ordinary member, which he refused, pending a decision of the national council.


2023-11-30  Edward Mumbuu

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