International News

Namibia One Step Closer to its First Female President

Hannah Walton-Hughes

The key political party of Namibia, SWAPO (South West African People’s Organisation), could be about to elect its first female president, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, aged 70. Impact’s Hannah Walton-Hughes reports.

On Monday 28th November, SWAPO, Namibia’s ruling and largest political party, elected Netumbo Nandi-Ndatiwah as its Vice President. Nandi-Ndaitwah held the position of Deputy Prime Minister, but is now “an inch closer” to becoming the first female President. 

The current President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, is stepping down once he reaches the end of his term. He has “refused” to reveal an endorsement for his successor.

In the race for the role of Vice-President, Nandi-Ndaitwah beat both the current Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, and present Environment Minister, Pohamba Shifeta. She is now the “frontrunner” and will have to lead the party into the upcoming 2024 national elections.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah faces a difficult job if she becomes the next President.

The task ahead for the leader is “heavy”, as was described by the current President in Monday’s speech in the capital, Windhoek.

The President is likely to have been referring to the difficulties that the party has been facing. Rampant unemployment, and the recent arrest of former cabinet ministers and businessmen with ties to SWAPO over “a graft scandal”, have caused significant damage to the party’s popularity.

In the 2019 general election, Swapo lost its 2/3 majority in the General Assembly, and President Geingob’s share of the vote dropped by 37% compared to five years before.

Despite the fact that Swapo has been the leader of Namibia since its independence in 1990, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah faces a difficult job if she becomes the next President.

By Hannah Walton Hughes

Featured image courtesy of Alan J. Hendry via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

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