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Clash of the titans in Nudo presidential race

Written by on April 17, 2024

The upcoming National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) electoral congress on 27 April is expected to feature party bigwigs vying for top positions.

Incumbent party leader and deputy minister of health and social services Utjiua Muinjangue will face party vice president Peter Kazongomuinja, secretary general Joseph Kauandenge, Windhoek deputy mayor Joseph Uapingene and former Okakarara constituency councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu.

Nudo will convene this weekend to decide who will be put on the list for key party positions.

Kandorozu, who was expelled from the party and recalled from his position as regional councillor for the Okakarara constituency in 2020, says he has never left the party and will throw his hat in the race for party president.

Muinjangue at the time said Kandorozu, upset by his loss to her at Nudo’s March 2019 congress, orchestrated a campaign urging his supporters to vote for Independent Patriots for Change president Panduleni Itula instead of her [Muinjangue] in the 2019 regional council and local authority elections.

Joseph Uapingene

Kandorozu lost to Muinjangue by a small margin, making her the party’s first female president.

He is now planning to put his name forward for the presidency role once again, saying the party has lost touch with voters and has become dormant.

“I realised the party does not represent the needs of voters and those of the current generation, which is the youth. The party is no longer practical, and it is dormant at the moment,” Kandorozu says.

He says he hopes to steer the party in a new direction.

“I hope to change the outlook of the party on the political spectrum, and attend to the needs of our current voters and recruit new voters,” he says.

Kauandenge, who launched his intra-party presidential campaign in Windhoek over the weekend, says he has a youthful agenda.

“It is high time the party is led by someone below the age of 60. It is high time to transform the party, and to give it the energy it is currently lacking,” he says.

Peter Kazongomuinja

He says the party must evolve and move with the current times.

“I have the right vision and I will be able to steer it in the right direction,” Kauandenge says.

Kazongomuinja has confirmed his intent to compete for the position.

“I am the vice president, and the only way I can go is up, but the party will announce the names of those who will contest,” he told Desert Radio on Monday.

Kazongomuinja said while there are divisions in the party, unity would prevail.

He said Nudo is not a tribal party, and is open for all Namibians.

“We are a national party, but of course the bulk of our supporters are from one tribe. The ruling party’s top leadership is from one tribe. Now, must we say they are a tribalistic party?” Kazongomuinja asked.

Joseph Kauandenge

Meanwhile, Uapingene also confirmed that he would contest for the position of party president.

Political analyst Ndumba Kamwanyah welcomes Nudo members’ interest in who is vying for the party’s leadership, saying it is a positive sign for democracy.

He says party presidents seem to believe they are immune to internal competition.

He says if party leaders want to contest for the top position against Muinjangue, they should be able to do so freely.

“Party political positions are not made for individuals and are open to anyone within the party. In our political culture there is that tendency to think that because you are the president of the party, you must not be challenged, and that in itself is harmful to democracy,” Kamwanyah says.

He says the party’s presidential aspirants should use their achievements to convince party members to vote for them.

Utjiua Muinjangue

“We have to look at it from a perspective that these positions are not tailormade for only certain individuals. If somebody in the party thinks they are up to the challenge, let it be,” Kamwanyah says.

During its party congress last year, Nudo decided to do away with the tradition of holding elective congresses during a national election year, citing they could be disruptive and divisive.

This upcoming congress on 27 April will be the last of its kind.

The post Clash of the titans in Nudo presidential race appeared first on The Namibian.

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