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Ekandjo, Mwatile in fresh push for Swapo extraordinary congress

Written by on April 10, 2024

… The two met Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to push their idea

SWAPO backbencher Jerry Ekandjo and former works ministry permanent secretary Peter Mwatile last week met Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to push the party to hold an extraordinary congress.

This is despite the party, through its lawyer Sisa Namandje, clarifying that Swapo’s constitution does not make it explicit that an extraordinary congress should be held three months after the death of a sitting president.

Namandje addressed the Swapo central committee (CC) last month, resulting in the party’s supreme decision making body outside congress shelving the idea of an extraordinary congress.

The CC eventually endorsed Nandi-Ndaitwah as the presidential candidate in the forthcoming November elections.

Mwatile yesterday confirmed meeting Nandi-Ndaitwah, but refused to go into details about what they discussed.

“It was an internal meeting,” he said.

Peter Mwatile

Swapo deputy secretary general Uahekua Herunga denied that Ekandjo and Mwatile met with Nandi-Ndaitwah.

“No, that’s not true. It’s not the case. I have no knowledge of that at all. It’s a pure lie,” Herunga told The Namibian yesterday.

At Swapo’s central committee meeting last month, the party endorsed Nandi-Ndaitwah as its presidential candidate for this year’s presidential election and postponed the extraordinary congress to 19 April next year.

Ekandjo has been on record since last year calling on the ruling party to hold an extraordinary congress to elect the party’s presidential candidate.

Political analyst Rui Tyitende said the decision by the Swapo central committee was a gross mutilation of the party’s constitution and the selective, convenient and absurd interpretation of the party’s constitution for sinful reasons.

“Nonetheless, I am not surprised by the violation, as the party has a history of not abiding by its own rules, regulations and procedures,” Tyitende said.

He added that it’s important to note that there are too many vested interests in this interpretation and it would be unfortunate if Nandi-Ndaitwah has been perhaps deceived or manipulated into capitulating to allow the congress to be postponed to next year.

“Otherwise, why did she deem it necessary to meet with those folks? Is her conscience bothering her, perhaps? Should the congress take place this year, I do not expect any challengers to Nandi-Ndaitwah, as any person doing that will be fighting a losing battle.

“More importantly, it will solidify her position in the party as she ascended to the position legally. Should they postpone it to next year, and Swapo wins in November, she will be a compromised president who will need to accommodate all kinds of demands by the political vultures that made sure no extraordinary congress takes place. That in itself is a bad start for a candidate that was paraded as an ‘integrity’ or ‘corruption free’ individual,” he said.

Meanwhile, political analyst Henning Melber said if Swapo diverges from its initial stance to hold the extraordinary congress next year, it would further undermine the party’s credibility.

He said some party members might find the decision problematic.

“As before, there are different factions in Swapo at work. The current dispute simply underlines that the party does not speak with one voice. Even when trying to reconcile the factions, the differences would not vanish. It is a fight over who holds the power in the party,” Melber said.


Swapo claims in its CC report dated 9 March 2024, that holding an extraordinary congress requires massive funds, which the party has not budgeted for.

The party said in addition to the enormous financial obstacle and dilemma, there are also logistical and practical difficulties in holding an extraordinary congress, in addition to the electoral college a few months before the elections.

“In the meantime, the party just spent millions on the 2022 congress. The whole of last year, the party had been spending thousands of Namibia dollars during rallies organised in order to report on the outcome of the congress and to introduce comrade Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah as its 2024 presidential candidate,” the party said in its report.

Swapo also admitted that it is grappling with a precarious financial position in respect of the finalisation of its headquarters building, and will further need considerable funds to hold the electoral college and to undertake election campaign activities across the country.

“Preparations for the upcoming presidential elections have effectively commenced and has since attained a degree of urgency with the launch of the electoral calendar by the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) on 7 March 2024,” the party said.

The party says it needs more funds for all these to happen in an effective and successful manner.


The Namibian reported in February that Ekandjo wants the position of Swapo president be reserved for men in order to achieve gender balance.

“The strong point is that only men should run for the Swapo presidency at the extraordinary congress,” Ekandjo said.

During a interview with The Namibian, he also called for the resignation of Nandi-Ndaitwah as vice president if she wants to challenge for the party presidency.

Nandi-Ndaitwah is widely regarded as the favourite to win the presidential contest at the upcoming congress.

The death of president Hage Geingob, however, has brought to the fore a debate about possible gender imbalances in terms of Swapo’s zebra style system.

This system commits Swapo to filling its top four positions and list for parliamentarians with a 50/50 gender balance, whereby if, for example, the party president is a man, the vice president should be a woman, and vice versa.

The post Ekandjo, Mwatile in fresh push for Swapo extraordinary congress appeared first on The Namibian.

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