The Namibian (Windhoek)

19 December 2012

Namibia: Opposition Parties Gearing for Congresses

OPPOSITION parties are preparing to hold their congresses in the coming year which in all likelihood will elect new leaders in the top positions.

First to hold its congress is Nudo of Namibia that will have its second congress from February 1 to 3 in Windhoek.

The party has since its inception been led by Herero Paramount Chief Kuaima Riruako, but his position will be up for grabs in February.

Other positions to which people will be elected to are those of deputy president, national chairperson, deputy national chairperson, secretary general and two deputy secretaries general, treasurer general, and two deputy treasurers.

The congress will also elect 30 direct elected members of the party's national council, which is the central committee.

Nudo director of elections and chairperson of the congress organising committee, Meundju Jahanika, urged branches and regional delegates to start identifying prospective candidates for the positions they think "stand a good chance to transform the party into a democratic and functional political party able to win elections".

Jahanika said those who want to stand for one of the top 10 positions are free to start lobbying "as there is nothing wrong to do so in a democratic setup by telling the delegates what you have done in the past and what development programme you have to build up the party".

The leader of the All People's Party (APP), Ignatius Shixwameni, yesterday said his party will have its congress in March.

"It will be an open contest; we are opening up everything," Shixwameni said, adding that nominations will be made by each region.

The DTA of Namibia will have its congress in August next year, which will also bring in a new president for the party after Katuutire Kaura indicated that he is ready to step down.

An early favourite appears to be the young and vociferous former Member of Parliament, McHenry Venaani, who has the endorsement of the party's youth league.

The Rally for Progress and Development (RDP) will have its first congress since its formation late next year, confirmed RDP secretary for information and publicity, Jeremiah Nambinga.

Republican Party (RP) leader Henk Mudge said the party will "in all likelihood" have a congress in early next year to deliberate on whether on how it sees its cooperation with the RDP or any other political party.

He would not give official comment on earlier merger talks with the RDP, but said this issue would be discussed at the congress.

Mudge said the RP conducts congresses regularly. Since its breakaway from the DTA in 2003, the party has had four congresses.

Swanu president Usutuaije Maamberua yesterday said the party's congress is "not yet in sight" due to a slew of activities by its wings and an anticipated policy conference to take place next year.

He did however said the congress might happen towards the end of next year or in early 2014. The last Swanu congress was in 2007.

The Congress of Democrats (CoD) secretary general, Tsudao Gurirab, yesterday said as per party constitution the organisation should have its next congress by November next year, but this would in all likelihood only take place in the first quarter of 2014 because the party is running behind schedule.

The CoD had its first congress in 2004, and an extraordinary congress in May 2004 when the party emerged split in the middle over a spectacular leadership battle. It was supposed to have had its ordinary congress in 2009, which did not take place.

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