Namibia: Battle for the Soul of Nudo Intensifies

Newly elected National Unity Democratic Organisation President Esther Utjiua Muinjangue.

Windhoek — Political infighting within opposition party Nudo turned comical yesterday, with each camp suspending and recalling members of the other from parliament and Windhoek city council.

Nudo is currently divided into two camps, following a chaotic and violent congress last weekend. One group is backing current deputy secretary general Vetaruhe Kandorozu for party presidency, a position also sought by Utjiua Muinjangue.

Party's president Asser Mbai, accompanied by Kandorozu, were the first to draw blood when they announced at a press conference yesterday five party members were suspended, while three local authority councillors from Windhoek, Swakopmund and Okakarara were recalled. Those suspended were Joseph Kauandenge, who was also recalled from Windhoek city council, Uahimisa Kaapehi who also recalled from the Swakopmund municipal council, and Munjasa Karuhumba, who servedon the Okakarara town council. They were suspended alongside Muinjangue and Stephanus Zakaapi.

An hour and half later, the faction supporting Muinjangue's presidential bid, led by Kauandenge who vied for the secretary-general's position, announced "the immediate suspension [from the party] of Mbai and Meundju Jahanika [and recall] both [as] members of the parliament, with immediate effect." This, after the Mbai faction had written to the CEOs of the three towns that the three councillors were recalled from their postings.

"We will, in due course, revert to your offices with the replacement and filling of this vacancies," reads the letters signed by Jahanika as Nudo secretary-general. Mbai told the media that the suspension of the five members was decided at by the Nudo national executive committee meeting that took place in Windhoek on Wednesday night. The meeting, Mbai said, was attended by 10 of the 18 members of that committee.

Muinjangue and Kauandenge claim to have emerged as winners during last weekend chaotic Nudo third elective congress, which Mbai had called off and postponed due to physical confrontations. The Muinjangue group says it suspended Mbai and Jahanika as they could not account for N$500 000 that disappeared under their watch from party coffers.

"We are the legitimate leaders of this party following the congress resolution of 26 May 2018, hence both Mbai and Jahanika have no right to suspend anyone or carry out any activities under the name of Nudo," said the statement by Kauandenge. They then signed off a letter to the Speaker of the National Assembly Professor Peter Katjavivi, saying: "Subsequent to our earlier letter send to you on Tuesday to announce the change in leadership following our just concluded national elective congress on 26 May 2018, please take note that at its first NEC [national executive committee] meeting held today 31 May 2018 in Windhoek, NEC has resolved to recall Mbai and Jahanika as members of parliament with immediate effect."

Katjavivi told New Era that he did not receive the letter recalling the two MPs.

Kauandenge later told New Era that Mbai is now an ordinary Nudo member, without any powers to discharge party functions.

The group supporting Kandorozu includes Professor Jekura Kavari who was candidate for deputy president, Vehonga Kaijere (national treasurer candidate), Gretchen Boois (deputy national treasurer candidate), Meundju Jahanika (secretary-general candidate), Lesley Kauandara (deputy secretary-general candidate), Likuis Mupya and Ndankie Hangero as national chairperson and deputy national chairperson candidates respectively.

The Muinjangue campa boasts Peter Kazongominja who says he is now the vice-president, Kauandenge, Uaraa Uapingene who claims to be deputy secretary-general, Elia Kandjii as national chairperson, Vincent Kahua as secretary for information, Fanuel Haukambe as national treasurer, Uahimisa Kaapehi as director of elections, and Karuhumba.

New Era reported on Monday that the party's elective congress was abandoned after violence erupted in a battle for positions.

The dispute was the alleged deliberate attempt by Jahanika to block some 120 delegates, supposedly belonging to the Muinjangue camp, from participating in the congress.

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