Newly elected National Unity Democratic Organisation president Esther Utjiua Muinjangue has become the first female to lead a political movement in Namibian history.
Muinjangue yesterday defeated Okakarara constituency councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu by 240 votes to 227 at the party's third elective congress in Windhoek.
The congress held over the weekend followed a failed Nudo elective congress in May last year where Muinjangue controversially declared herself party president.
Asser Mbai, the outgoing president, nullified last year's results, citing "confusion, disagreement and unresolved issues" that prohibited the event from going forward.
The bone of contention at the time was the legitimacy of about 120 delegates, representing branches from the Omaheke and Erongo regions, who claimed to have been "deliberately excluded" by secretary general Meundju Jahanika.
Despite this and other constitutional issues, Muinjangue then declared herself party president after an uncontested election which excluded delegates supporting her opponent, Kandorozu.
However, this issue was resolved after the two opposing factions led by Muinjangue and Kandorozu reached an agreement through the High Court.
In her four-minute acceptance speech, Muinjangue promised to work towards increasing Nudo's seats in parliament.
She said the new leadership would not go to parliament as an opposition party, but as an alternative governing party that would contribute to the socio-economic development of the country.
In an interview with The Namibian, Muinjangue said her victory shows that people have accepted that women can also do ordinary things.
"I think people have matured mentally, and they have realised that it is time for women as well. I have been living in this community and conforming to the norms of the community, but I have realised that certain things have to change as well because culture is not static," she noted.
She said Nudo members voted on merit with the view that she was capable of taking the party to the next level.
Muinjangue added that her first task as party president was to unite the heavily divided membership to ensure that "everyone feels that they are still a part of Nudo".
"We are all members of Nudo. So, I will work with everyone to make sure we unite the party," she said.
Kandorozu promised to work with the new leadership, and informed all his followers "not to panic, to remain calm, and remain members of the party so that we can participate in the national elections".
"We accept the outcome, we remain members of the Nudo party, and we will also rally behind the new leadership at the national elections," he said.
Kandorozu added that he would not continue holding his position as Okakarara constituency councillor after the expiry of his term next year.
"I am done with constituency politics. I have stayed there for more than 15 years, and I have overstayed my welcome. I want to look into other things," he said.
The congress elected Peter Kazongominja as vice president, who defeated Jekura Kavari by 241 votes to 231.
Windhoek municipality councillor Joseph Kauandenge is now Nudo secretary general after beating Meundju Jahanika by 258 to 204 votes.
Uaraa Uapingene is the new deputy secretary general, while Elia Kandjii takes up the national chairperson's position.