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NUDO factions draw battle lines

WINDHOEK, 12 May 2016 – Swapo Party Secretary for Information and Mobilisation Helmut Kanguloshi Angula directs proceedings of the Swapo Party rally marking the 56th anniversary celebration of the party at Katutura Youth Complex Soccer Field. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPAThe battle lines in the National Unity Democratic Organisation of Namibia (NUDO) presidential race have been drawn – Utjiua Muinjangue will battle it out against Okakarara Constituency councillor Vetaruhe Kandorozu, The Patriot can reveal.
The elective congress is slated for February 2018.
Sources close to the two NUDO camps confirmed that both Kandorozu and Muinjangue are vying for the party’s top position and not for presidency and vice presidency as purported by certain sectors.
The simmering atmosphere during the run-up to the party’s elective congress has been described as “tense” and that “animosity” is evident between the two factions.
“The situation in the party is tense. These two factions are campaigning and a wind of animosity does exist.
But fortunately, it[situation] has not reached a point whereby the two factions do not see eye to eye. They talk to one another but everyone knows where they stand,” said a NUDO source.
Incumbent party president Asser Mbai looks set to remove his political shoes next year, but he opted to play his cards close to his chest as far as announcing who his preferred successor is.
Mbai’s health is said to be one of the reasons forcing him to hand over the party’s instruments of power.
Mbai this week said it is still early to indicate whether he will stand for reelection or not, adding that the final resolution will be taken by the Party congress “but my preferred desire is that the party need young blood.”
He also pledged ignorance to the existence of factions in the party.“I am not aware of the two factions you mention but it is normal that there will be factions before the elective congress. As long as, that the factions are not de-campaign each other,” he said.
Asked whether he has a preferred successor, Mbai responded: “No, that will be entirely the responsibility of the elective congress.
“My humble request is that all Party comrades  must at all times, carry the interest of the party at their heart, sustain good standing, loyalty and have the interest to unite the Namibian people,” he said.
According to the source, the Muinjangue faction has put forward Aminius Constituency councillor Peter Kazongominja as its vice president candidate and City of Windhoek councillor Joseph Kauandenge for the position of secretary general (SG).
Whereas the Kandorozu faction has identified current party secretary SG Meundju Jahanika as the ideal candidate to continue running the administration affairs of the party.
Muinjangue currently holds no leadership position in the party, a possible blockage for her presidency bid.
With the NUDO constitution stating that any member who wishes to contest for a position should have been a good standing member for five years, Kauandenge could also lose out. He was suspended from NUDO in September 2014. Last week, Jahanika said he would like to continue as NUDO SG for the next five years in order to fully implement his unfished programmes.
“I have programmes that are not concluded yet. Therefore, if the members request that I should serve in the position to conclude all my programmes, I will not have a problem to contest in the position of SG, if that is what the members want” he said.
Sources familiar with the Kandorozu camp say the faction is yet to identify a candidate for position of vice president.
When contacted for comment, Muinjangue confirmed her candidature for NUDO’s top position.
“I can confirm that I am running for party president,” said Muinjangue without divulging further details about her camp’s strategy.
Muinjangue, should she emerge victorious, will become the only female political party president and only the third president of the party after Asser Mbai and the late Ovaherero Paramount chief, Kuaima Riruako since the party’s inception.

The Kauandenge factor
Last year, Kauandenge was seen as a frontrunner for NUDO presidency after news surfaced that Mbai was not going to stand for re-election in 2018. At the time, Kauandenge, who also serves as an advisor  to Mbai, was quoted as having made himself available for the top position “if the people” wanted him.
Surpassingly, a few months down the line, Kauandenge is showing no interest in taking over as president and is eyeing the secretary general position that is currently occupied by Meundju Jahanika.

Jahanika is part of the Kandorozu faction.
“Being a president is more of a ceremonial position. The critical work that will bring back the party into the limelight is in the office of the secretary general. And under the leadership of Jahanika, the party is dormant,” charged the source.
The source went on to say Kauandenge’s strategy is to put NUDO in a better place over next five years in terms of its structures and support base.
Thereafter, if all goes as planned, Kauandenge, a crowd favourite among the NUDO diehards will only run for presidency at the 2023 elective congress.

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