By: Kelvin Chiringa
Having smashed the glass ceiling and rising to the helm to be the first ever female president of a party in Namibia’s political history, newly elected president for the Nudo party, Ester Muinjangue’s first impression was that she felt relieved.
This publication caught up with the lecturer-cum-activist and now president this week after she romped to victory at Ramatex, beating party rival Vetaruhe Kandorozu by a narrow margin.
She expressed that her relief springs from the fact that she had been caught up in a gird-lock of one of the fiercest succession-battles the party has experienced and now looked forward to forging interparty unity post congress.
Muinjangue told The Villager that her victory served to reflect that last’s cancelled congress had voted in her favour.
“We had a very free, fair and credible election process last weekend and it has confirmed what transpired at the congress last year. So, I feel relieved and I am looking forward to seeing where I can take the party,’’ she said
Muinjangue’s rise to the helm effectively replaces Asser Mbai.
How will Muinjangue unite party?
Pressed on how she will bring together a party that had been torn apart by divisions, Muinjangue said there were no more divisions within Nudo.
She redefined the internal rivalry as nothing but two mere competing camps that were running through a democratic process.
“You remember that before we went to congress, we had a briefing where we made promises with Kandorozu that whoever wins we will take that, and we will move forward. So, I want to convince myself there are no longer factions in Nudo. We are one Nudo under a new leadership and we still remain members of the Nudo party,” she said.
Her victory was welcomed by other non-party affiliate organisations like the Affirmative Repositioning whose leader Job Amupanda remarked that “Activism matters”.
Dully elected secretary general and City of Windhoek counsellor Josef Kauandenge, who last year suffered a suspension during a leadership fight, said it was remarkable that his party had brought a first female president to Namibia’s democracy.
“People used to think that women are just there for sitting,” he said.
He expressed confidence in Muinjangue’s leadership capabilities although it is clear that the narrow margin that separated her from Kandorozu means she has a difficult task ahead to unite party elements subscribed to her rival.
Elections are around the corner and Kauandenge said it was only expedient that the party finds common ground under the new leadership slate.
With the party’s former president, Mbai having also expressed that the party will have to do away with slate politics if it is to retain its strength, the jury is still on as to whether this will shape out.
However, as SG of the party, Kauandenge’s first job would be to increase brand visibility.
“The first thing that I am going to work on in the first month is the visibility of the party. Of course, last year the party was visible but before that it was dormant. So, I will be working on the brand of the party. Of course, there will be elements that will be disgruntled but we have to forge unity seeing that this is a year of elections,” he said.