Netumbo – It is written in the stars


AN interview with Confidente Reporter, Vitalio Angula (VA)

Netumbo Nandi- Ndaitwah (NNN) entered the first National Assembly as one of the eight nominees of then President Sam Nujoma.

After the 1990 elections, she was appointed as the country’s first Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Thirty-two years later, she is at the crux of being re-elected as the Vice-President of the Swapo Party and automatically becoming not only the party but the countries first female presidential candidate.

That is if all goes to plan!

But as we all know and experience in politics, not everything ever goes according to plan!

Kaire Mbuende, her Chief Campaign Manager, informed Confidente that Netumbo has always been close to the people.

“Even in the after-math of the Swapo Extra-Ordinary Congress of 2004 she remained a popular figure amongst the rank and file of the party’s membership”, Mbuende told Confidente.

In a showdown that has pitted her against similarly popular figures within the party, namely, Prime-Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa- Amadhila, and Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta, Netumbo is seen as a front-runner.

Bolstering her campaign is the fact that she is the incumbent Vice-President.

Having risen from relative obscurity, it took the resignation of Hidipo Hamutenya from Swapo and the death of another parliamentarian in order for Ndaitwah to make it into the August House after she failed to make it to parliament after the 2006 Presidential and National Assembly Elections.

The rest is history!

With the 7th Swapo Party Congress scheduled to begin on the Friday 25, November 2022, Confidente caught up with Swapo Presidential hopeful Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah to engage her on her candidacy, her vision for Namibia, international relations and the relevance of Pan-Africanism in a globalized world.

VA:Why have you decided to take on such an enormous challenge, that of contesting for the Vice-Presidency at such a pivotal moment in the country’s history?

NNN:Every moment in history when drastic change takes place is pivotal. I am sure you could have asked the same question to the Founding President.

Why have you decided to contest for the Presidency of Namibia at this challenging moment when the international economic system is changing and we are approaching the end of the cold war?

The point I am trying to make is that there is no easy time in life to ascend to a role of crucial importance. Every significant moment in history has its own challenges and whatever those challenges are, there are always people who are ready and prepared to face them head on and I am one of those people! Given my childhood and background, I have been prepared to rise to the helm of not only being re-elected as the Vice-President (VP) of Swapo but also being the Swapo Candidate for the upcoming Presidential and National Assembly elections.

VA: Given that Swapo has a zebra style system, should it not be a natural progression for a female candidate to be VP?

NNN: I think people are not fully conversant with the Swapo Party Constitution. The constitution has established a gender balance policy which is 50/50. There are different ways in which this can be done, for example when it comes to the Districts and the Branches, when one gender for example is the coordinator then the mobiliser should be of a different gender. However, when it comes to the Top 4, it was made clear that is should be 50/50 but not necessarily zebra style.

VA: As the possible incoming President of Namibia and in the context of increased polarization of global powers, most notably the ensuing fight for global supremacy between East and West, would you take a new approach regarding Namibia’s position of non-alliance?

NNN: Namibia’s foreign policy is clearly articulated in the country’s constitution. This directs how our foreign policy is conducted. A crucial element of our foreign policy is to advocate for peaceful co-existence between nations, to advocate for negotiations when disputes arise and to be non-aligned with any particular bloc.

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These are our guiding principles.

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These have been our guiding principles in the past, they are our guiding principles in the present and they will be our guiding principles in the future unless our national constitution is amended. Taking these principles into consideration, it does not mean that Namibia cannot play a role on the international arena. We do have to play a role which is focused on the maintenance of peace and security which is a sine quo non for global progress. Having countries aligned along blocs has not always been in the best interest of cohesive international relations. In fact, the splitting of the world along blocs that are formed along ideological lines has led to world wars. These have brought about disaster and catastrophe. Not only in the loss of human lives but also the destruction of public and private properties. Therefore, I will see to it that Namibia’s foreign policy continues to advocate for the maintenance of peace and stability; and peaceful solutions to conflicts amongst countries.