Namibia’s Deputy Prime Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah is an inch closer to becoming the southwestern country’s first female president.
Namibia’s ruling party on Monday (November 28) elected Nandi-Ndaitwah as its vice president, making her the frontrunner to lead the party into the country’s upcoming national elections in 2024.
The 70-year-old edged out Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila and Environment Minister Pohamba Shifeta in the race for the No. 2 position in the South West African People’s Organization.
President Hage Geingob, who is due to step down at the end of his current term, refused to endorse a successor as his predecessors had done.
“We have made history by electing the first female president come 2024,” Geingob said in a speech Monday in the capital, Windhoek. “I would like to tell her your task going ahead is heavy.”, Bloomberg quoted in a report.
Swapo has led Namibia since independence in 1990 and remains the country’s biggest political party, but its popularity has recently waned because of discontent over rampant unemployment and a graft scandal that led to the arrests of former cabinet ministers and businessmen linked to the party.
The party lost its two-thirds majority in the National Assembly in the last general election in 2019, and Geingob’s share of the vote fell to just over 50%, from 87% five years earlier.