Pot ready to boil

Swapo's mandatory zebra-style 50-50 gender representation is set to have a major impact on the country's next parliament and cabinet.

30 August 2019 | Politics

Swapo will finally hold its electoral college to elect its candidates for the November National Assembly election, amidst deepening divisions and factionalism.

The electoral college is seen as a tough contest for aspiring parliamentarians, considering the 50/50 National Assembly gender representation policy of the ruling party.

This essentially means that male party members who have over the years dominated the electoral college now have their numerical dominance curtailed.

The 50/50 gender representation policy became a constitutionally mandatory requirement in 2012 and was first used during the 2013 electoral college, ahead of the 2014 National Assembly and presidential elections.

Swapo won 77 seats in the National Assembly, largely thanks to the third constitutional amendments, which saw parliamentary seats increased to 96 from 72.

Campaigning among party cadres has intensified, while the squabbles over leadership positions have seen some regions delaying the holding of their extraordinary congresses to determine delegates and National Assembly candidates to the electoral college.

'Tough' competition

Political commentator Graham Hopwood expects the electoral college to be a battle between the youth and the old guard.

“I think there will be tough competition for places partly because of the 50/50 quota system. It could well be that, as in 2014, some familiar names will fall by the wayside.

“This is unfortunate because the president may feel he has to keep certain senior Swapo figures in parliament and therefore will fill his allocation for the eight non-voting seats with them instead of people selected for their 'special expertise, status, skill or experience' as mentioned in the constitution,” said Hopwood.

“Slate politics was largely associated with the 2017 congress. Since then most of the party structures have been more closely aligned with the president - so I don't see factionalism playing a major role, although there may be something of a youth versus elders division with some pressure to include more young people in the top 70 candidates.”

Hopwood added that it is a pity that there does not seem to be a way of assessing the performance of MPs over the last four years when considering them for another term.

“For example, we don't really know how the influx of female MPs in 2015 affected parliament and what kind of beneficial impact they might have had.”

Another local commentator, Ndumba Kamwanyah, believes the gender and age factors are variables to look out for at next week's gathering, while slate politics should not be ruled out.

“That's a group-think process in action where people will be voted based on camp affiliation, disregarding gender and age. I think slate and camp politics is what we are going to witness playing out during the electoral college,” he said.

“The Swapo Party has lost its mojo where individual traits/skills/experiences/credentials were good enough to earn you a ticket to the pot. Nowadays the camp within Swapo that you associate yourself with determines your election at the electoral college.”


Close to 244 delegates drawn from the party's central committee, 14 regions, youth, women and elders wings will take part in the elections. As a Swapo affiliate, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) is also supposed to elect candidates to represent it at the electoral college. Current Swapo MPs who are part of the central committee also automatic delegates to the 'pot'.

The central committee is made up of 84 members, including President Hage Geingob, who is expected to be confirmed as the party's presidential candidate at the electoral college.

Each region will send six delegates, two of whom are National Assembly candidates. The Swapo Party Women's Council has the constitutional privilege of sending ten delegates, while the Swapo Party Youth League and Swapo Party Elders Council are represented by six delegates each. The current 48 Swapo MPs in the National Assembly will also be allowed to take part by virtue of not being part of the central committee.

So far only the top four are safe. With Geingob expected to be the ruling party's presidential candidate, vice-president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah will top the parliamentary list, followed by party SG Sophia Shaningwa and deputy SG Marco Hausiku.

The electoral college then has to elect 83 candidates, while Geingob will have to appoint an additional ten members to make up the 96-member list to be submitted to the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN).

Local lawyer Sisa Namandje will once again supervise and oversee the elections that will be held at a Windhoek hotel.


Similar News


Nahas waxes lyrical on Fishrot

8 hours ago | Politics

Former prime minister Nahas Angula says the ruling party Swapo, for which he served as a central committee member, must explain its alleged links to...

ECN, parties in ballot paper talks

2 days ago - 17 February 2020 | Politics

The Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) is having a series of consultations with political parties over whether to use a verifiable paper trail with electronic...

Itula returns to Supreme Court

1 week ago - 12 February 2020 | Politics

Former independent presidential candidate Panduleni Itula is returning to the Supreme Court for an urgent application to review a decision by the highest court in...

Shaningwa is compromised – Swapo Rundu trio

1 week ago - 11 February 2020 | Politics

President Hage Geingob has been urged to intervene in the unfolding Swapo mess in the Rundu town council before the matter heads to court.The three...

PDM battle heats up

1 week ago - 11 February 2020 | Politics

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) finds itself in the middle of a storm over seats in the National Assembly (NA). Four disgruntled party members, who...

'We control national budget' - Swapo

1 week ago - 10 February 2020 | Politics

Swapo on Friday startlingly claimed it remains in control of the national budget despite its poor showing in the last general election, and thus independent...

Judiciary captured by Swapo – LPM

1 week ago - 07 February 2020 | Politics

?The Landless People's Movement claims that the country's judiciary has been captured by Swapo following a judgement delivered in the Supreme Court that no new...

Swapo axe falls in Oshakati

1 week ago - 06 February 2020 | Politics

The Oshakati East and Oshakati West Swapo district executives have jointly recalled Oshakati town councillors Onesmus Shilunga and Gabriel Kamwanka, who in December boycotted the...

Confusion still reigns at Rundu

2 weeks ago - 04 February 2020 | Politics

It is still unclear when the election and swearing-in ceremony for Rundu town council office-bearers will take place as two Swapo structures continue to tussle...

Namibia 7th among African democracies

2 weeks ago - 03 February 2020 | Politics

ELLANIE SMIT While still labelled as having a flawed democracy, Namibia is ranked as one of the top ten most democratic...

Latest News

We didn’t know – Fishcor...

8 hours ago | Crime

STAFF REPORTERSNational Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) board members have pleaded ignorance of the alleged grand thievery that occurred right under their noses at the...

Nahas waxes lyrical on Fishrot

8 hours ago | Politics

Former prime minister Nahas Angula says the ruling party Swapo, for which he served as a central committee member, must explain its alleged links to...

The baby and the bathwater

8 hours ago | Opinion

The idiomatic expression “don't throw the baby out with the bathwater” comes to mind when debates start stirring on social media regulation.This idiom describes an...

Judiciary hits back

8 hours ago | Justice

The Office of the Judiciary has defended itself against “undue attacks”, including a Landless People's Movement (LPM) allegation that it has been captured by the...

Former cop arrested for growing...

8 hours ago | Crime

A 27-year-old former police officer was arrested for the cultivation of dagga plants and the possession of ammunition without a licence at Ondangwa over the...

US donates food for HIV...

8 hours ago | Health

Due to the devastating drought, many people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) struggle to take their medication without adequate food.Up to 96% of Namibians who have...

Namibia eyes N$16m GEF funding

8 hours ago | Agriculture

In an effort to address climate change in Namibia, a meeting was held last week to discuss a proposal that has to be submitted to...

Unions reveal desperate drought conditions

8 hours ago | Agriculture

The Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) and the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers' Union (NECFU) held a meeting with agriculture minister Alpheus !Naruseb to discuss the ongoing...

Warriors to face Guinea first

8 hours ago | Sports

Namibia will face Guinea in their first match in the 2020 African Nations Championship (Chan), which will run from 4 to 25 April.The draw for...

Load More