Namibia: Hage in line for president

hage_geingobSWAPOS Central Committee has effectively paved the way for Hage Geingob to succeed President Hifikepunye Pohamba, when he steps down.

A Central Committee meeting at the weekend approved draft rules and procedures for the election of its office bearers, clearly outlining the line of succession.

The document, which was shown to the media by Secretary General Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana yesterday, states that the partys presidential candidate will come from the top four party leaders in order of seniority.

The documented line of succession will avoid a repeat of the 2004 Swapo extraordinary congress when Pohamba had to vie against Hidipo Hamutenya, who has since left the party and formed the Rally for Democracy and Progress, and Prime Minister Nahas Angula.

If the sitting President cannot be re-elected because of the two-term constraint, the document states that the ruling partys vice president will be the automatic choice as presidential candidate.

If Geingob is able to hold onto the vice-president position at the 2012 Swapo congress, he will be in line to contest the countrys presidency for the 2014 presidential elections.

In the case of the vice-president not being available, the secretary general is next in line, followed by the deputy secretary general in case the SG cannot stand or declines.

The document was adopted unanimously by the Central Committee members, as it consolidates the culture of democratic elections within the rank and file of our members, Ithana said at yesterdays media briefing.

The document also outlines the procedures to be followed for the election of Central Committee members, Politburo members and elections at regional, district, branch and section levels within the ruling party.

It also provides detailed procedures to be followed to recall the partys cadres who fail to perform at Government level or as elected office bearers.

Ithana said the document will help avoid election disputes in the party.

The approval comes after the Swapo Party Youth League made several calls on the Politburo and Central Committee to exhaust all internal democratic processes and provide the rank and file of the movement with a list of the preferred candidates for the top four positions at congresses.

SPYL particularly expressed reservations about any repeat of the 2004 extraordinary congress where Pohamba contested against Angula and Hamutenya, and called for guided democracy where the interest of the party reigns supreme over the personal interests of individual members.

Following the 2004 extraordinary congress, Swapo was plagued by internal divisions, ultimately leading to some senior members leaving the party and forming the RDP.

Recently they also said that they want the presidential candidates to come from the top four to ensure continuity from within the party.

With Swapo being a strong contender for the November elections, Pohamba will most probably be re-elected but will have to hand over the party reins to the vice-president midway through his second term as Namibias leader.

When Geingob was elected unopposed to the position of vice president in November 2007, The Namibian stated that he was the heir apparent and that he had moved one step closer to taking over the reins at Swapo.

It was the clearest indication yet that Geingob was being lined up to take over the countrys leadership from Pohamba.

Saturdays Politburo session, also attended by the partys founding president Sam Nujoma, put a stamp of approval on Geingobs candidature as next in line to rule Namibia.

Geingob was nominated by Justice Minister Ithana, who has since become the partys SG and will be the preferred candidate in case he does not take up the position in terms of the new rules.

The Namibian

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