Namibia could have a woman President after the elections later this year, after current leader Nangolo Mbumba indicated he will not stand for the position in the polls.
The South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo) had already picked Netumbo Nandi-Ndwaitah as its presidential candidate in November.
This is according to Dr Sizo Nkala from the University of Johannesburg after Mbumba was appointed president and Nandi-Ndwaitah his deputy at the weekend following the death of Hage Geingob.
Geingob died in hospital on Sunday after undergoing treatment for cancer.
Nkala said on Monday although Mbumba was appointed president, he has already said he does not intend to stay beyond the current term, which ends in November.
This will make way for Nandi-Ndwaitah, who was already nominated by Swapo in 2022, to stand as the presidential candidate for Swapo.
Swapo has ruled Namibia since its independence in 1990.
Nkala said Nandi-Ndwaitah is guaranteed to become the first woman leader in Namibia.
“Yes, I think she is almost guaranteed to be president as she already controls the party machinery since she was nominated as the candidate in November 2022. And her assuming the vice president’s post also means she has access to the government machinery.
“Her presidency will be a historic moment for the region. It makes her the first elected female president in SADC. The other female presidents we have had in the region like Joyce Banda in Malawi and Samia Suluhu in Tanzania assumed power through appointments upon the deaths of their predecessors,” said Nkala.
Banda was appointed president of Malawi after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika in 2012.
Samia Suluhu was appointed to the position of president. following the death of John Magufuli in 2021.
Nkala said Nandi-Ndwaitah was in pole position to be elected president of Namibia after the elections in November.
He added Geingob had left a lasting legacy for the people of Namibia for his role as prime minister and later president.
Geingob first served as prime minister from 1990 until 2002. In 2012 he was again appointed prime minister until 2015. This was when he was elected president of Namibia.
His death came at the time Namibia was preparing for the elections.
It appears that the elections will go ahead as planned, said Nkala.