Nudo’s Mbai To Call It A Day

16 Feb 2018 15:10pm
By Edward Mumbuu

WINDHOEK, 16 FEB (NAMPA) – President of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo), Asser Uatjavi Mbai will bring an end to his political career when the party holds its elective congress in May.
In an interview with Nampa recently, Mbai said he was nearing the twilight of his political career and with his 70th birthday fast approaching, it is only fitting to hang up his political gloves.
“I am approaching my 70th birthday next year so really, I am not convinced that I must come back again [as president]. It will depend on the congress,” said the Nudo president.
Mbai said he will avail himself for retirement at the congress.
Born in Otjozondjupa’s regional capital, Otjiwarongo, Mbai attended primary school in both that town and later Tsumeb.
In 1968, Mbai came to the capital, Windhoek, to get his secondary education at Augustineum Secondary School, a mecca of excellence at the time.
Soon after completing high school, due to his good command of English and Afrikaans, he was snatched up by the then South West Africa Broadcasting Corporation (now Namibian Broadcasting Corporation) Otjiherero service in 1970.
Mbai’s radio journey saw him go from a radio presenter and full-time political journalist in 1972, to station manager of three radio stations - Otjiherero, Damara/Nama and Setswana.
On the political front, 1972 was the year in which he was introduced to mainstream politics by the late Ovaherero Paramount Chief, Clemence Kapuuo, aged just 22. He has been a Nudo member since, which later became an affiliate of the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), the present day Popular Democratic Movement, in 1977.
At the dawn of independence, due to his political affiliation to Nudo, Mbai received his marching orders from the NBC.
In the wake of this, he joined Agra Namibia where he was trained and became the first black livestock and property auctioneer until 1992.
That year, Mbai got the first taste of political office when he became the founder regional councillor of the Okakarara Constituency, where he remained for 12 years.
He formed part of the Nudo group that defected from DTA in 2004, a few months after Nudo became a fully-fledged political party. Nudo at the time accused DTA of failing to advance the interests of the Herero people.
Fast forward to 2005, when he replaced Professor Mburumba Kerina in the National Assembly.
He has been a Member of Parliament since. In 2014, Mbai ascended to the Nudo presidency, succeeding late Ovaherero Traditional Authority Chief, Kuaima Riruako after the latter’s death on 02 June 2014.
Mbai described Riruako as a “special man”, and narrated how difficult a task it has been to fill the void he left.
“I took over from a very special person. It was really difficult to fit myself into his position, it was quite a big challenge,” he said.
However, Mbai maintained that his stint at the helm of Nudo has yielded positive results.
“I succeeded to mend and to keep the party together, to keep the party united despite the absence of such a courageous man [Riruako] who was leading the party,” he noted.
Mbai added that he found himself in a position where the youth of the party stood up and were eager to take up leadership positions.
“I had to make sure that their movement and determination do not disturb peace, stability and unity in the party,” he said.
Another challenge for Mbai and Nudo over the years has been the under-representation of women and youth in the party’s leadership.
“As President Hage Geingob said, we must address the gender situation. Our party has struggled for so many years to promote women to come forth and take up leadership positions.”
This should be addressed when Nudo holds its congress, according to Mbai.
“We are challenged as a party and we shall address that issue of promoting gender balance in our party and also the youth,” said Mbai, in what is seemingly a response to Geingob’s call to all political parties in Namibia to emulate Swapo’s 50/50 gender representation style.
Originally slated for 04 May 2018, the Nudo congress was recently postponed to 25 May 2018 amid a clash of dates with the genocide federal class action lawsuit by the Nama and Ovaherero authorities against the German government which takes place on 03 May 2018 in New York.