Muinjangue rewrites history by becoming first female party president

03 Mar 2019 17:40pm
WINDHOEK, 03 MAR (NAMPA) – A new chapter has been added to the history of Namibia’s young democracy as for the first time in about three decades, a political formation elected a woman as its president.
Her name is Utjiua Muinjangue, a social justice activist, academic and lecturer at the University of Namibia.
This historic moment is part of the outcome of the third extraordinary elective congress of the National Unity Democratic Organisation (Nudo) held in Windhoek on the weekend.
It was announced on Sunday afternoon that Muinjangue had beaten her long-time rival and comrade, Vetaruhe Kandorozu who is also a councillor for the Okakarara constituency.
Muinjangue garnered a total of 240 votes, compared to Kandorozu’s 227.
This feat has also catapulted her to challenge for State presidency in November, when the nation holds the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
If nothing changes between now and November, Muinjangue might be the only female candidate on the ballot paper and certainly the first in almost 30 years in independent Namibia.
A social worker by profession, Muinjangue is no stranger to the political scene.
She had been at the fore of community activism during pre-independence Namibia; served as secretary general of Nudo’s Women’s League and is the current chairperson of the Ovaherero Genocide Foundation.
When approached by Nampa shortly after the announcement of the results, Muinjangue - known among her peers as Utjii or Nudo’s Iron Lady - was over the moon.
On being the first female in the history of the country to take charge of a political party, she said this is testament to the fact that times have evolved and that Namibians do appreciate the leadership qualities that women bring to the table.
Asked how she will ensure that her authority is not undermined by her male counterparts, Muinjangue replied: “I have been living in this community. I have been conforming to the norms of the community but there were times that I also questioned the norms of the community. Not that I was disrespectful. But I challenged that certain things need to change because culture is not static.”
Despite the joy she felt, a difficult task lies ahead of her.
“Now we have the huge responsibility of restructuring the party because it’s not easy to take over a party in which people were divided and so on,” she said of her immediate assignment.
She described the election process leading up to her crowning moment as democratic, credible, fair and transparent.
Most delegates and candidates Nampa spoke to shared similar sentiments.
“This is democracy at its best. I will rally behind the elected leadership,” were the words of Professor Jekura Kavari, who lost out to Peter Kazongominja on the position of vice president.