The stage is set in Gobabis tomorrow when Swapo Party Vice President hopefuls will be paraded before the region’s delegates to the ruling party’s congress at the end of November.
The three candidates to convince the 38 Omaheke delegates to the year-end congress are Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the incumbent Vice President, Saara Kuukongelwa-Amadhila and Pohamba Shifeta.
This will be round two of the internally organised campaign sessions of the party, as the candidates are not allowed to address public rallies to garner for support.
The constituencies in the region are divided along the supporters of Ndaitwah and Kuukongelwa Amadhila. The two camps are said to be led by Kaire Mbuende, who is an elder from the region and to be yielding influence in the region – he is in the corner of Ndaitwah. However, his influence which is said to be waning is being challenged by Obeth Kandjoze, who is representing the aspirations of the young Turks, supporting Amadhila. It will be a battle of two rodeos, a young rider testing the declining skills of an old horse.
Although Kandjoze is out of the country with President Hage Geingob attending the 77th United Nations General Assembly, the young Turk is said to be commanding his campaign from across the Atlantic Ocean.
From the look of things, it will be a two horse race between the women, with Shifeta said to be with a slim outside chance.
Mbuende commands following in the Okurukambe Constituency. Rocco Nguvauva and Solomo Hepunya, are said to be his staunches lieutenants during this contest, as they were during the Rally for Democracy and Progress days, when their association with the late Hidipo Hamutenya did not help their cause in Swapo. It is believed that the same crowd who were suspected of moving the RDP agenda in the region at the time, despite not having left the party, have regrouped and form the nucleus of Ndaitwah’s support base.
Kandjoze appears to be swinging the vote in Kuukongelwa-Amadhila’s favour in Aminius, Otjinene and Otjombinde constituencies with the rest remaining undecided.
Kuukongelwa-Amadhila’s support is expected to come from younger delegates, while Ndaitwah is backed by the old guard in the region.
Questions by Ohaheke youth in general in those destined for the congress, are what new ideas and programmes the old guard have in mind for their future.
What has been a concern to many delegates is that Ndaitwah has been campaigning for the last three years, as the incumbent in the position, while Kuukongelwa-Amadhila and Shifeta only got out of the blocks now. However, the lack of infusion of new blood and younger vocal followers in her camp is said to be counting against her campaign.
Younger crop of delegates to the congress is where Kuukongelwa-Amadhila is expected to harvest her votes and her campaign although coming on stream late is said to be gaining momentum.
The campaign being an inter party contest will be done behind closed doors with no media allowed.