Self-proclaimed National Unity Democratic Organisation (NUDO) president, Esther Utjiua Muinjangue, believes that the infighting within the party that has seen it split it into warring factions is good PR for the opposition outfit.
In an interview with the Windhoek Observer this week, the University of Namibia (UNAM) lecturer said the infighting has had an unexpected positive impact on the party as it has created awareness amongst the public who were unaware of its existence.
“In the past, the party has been silent and now for the first time, everyone has become aware of the party and people are more active,” Muinjangue said.
“I remember when we were campaigning; some of my students were asking me whether NUDO is a new party. Even some members who have been sleeping are now awake, it’s a good sign and that is why I believe, come the next elections, we will do better.”
She, however, admitted that the tussle for leadership positions after a chaotic elective congress at the end of May was taking a toll on the smooth running of the party.
“If I say that we are okay, I wouldn’t be honest with myself. We have a challenge and we cannot deny it. The head office is forever locked. We are using the board room at the back and for a head office of a political party to be locked every day from Monday to Friday it shows that things are definitely not running smoothly.”
Muinjangue added that the leadership dispute in the party has taken a gender turn, with another faction insisting that they cannot be led by a woman.
“It is a men thing; their ego of not wanting to accept defeat, especially from a woman is unbearable. Remember that while we were campaigning, there was a song that said a woman will never lead a political party in Namibia, especially in a predominantly Herero party.”
She lashed out at her foes in the party, who have grouped themselves under the name Team VDK 100%, for living in the past.
Muinjangue said her opponents should understand that times have changed and women should be allowed in leadership.
“It is a change that people need to adjust to. I hope as the time goes, people will accept it in their minds that this time around things have changed,” she said.
Muinjangue expressed her disappointment with her political opponents for taking their fight to the courts.
A group led by NUDO president Asser Mbai recently filed an urgent High Court application seeking the nullification of decisions taken during the elective congress at the end of May.
The group want the courts to declare that any other purported outcomes that may have arisen as a consequence of the purported elections held on 26 May 2018 be declared null and void.
The application also urged the court to restrain and interdict the Muinjangue group from passing off as or conducting themselves as office bearers.
The court case was postponed to 1 August 2018.
“We are the ones to resolve this dispute. From our side, we didn’t run to court, the other faction took us to court and now it means we have to defend ourselves.
“Our attitude after the congress was like ‘if there are things that we do not agree on, we should come together and meet each other half way’. I mean, we are mature people with mature responsibilities,” Muinjangue said.
She also claimed there was a group of concerned community members who wanted to bring the two groups together, but were discouraged after realising the other camp had taken the dispute to court.
Pressed on whether she thinks that another congress might be the solution to the leadership dispute, Muinjangue said the party’s finances would not allow the hosting of another congress.
“I don’t think there will be another congress because it has already taken place and the constitution is clear that any congress taking place should be after every five years. And financially the party won’t be in a position for another congress,” she said.
Despite the differences between the two groups, Muinjangue said she will respect the court’s verdict on the dispute, and that she will forever be a member of the NUDO party no matter the outcome.