Namibia’s ruling SWAPO party elected Hage Geingob as its president at the weekend, the party said on Monday.
Geingob, president of Namibia since 2015 but acting president of the ruling party, won 574 out of 766 votes at the elective congress, said Sisa Namandje, a lawyer who presided over the voting.
The former liberation movement held the elective congress amid heightened divisions among party cadres.
The decision by cadres to challenge the party’s acting president for the top four leadership positions created a deepening rift in the party prior to the congress.
Geingob, who has been acting president since April 2015, did not take kindly to the decision by other cadres including Ekandjo and Angula to challenge him and his slate.
Ahead of the congress, Geingob who is also party vice-president chose Nandi-Ndaitwah, Shaningwa and Hausiku as his slate.
The congress was preceded by a month of fractious campaign during which party heavyweights engaged in public slagging with accusations of disloyalty, incompetency, tribalism, and dictatorship in a public confrontation.
This open division has never been witnessed in SWAPO’s 57 years of existence.
Geingob and his supporters accused other candidates of tribalism and trying to create two centres of powers in Namibia.
His supporters called for his endorsement as sole candidate for the presidency.
On the other hand, Ekandjo, Angula and their supporters said they were exercising their democratic rights as enshrined in the party’s constitution.
The constitution dictates that all leadership positions become vacant at congress, and must be filled via secret ballot.
Geingob future as head of state is hinged on his winning the contest, should he want to stand for the second term as president of Namibia.
According to the party tradition, whoever is elected the president of SWAPO will automatically stand as its presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections.
In case Geingob had failed to secure the presidency, the outcome of the congress will not have an effect on his current status as President of Namibia.
He will remain the head of state until his term ends in March 2019.
That means he will only rule for one five-year term. The Namibian Constitution limits the presidential terms to two terms only.