Parrots Uganda, a local online publication recently published an article on the 20th of January 2023, about, Hon. Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah, the Namibian Deputy Prime Minister asking a renowned Kampala businessman Hamis Kiggudu to build a football stadium in Namibia.
“Namibian president in waiting calls on businessman Hamis Kiggundu to build a world-class sports stadium in Namibia,” reads Parrots Ug’s headline.
Kiggundu who also took to his X account the news implies the same thing as the publication.
“It was such a pleasure hosting Hon Dr Netumbo Nandi -Ndaitwah the first female Namibian president in waiting ….she was so impressed by Nakivubo stadium project and invited me to do the same in Namibia,” he tweeted.
“Namibian president in waiting”? And “ the first female Namibian President in waiting” are what we draw attention to. Is Dr. Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwa in her current government position as the Deputy prime minister, a president in line, despite the Namibian president being alive and still in power?
The current president of Namibia is, President Hage Geingob, and he is still alive despite his poor health status as of last week.
A quick internet search about the Namibian president will bring you articles by international news outlets like Aljazeera which notes that the Namibian President, Hage Geingob is still alive and undergoing treatment for cancerous cells discovered during a check as part of an annual routine.
Considering that H.E. Geingob is neither resigning to attend to his health as suggested by political critics, nor dead, The office of the Namibian presidency took to X and issued a statement that stated that he is to continue serving his country with the help of his cabinet.
“… The Presidency wishes to inform the Namibian public that President Geingob will continue to carry out presidential duties, alongside the Cabinet, of which he is the Chairperson,” the statement read.
There is no vacancy to fill yet.
We need to also note that H.E. Geinob’s term is coming to an end, by November 2024, this makes it less than a year from today. Both the Parrots headline and Businessman, Ham’s tweet in terms of wording are working with “ Ifs”, which have not yet been actualised despite being provided for in the Namibian constitution, for clear scenarios( resignation, death, presidential impeachment).
According to the Namibian constitution, article 29(4) (1), “If a President dies, resigns or is removed from office in terms of this Constitution, the vacant office of President shall be filled for the unexpired period thereof as follows:
- If the vacancy occurs not more than one (1) year before the date on which Presidential elections are required to be held, the vacancy shall be filled in accordance with the provisions of Article 34…
Article 34 which is precisely about succession says, “ If the office of President becomes vacant or if the President is otherwise unable to fulfil the duties of the office, the following persons shall in the order provided for in this paragraph act as President for the unexpired portion of the President’s term of office or until the President is able to resume office, whichever is the earlier:
- the Prime Minister;
- the Deputy-Prime Minister;
- a person appointed by the Cabinet.
Article 34 was amended and included the vice president in the number one position in the line of succession
Article 34 of the Namibian Constitution is amended by – (a) the substitution for Sub-Article (1) of the following Sub-Article: “(1) If the office of President becomes vacant or if the President is otherwise unable to fulfil the duties of the office, the following persons shall in the order provided for in this Sub-Article act as President for the unexpired portion of the President’s term of office or until the President is able to resume office, whichever is the earlier:
(a) the Vice-President;
(b) the Prime Minister;
(c) the Deputy-Prime Minister; and
(d) a person appointed by the President from the members of Cabinet in terms of Sub-Article (2).”; and….
This would translate into;
- H.E Nangolo Mbumba
- Dr Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila
- Hon. Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah
- Any person appointed by cabinet, meaning it could politically be either one of the above or none of them,
Number 2 and 3 of the succession plan are females, which also disqualifies Hamis’ statement that implies, Hon Netumbo Nandi Ndaitwah would be the first female to be the line of succession should the president, resign or in the other circumstances as provided for by the constitution.
Since the announcement of the president’s health, various political analysts in Namibia have questioned the fitness of President Geingob to keep running the affairs of the country despite his poor health.
These have asked the president to resign and appoint someone to take over the office until a new president is elected. Something that he has not heeded to as of today.
Hon. Netumbo also serves as Vice President of South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO), the ruling party in Namibia. She was last year appointed as the party’s presidential representative in the upcoming elections in November 2024. And this only makes her a party presidential candidate.
Since President Geingob has not appointed anyone to take over his office as he is away for treatment, he is still president of Namibia until a new president is voted into power.
The headline for the story is inaccurate and misrepresents the current state of Namibia’s presidentship and facts on the ground. Hon. Netumbo is not the first female in the succession plan as the Kampala businessman purports, it is all exaggeration for individual reasons, as Dr Sarah the prime minister is female too.