World

Namibia interim president says no plan to run in this year’s election

2024.02.04 13:16

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© Reuters. Namibia’s newly appointed President Nangolo Mbumba and his spouse, Sustjie Mbumba embrace one another, following the dying of Hage Geingob, in Windhoek, Namibia, February 4, 2024. REUTERS/Sharon Kavhu

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By Nyasha Nyaungwa

WINDHOEK (Reuters) – Namibia’s Nangolo Mbumba, who took over as interim president of the southern African nation on Sunday after Hage Geingob died in workplace, mentioned he had no plans to run in elections due on the finish of the yr.

That means Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, who replaces Mbumba as vice president and was nominated by the governing South West Africa People’s Organisation (SWAPO) simply over a yr in the past to be its candidate, will stay on the poll.

If she wins, she would be the southern African nation’s first feminine president.

“I am not going to be around for the elections so don’t panic,” Mbumba mentioned in a transfer that’s uncommon amongst African leaders who’ve usually sought to retain energy as soon as it’s in their fingers.

“My aim was to be a school principal, which I achieved and now I have to thank the Namibian people for the honour they have bestowed on me to be their president, for a short period,” Mbumba mentioned at his swearing-in ceremony.

SWAPO’s structure forbids making adjustments as soon as the candidate has been picked two years earlier than the ballot is due.

The social gathering has dominated Namibia – a mining hotspot with considerable diamonds, uranium and in addition lithium wanted for electrical automobile batteries – since independence from South Africa in 1990.

Geingob, in energy since 2015, died aged 82 in the early hours of Sunday after a short battle with most cancers.

“It is poignant and reassuring to note that today, even in this time of heavy loss, our nation remains calm and stable,” Mbumba mentioned. “This is owing to the visionary leadership … of president Geingob who was the chief architect of the Namibian constitution.”

Geingob leaves behind a middle-income nation preventing to push financial development above 3% following a pandemic-era slowdown and reverse racial inequalities left over from colonialism and annexation by South Africa’s former white minority authorities.

He led Namibia’s efforts to recast itself as a pacesetter of the worldwide inexperienced economic system and in 2022 Namibia turned the primary African nation to agree to provide the European Union with inexperienced hydrogen and minerals wanted for clear vitality.

Last yr, Namibia started setting up Africa’s first decarbonised iron plant, to be powered solely by inexperienced hydrogen – which is extracted from water utilizing electrolysis powered by renewable vitality – blazing a path in the reform of steelmaking, one of many world’s most polluting industries.

These developments put Namibia forward of its economically greater and extra industrialised neighbour South Africa, whose inexperienced vitality transition efforts have been faltering.

(This story has been refiled to repair Nangolo Mbumba’s title in paragraph 2)

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