By Kuvee Kangueehi
The feud in the Congress of Democrats (CoD) appears to be headed for court again. A faction led by party vice president, Nora Schimming-Chase, has vowed to approach the High Court for the second time.
The faction that calls itself CoD Majority claims that CoD president, Ben Ulenga, and his group are in contempt of the High Court order, which was handed down last week.
Moses Katjiuongua, the CoD Majority spokesperson, said his group would consult lawyers this morning to launch a new court application after the first meeting with the Ulenga group on Monday ended prematurely.
Katjiuongua and Schimming-Chase walked out of the meeting after the two factions failed to agree on a number of crucial issues pertaining to organising a CoD congress, as per the High Court order.
The two factions differ in their interpretation of the court order. The Ulenga faction believes that the ruling requires the CoD leadership that existed prior to the Keetmanshoop extra-ordinary congress to organise the upcoming congress, while Schimming-Chase argues that a neutral person should organise the congress.
A party insider claims that Schimming-Chase has only realised now that the “legal victory they attained last week is an empty one” because the ruling puts Ulenga back into the driving seat.
The insider added that the Schimming-Chase group has depleted over the last six months, as key members of her group have left the party.
One of Schimming-Chase’s close allies Ignatius Shixwameni, who vigorously challenged Ulenga for the presidency at the last congress, has left the party and formed his own party taking along many of the Schimming-Chase supporters. The former secretary general of the CoD, Kalla Gertze, who should now have been at the helm of the party, passed away at the beginning of the year and Ulenga supporter, Rosa Namises, is the acting secretary general of the party.
The party insider also believes that with Shixwameni gone, there is nobody strong enough in the party to challenge Ulenga for the presidency and that a congress will be a useless exercise, as the party will never unite again.
The party faces a serious problem in organising the congress because most of the structures in the regions have collapsed since 2004.
There is fear again that the two factions will hand pick their delegates to congress.
The court ordered that if the party cannot agree on an individual to be the chairperson overseeing the elections, the Law Society of Namibia would be instructed to appoint a candidate. The Ulenga group has expressed concern about the order saying Advocate Esi Schimming-Chase, the daughter of Nora Schimming-Chase, is a council member of the Law Society and his group is concerned about impartiality.
The CoD was formed in 1999. During the elections, they obtained seven seats and did particularly well in areas where sections of the population had become disaffected with Swapo rule, such as Rehoboth and Caprivi.
The party is now fragmented and is unlikely to retain its five seats in Parliament in next year’s national election.