Profile: Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah

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The newly nominated deputy prime minister, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, will be the first to hold an additional portfolio in government. Nandi-Ndaitwah, who is currently the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has a master’s degree in diplomatic studies, as well as a post-graduate diploma in international relations from Keele University, UK.

Nandi-Ndaitwah, a former Swapo Youth League chairperson for northern Namibia, has had ministerial status since 1996 when she started working as the Director General of Women Affairs in the Office of the President. She would eventually head the Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare, in 2002.

Among her achievements is the Combating of Domestic Violence Act, the Bill for which she tabled in the National Assembly in 2002. She guided the Bill through parliament amid criticism and jokes from male MPs. She had to warn Swapo MPs that chauvinism is against the party constitution. She has been consistent in her call for equal representation in the country’s elected leaders, going as far as to call for a 30 percent women representation among elected leaders as the 50 percent target is unrealistic.

Nandi-Ndaitwah has held several senior positions within Swapo. She was born on October 29, 1952, at Onamutai in Oshana Region and joined Swapo in 1966 while a student at Odibo Missionary School. She was later to become a teacher at the same school. She went into exile in1974 after growing persecution of the SPYL leadership and went on to represent the movement in central and eastern Africa.

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