Mensah-Williams not interested in Swapo vice-presidency

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Staff Reporter

Windhoek-National Council chairperson Margaret Mensah-Williams has poured cold water on any prospects of standing for the position of Swapo vice-president at this year’s elective congress.

In accordance with the Swapo 50/50 gender representation principle the vice-president’s position could be contested by female party members if the president’s position remains occupied by a man.

Speaking to New Era this week in an interview to be fully published tomorrow, Mensah-Williams did not rule out the possibility of having a shot at the vice-presidency in the future, but said she will let it pass this time around.

This, she says, is because she does not believe she has acquired enough acumen for the job, which she believes requires more experience than she currently possesses.

“I am not interested right now. Maybe in the future. I’m true to the culture of Swapo. Sometimes you should have patience, learn and build experience,” she reasoned.

“It makes you a better leader. We must also learn to take each step of the stairs. I cannot want to jump from branch chairperson’s position to a position in the politburo.”
The five-time Swapo councillor for Khomasdal Constituency is among the most experienced female leaders in the ruling party, having also been deputy chairperson of the National Council for a long time.

Mensah-Williams also took a swipe at party members who use the mere excuse of having been nominated to stand for positions that they remotely qualify to occupy.
“You must not just be wanted by the people. You as an individual must also be convinced about your competencies to deliver what is required. We are servants of the people. The party is always the bigger picture,” the former school teacher and youth activist said.

She also took aim at the culture of entitlement, which she says has taken root in the party and is a contributing factor to soaring incidences of tribalism in the country.
Some people in the party and other spheres of government have held a tight grip onto positions because they feel entitled to such positions and believe only they are qualified to occupy them.

“Swapo has accorded us equal rights and equal opportunities. But it doesn’t always have to be the Margarets,” she noted.

“We have moulded people in the party. We are grooming them and equip them with necessary competency. But at the end of the day democracy must decide. I’ve grown a lot and I shouldn’t think like I’m the only one. There are many young women out there, including those with disability.”

Mensah-Williams, when asked what her political ambitions are, said a position in the central committee of the party would satisfy her for now.

In tomorrow’s interview, she is challenging her detractors to produce evidence of their claims that she was a staunch DTA member, amongst other issues discussed.

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