WINDHOEK, Namibia – Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah could become the first female president of Namibia after President Hage Geingob said she would be the ruling SWAPO party’s sole candidate in elections due next year.

Geingob, addressing a SWAPO central committee meeting on Saturday, said he was aware of plots to stop Nandi-Ndaitwah, the current vice president, from succeeding him.

“We are going to have one candidate only when time comes. That will be comrade Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah.

“So, let’s stop the rumours, dreams, fears and so on. The time is not here yet. The appropriate time [will come]. And we will campaign because it’s SWAPO at stake. There are a lot of things at stake. SWAPO and the country,” Geingob said.

“When you have processes, systems and institutions, it’s not [about] an individual. It’s a question of our party and country. Therefore, we have a person who will lead us, supported by all of us, whether you were opposed to [her]… that’s politics.

“It’s democracy. You have the right to oppose, disagree or condemn a person. But when that person is elected, that’s why I kept on saying, don’t play the person, play the ball. When the game is over, you kick the ball away.”

It was not clear if Geingob’s intervention would stop the plotting.

Nandi-Ndaitwah would be Namibia’s fourth president since the country gained independence from South Africa in 1990.

“When it’s over, it’s over. I hope we don’t go and have factions from now on. I’ve been hearing it still. It’s over. We have elected candidates. When the time comes, we will properly campaign for her. We will do the campaign, some of us, so that she is elected on behalf of SWAPO,” Geingob told his party.

Sam Nujoma was independent Namibia’s first president and was succeeded by Hifikepunye Pohamba. Geingob is serving the last of his two terms.