Congress of Democrats
The Congress of Democrats is a political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 in Namibia
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia , is a country in southern Africa whose western border is the Atlantic Ocean. It shares land borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east and South Africa to the south and east. It gained independence from South Africa on 21 March...

, led by Ben Ulenga
Ben Ulenga
Benjamin Ulenga is a Namibian politician. A member of the National Assembly of Namibia, he is the President of the Congress of Democrats , an opposition political party....

. It is an opposition party represented in the National Assembly
National Assembly of Namibia
The National Assembly of Namibia is the lower chamber of the country's bicameral Parliament. It has a total of 78 members. 72 members are directly elected through a system of party-list proportional representation and serve five-year terms. Six additional members are appointed by the President.The...


The party is an observer of the Socialist International
Socialist International
The Socialist International is a worldwide organization of democratic socialist, social democratic and labour political parties. It was formed in 1951.- History :...


2004 elections

In the parliamentary election
Namibian parliamentary election, 2004
General elections were held in Namibia on 15 and 16 November 2004 to elect the President and National Assembly. The National Assembly election resulted in a landslide win for SWAPO, which won 55 of the 78 seats with over 75% of the vote. SWAPO's candidate for president, Hifikepunye Pohamba, won the...

 held on 15 and 16 November 2004, the party won 7.2% of popular votes and five out of 78 seats, making it the second-largest party behind SWAPO.

2008 controversy

The CoD held an extraordinary party congress at Keetmanshoop
Keetmanshoop is a city in Karas Region, southern Namibia, lying on the Trans-Namib Railway from Windhoek to Upington in South Africa. It is named after Johann Keetman, a German industrialist and founder of the city....

 in May 2008, and Ulenge was re-elected as CoD President; he defeated Ignatius Shixwameni
Ignatius Shixwameni
Ignatius Nkotongo Shixwameni is a Namibian politician. He is the leader of the All People's Party.-Early life and education:...

 by 14 votes, and Shixwameni, rejecting the outcome, left the congress in protest along with about half of the delegates. Shixwameni alleged rigging and claimed that his CoD faction represented the majority of the party; his faction went to the High Court to press these claims. On December 16, 2008, Shixwameni and 21 of his supporters announced their resignations from the CoD, but the faction led by Ulenga said that Shixwameni's resignation was invalid because he and five other party members had already been expelled on August 11, 2007. The Ulenga faction accused Shixwameni of "revolt[ing] against the party and its democratically elected leadership by organising illegitimate parallel national structures against CoD structures, and by attempting to usurp the national leadership of the party" following his defeat at the May 2008 congress. The Ulenga faction also said in December 2007 that it was suing Shixwameni and Nora Schiming-Chase to seek the return of about 260,000 Namibian dollar
Namibian dollar
The dollar has been the currency of Namibia since 1993. It is normally abbreviated with the dollar sign $, or alternatively N$ to distinguish it from other dollar-denominated currencies...

s belonging to the party, which, according to the Ulenga faction, Shixwameni and Schiming-Chase had diverted and spent. In late 2007, Shimwameni's group formed a new party, the All People's Party
All People's Party (Namibia)
The All People's Party is a political party in Namibia.Registered with the Electoral Commission of Namibia in January 2008, the party was initially made up primarily of former members of the Congress of Democrats and SWAPO political parties...


On July 17, 2008, the High Court nullified the May 2007 congress and ruled that the CoD members expelled in August 2007 had to be allowed back into the party. The court also ordered that a new congress be held within five months. Ulenga accepted this decision. Schimming-Chase, who had previously been Vice-President of the CoD, returned to her post as a result of the High Court's decision, but she was not allowed to resume her other previously held post of Chief Whip. In early August, the CoD's National Executive Committee set the date of the new congress as October 24–26.

2009 election results

In the 2009 general election, the Congress plummeted to eighth place in both presidential and assembly votes, receiving less than one percent of all votes; whereas the All People's Party ran sixth in both contests. Congress lost all but one of its five former seats in the Assembly, and joined the APP (which took one seat) in being tied for fifth through ninth place among parties in the Assembly.
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