Congress of Democrats

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For the South African Anti-Apartheid organization, see South African Congress of Democrats.
Congress of Democrats
President Benjamin Ulenga
Founded March 1999
Headquarters No. 8 Storch Street, Windhoek West, Windhoek
Women's wing Women Democrats
Ideology Democratic socialism
Political position Centre-left
International affiliation None
Colors Blue and Yellow
Seats in the National Assembly
1 / 72
Local councillors
2 / 327
Party flag
Website of CoD
Politics of Namibia
Political parties
Coat of arms of Namibia.svg
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CoD symbol

The Congress of Democrats (CoD) is a political party in Namibia, led by Ben Ulenga. It is an opposition party represented in the National Assembly.

2004 elections[edit]

In the parliamentary election 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[edit]

The CoD held an extraordinary party congress at Keetmanshoop in May 2008, and Ulenge was re-elected as CoD President; he defeated Ignatius Shixwameni 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 Schimming-Chase to seek the return of about 260,000 Namibian dollars belonging to the party, which, according to the Ulenga faction, Shixwameni and Schiming-Chase had diverted and spent.[1] In late 2007, Shimwameni's group formed a new party, the All People's Party.[2]

On July 17, 2008,[3] 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.[3][4] 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.[3]

2009 election results[edit]

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.


  1. ^ Brigitte Weidlich, "CoD's Ben Ulenga to sue 'rebel' MPs", The Namibian, December 21, 2007.
  2. ^ "Namibia's opposition splits, new party emerges", Panapress (, January 22, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c "CoD congress set for October", The Namibian, August 8, 2008.
  4. ^ Kuvee Kangueehi, "Namibia: Ulenga Accepts Court Ruling", New Era, Windhoek (, July 21, 2008.

External links[edit]