Namibia. In January, President Hage Geingob introduced a ban for politicians and officials to travel abroad. The ban, which lasted for a month, was added due to the country’s growing budget deficit. In order to save money, the president himself had, in his own words, refrained from using the government’s aircraft during several of his trips. According to Countryaah.com, Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia, a country located in Southern Africa. Another saving measure the government took was to force thousands of soldiers to be free to reduce military bases on food and electricity costs.
In early February, President Geingob dismissed Interior Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana and Youth Minister Jerry Ekandjo. These two had challenged Geingob in an attempt to take over the leadership of the SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organization) government party at its November 2017 congress. Both ministers had been in government since independence in 1990.
In October, Geingob said he intended to work to accelerate the redistribution of agricultural land to the black population through expropriation, that is, white landowners should be forced to sell. The current system is based on the principle of “willing buyer, willing seller”.
The election to the Legislative Assembly was held under the supervision of UNTAG in November 1989, and was won by a clear margin of SWAPO, which received 57.3 percent of the vote and a pure majority with 41 out of 72 representatives in the Assembly. The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) became the main opposition party, with 21 representatives. SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma was elected Namibia’s first president by the National Assembly. On March 21, 1990, Namibia became an independent republic.
SWAPO strengthened its position in the subsequent parliamentary elections, and in the 1994 elections they received just over 76 percent of the vote. Nujoma was re-elected in 1994, and Parliament amended the Constitution in 1998 so that he could be re-elected for a third term, in 1999. This prompted the SWAPO veteran and union leader Ben Ulenga to form Congress of Democrats (COD), which became the largest opposition party. COD did not weaken SWAPO, but further divided the opposition.
In the 2004 election, which was also won by a clear margin of SWAPO, the national father Nujoma resigned in 2005 and was followed by another veteran of the liberation struggle, Hifikepunye Pohamba, who received 75.4 percent of the vote. He led SWAPO to a new electoral victory in November 2009, with a rallying party from the ruling party, Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), as the second largest party. Also in the 2014 elections, SWAPO retained the majority with a record turnout of 86 percent. Party leader Hage Geingob became president. He was re-elected to the post at the 2019 election, but now the turnout has dropped to 56 percent. This is the lowest turnout a presidential candidate from SWAPO has had since the release.
As a government party, SWAPO has pursued a moderate, social democratic policy of mixed economy, but without making the major changes, as the liberation movement agitated. The close economic ties to South Africa were further strengthened after the regime change there in 1994. No fundamental changes were made to the colonial settler economy, although in 1995 a land reform, which was gradually implemented, was not implemented. In 2005, the first expropriations of large farms (owned by whites) were carried out – for the distribution of land to (black) small farmers. The goal is to provide land for about 250,000 landless people.
With its dominant size, SWAPO has been in control of developments in Namibia without resorting to direct political repression. Equally, the party is accused of power arrogance, with a regime like the one-party government. Among other things, the party has been accused of abusing the state apparatus in election campaigns, and questions have been asked about the independence of the judicial system. Discontent in the Caprivi Strip in 1999 led to an unsuccessful armed uprising there, initiated by the Caprivi Liberation Front (CLF). In 2007, ten men were convicted of treason for standing behind this uprising.
Namibia’s constitution does not specifically take into account the indigenous population and has not signed international conventions; the san people experience discrimination – even though the constitution prohibits ethnic discrimination. A basis for the post-independence policy has been national reconciliation, but the san is to some extent oblivious because many were enlisted by the military units of the apartheid regime. San is a small and vulnerable group of people of about 35,000, as is the Himba people on the Kunene River, which number about 15,000.
A particularly vulnerable issue is internal conditions in SWAPO during the liberation war, as it was conducted in the hunting of alleged agents of the enemy. Many were interned and tortured, first in Tanzania and Zambia, then in the SWAPO base area in Angola; 700 should also have disappeared. The party itself claims that it has done nothing wrong. In 2007, human rights groups asked the International Criminal Court to investigate former President Nujoma for the killings committed by SWAPO, without causing any formal indictment.