Namibia Faces Ballot Box for Third Phase Govt

Namibia, dubbed as the Land of the Brave goes to the polls next week on Friday (28.11.14) to elect their new President and members of the two Parliaments, the National Assembly and the National Council.

Namibia, formerly South West Africa, was claimed by German imperial forces in the late 19th century and became a South African protectorate after World War I.

In 1966, South Africa’s mandate was revoked by the United Nations, and the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) began a guerrilla campaign for independence.

After years of liberation war, a UN-supervised transition led to independence on 21st March1990, and SWAPO leader Sam Nujoma was chosen as president.

The outgoing President Lucas Hifikepunye Pohamba is winding up his tenure after a spell of ten years paving the way to a third phase- government that will be sworn in on 21st March, 2015.

Namibia unlike other African countries, the General Elections are in November but the new government is installed on the Independence Day on March 21, and this time around would be celebrating a quarter century of the Namibian’s independence.

They do not have a problem of vacuum in leadership from November before getting a new government in March as this has been their procedure.

Thanks God, all these years the ruling party, SWAPO had been returned to power, I do not want to imagine what would happen if an opposition party emerges victorious would they wait until March while the vanquished ruling party still holds on?

These months of October and November have been tense as the country was deeply engaged in tirades of political campaigns.

Originally, it was predicted that twenty-two candidates would contest the presidential election but at the end, only nine political parties submitted presidential candidates.

The main contestants are Dr. Hage Geingob of SWAPO, Hidipo Hamutenya of Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP), Ben Ulenga of Congress of Democrats and the firebrand McHenry Venaami of Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA).

The official opposition Party is Hamutenya’s RDP. SWAPO is expected to win though it may lose some of its old veterans, the likes of Jerry Ekadjo, Pendukeni Ithana, Utoni Nujoma, Petros Ilonga, Ben Gurirab, Ben Amadhila and others who received low points in the party list of the proportional representation. Geigob expected to have new blood in his government!

The real opposition in Namibian political spectrum started to show up after the first defection from SWAPO when diplomat-cum politician Ben Ulenga disagreed with the Party decision to change the Constitution to give the third term for President Nujoma in 2000.

But a more serious crack from Swapo came in 2004 when the two gmen from SWAPO were all vying to succeed Nujoma, Dr.Hage Geingob the former Prime Minister and Hidipo Hamutenya formerly the Minister of Trade and Industry.

Sensing the danger of creating divisions within the Party, Nujoma reshuffled his government and placed Geingob to a lackluster Ministry of Regional Administration which he turned down and imposed himself for a second exile to USA.

Hamutenya was made Minister of Foreign Affairs before he was fired over TV announcement due to his insistence to stand for Presidency of the country on SWAPO ticket against the preferred choice of Nujoma, his lifetime ally Pohamba.

However Dr. Geingob could be rehabilitated and came back where he was given a ministerial post, and later Vice President of SWAPO which gave him leverage to stand for Presidency.

In late November and early December last year, SWAPO held its muchanticipated party congress, in which it elected its leaders, including party vice president.

The congress had been preceded by a bitter succession fight, as the SWAPO vice president would be the party’s 2014 presidential candidate.

Trade and Industry Minister Geingob, the incumbent, won the race, defeating Local and Regional Government Minister Jerry Ekandjo and Justice Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana, who was also the party’s secretary general.

Days later, Dr. Geingob was appointed prime minister, who is from the minority Damara community, likely to become the first Namibian president not from the Oshiwambo-speaking majority.

In gender balance, what you call here 5050, in Namibia they call it “zebra system.” whereby if a minister is a woman, the deputy minister will be a man, and vice versa.

Namibia is a higher middle income country with an estimated annual GDP per capita of US$5,828 but has extreme inequalities in income distribution and standard of living. Its economy is driven by its natural resources.

Mining and fishing are important contributors, while livestock is the biggest sector of the agricultural industry.

Tourism is growing rapidly. Namibia is the world’s fifth-largest producer of uranium and sixth largest diamond producer.

The world’s leading diamond producer, De Beers, and the Namibian government (Namdeb) are mining in a 50:50 joint venture. Interestingly Namdeb is mining a growing portion of its diamonds under the sea.

Has the land issue been settled? About 4,000, mostly white, commercial farmers own almost half of Namibia’s arable land and redistribution of property has been slow despite efforts to accelerate the process.

The governments of Germany and Britain are expected to finance Namibia’s land reform process.

Those twenty five years of nationhood of Namibia were indeed eventful. Secessionist fighting in Namibia’s Zambezi (Caprivi) region between 1998 and 1999 led some 400 refugees to flee to neighboring Botswana.

Anticorruption was a major theme of Pohamba’s presidency but, corruption remains a problem and investigations of major cases are yet to be finalized, The Anti- Corruption Commission has considerable autonomy, as it reports only to the National Assembly, though it lacks prosecutorial authority.

Namibia was ranked 58 out of 176 countries surveyed in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index, and sixth overall in the 2012 Ibrahim Index of African Governance.

The coming to power of Dr. Hage Geingob will continue with the moderate approach on the question of land rather than the radical change that had been aocated by the SWAPO Youth League.

Napandula unene Namibiians!(Thank you Namibians) m g o s i w a – s u i 8 7 @ g m a i l , c o m +255754342711 Senior Citizen

Source : Tanzania Daily News