OWN CORRESPONDENT, Windhoek | Thursday 8.00pm.
A BILL that will allow Namibian President Sam Nujoma to stand for a third term was approved by the second house of parliament on Thursday, and now only needs Nujoma’s own signature to become law.
The controversial Namibian Constitution First Amendment Bill, passed in the National Council by 19 votes to four, changes the country’s constitution to allow the first president of Namibia to serve three five-year terms. Future presidents will be restricted to two five-year terms.
Earlier on Thursday, National Council member Josephine Hamutwe called for Nujoma, 69, to be made president for life. “Given his able leadership and as long as he is physically fit, we want to see him not only restricted to three terms, but [to serve] for life,” Hamutwe told the council. The ranks of the official opposition, the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance, were depleted during in Thursday’s sitting because two of their councillors, Francis Sizimbo and Mukelabayi Walubita, have fled to Botswana.
They are allegedly part of an armed secessionist movement seeking to break away from the northeastern Caprivi region. The bill’s passing clears the way for Nujoma to stand in the next presidential elections due at the end of 1999. Nujoma has served as Namibia’s president since the country’s independence in 1990. In the last presidential elections in 1994 he won 74% of the vote. The third term proposal has caused widespread controversy in Namibia. In August the country’s high commissioner to Britain, Ben Ulenga, resigned in protest at the plan. — AFP