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27 Nov 2014 08:00
About 1,2-million Namibians, including the Himba people, will vote for a new president and parliament today. (Flickr)
Swapo is expected to easily retain power in Friday’s historic poll as the
country becomes the first African country to use electronic voting.
1,2-million Namibians will vote for a new president and parliament for the
sixth time since the country’s independence from apartheid South Africa in
remains hugely popular despite the high levels of poverty, inequality and a
chronic housing problem. An Afrobarometer survey released last month confirms
Swapo’s popularity putting at 72% the number of people who say they trust the
At least 65% of respondents said they would vote for Swapo.
survey also showed that eight out of ten Namibians trust and approve of President
Hifikepunye Pohamba and his prime minister Hage Geingob – both of whom have
exceeded the rating of founding President Sam Nujoma, the survey said.
who is Swapo’s ruling party candidate, is set to be the country’s first
Swapo will watch the poll closely to see how the opposition fares as it has
been gaining pockets of popularity.
analyst Joseph Diesho told the
Mail & Guardian that Swapo
will win the elections but warned that the party’s honeymoon won’t last long as
discontent is brewing among citizens.
has failed to re-invent itself from a liberation movement as its leaders
continue to resort to cheap liberation struggle rhetoric. We know where we are
coming from but we don’t know where we are going,” he said.
said the ruling party’s future is also compromised because it has a number of
poor parliamentary candidates. The lack of quality parliamentarians, Diesho
said, will also affect options available for Geingob. “Some
of those people on the list (of parliamentarians) would not even qualify to be
leaders in their villages,” he said.
said the opposition parties have dug their own grave by lacking clarity on what
the opposition pack is Rally for Democracy and Progress, a break away party
not enough to hate the ruling party. Swapo could be vulnerable because of
issues such as unemployment but they (opposition parties) have not provided
viable alternatives to Swapo,” he said.
prices of houses and land have been a major concern for Namibians,
and has led to several protests this month. Swapo has called for patience.
the Afrobarometer survey shows that most Namibians are satisfied with the
government’s policies on education and health, they are unhappy with efforts around
poverty reduction and unemployment, which stands at 46%. “Unemployment
and poverty are clearly the most important problems identified by Namibians,”
said the survey.
enrichment is also a major problem. Geingob last year admitted that only 10% of
the country’s 2,2–million citizens control the country’s wealth. The enrichment
of a few has given birth to a tiny black elite with ties to Swapo.
Geingob (73) is Namibia’s prime minister since 2012. He served in the same
position from 1990 to 2002 when he was fired by President Sam Nujoma after the
two clashed over issues, among them Nujoma’s decision for officials to stop
using Mercedes Benzes in favour of Toyota Camrys and Chevrolets.
crawled back into party leadership in 2007 when he was elected as the party
vice-president and later retained that position in 2012, which qualifies him to
be the next president. He
was the minister of trade and industry from 2008 to 2012.
as a moderate politician, Geingob is also renowned for being an efficient
administrator having been a key player in setting up the new government in
is however criticised for being involved in questionable business deals and for
associating himself with millionaire friends who have taken him on
admitted to have been a “consultant” for UraMin and “advised” the Namibian
Government to award a mining licence to UraMin. He did that when he was Swapo’s
chief whip in parliament. The job got him R2,5-million.
(75) served as cabinet minister from independence in 1990 to 2004 in key
ministries such as foreign affairs and trade.
lost out on the race to become Namibia’s president when he was defeated by the
incumbent president at a Swapo congress in 2004.
formed the RDP three years after that congress and was elected to the national
assembly on the RDP ticket after the 2009 election when they got nine seats.
director Graham Hopwood said that opposition campaigning has been low key and
to him, the RDP appears to have run out of energy and has lost momentum since
a result one of the main points of interest of this election is whether the
party can hold on to the official opposition mantle. It faces a challenge from
the DTA – which is resurgent under the youthful McHenry Venaani,” Hopwood said.
(37) is the president of the DTA of Namibia, a re-branded version of the
apartheid-linked Democratic Turnhalle Alliance. Venaani
became Namibia’s youngest MP in 2003 at the age of 25.
party’s representation in parliament has been on a downward trend since
independence when it had 21 seats. In the 1999 election the DTA managed seven
seats. The loss of seats in the legislative house continued in the 2004
elections when the party only gained four seats. DTA currently only has two
seats after the 2009 elections.
said the DTA is likely to be the only opposition party which picks up support –
but probably mostly at the expense of the RDP and other opposition parties.
younger voters may feel a kinship with him but would balk at voting for the DTA
due its colonial connections as the proxy party of apartheid South Africa,”
other candidates vying to be the President – all male candidates – include the
Namibia Economic Freedom Fighters’ Epafras Mukwiilongo, Swanu’s Usutuaije
Maamberua, Congress of Democrats’ Ben Ulenga, the All People’s Party’s Ignatius
Shixwameni, National Unity Democratic Organisation’s Asser Mbai and the
Republican Party’s Henk Mudge.
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