In March 1990, the independent nation of
Namibia was proclaimed. The former liberation movement
Swapo had already formed government and its leader Sam
Nujoma had been elected president. The government
invested in national unity and social and economic
development with the help of foreign investment. The
country has remained politically stable with the
exception of a separatist insurgency in the late 1990s.
Swapo has won all elections by a wide margin.
It was after 24 years of armed struggle against South
Africa that the socialist Swapo (see Political system)
was able to proclaim independence in former South West
Africa. This was done with strong support from the world
community. Swapo began to implement a national
reconciliation policy after years of apartheid politics
(see Older history), among other things, not to scare
away the whites who held key positions in society. The
first government included ministers from various ethnic
groups including whites. President Nujoma assured that
Namibia would be a mixed economy with market economy
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Namibia. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
Rebellion in Caprivi
Swapo strengthened its position in the following
years and the opposition remained weak. The party won
the first parliamentary and presidential elections held
in 1994. Sam Nujoma was re-elected as president and
Swapo strengthened his majority in the National
In the late 1990s, a separatist movement was formed
in the Caprivi region in the northeast (now Zambezi, see
Geography). The area is isolated from the rest of the
country for geographical and historical reasons.
Loose-talking people in the strip have close ties to
people in neighboring countries and feel overruled by
the government in Windhoek. Security forces began to
arrest supporters of the uprising and around 2,500
caprives fled to Botswana. Most could return soon. But
in 1999, fighting broke out temporarily between
separatists and the army. Several people were killed and
the president introduced a state of emergency for a few
weeks. The security forces arrested several hundred
people suspected of sympathizing with the separatists. A
legal process for, among other things, treason and
murder against over 130 of them has dragged on over time
(see Political system). In retrospect, most of them have
been sentenced to long prison terms, usually life.
The AIDS epidemic is a difficult crisis
Prior to the 1999 election, it was stated by a
constitutional amendment that President Nujoma was not
subject to the constitution's restriction to two terms
of office, as he took up his first term before the
country became independent. Despite growing criticism
for power, Swapo won the parliamentary election while
Nujoma won the presidential election by a large
majority. The newly formed opposition party
Democrats Congress (CoD) and
the Conservative Democratic Turnhalle Alliance
(DTA) each received just under ten
percent of the vote.
The spring of 2004 led to drought, floods and the
rapid spread of HIV / AIDS to a severe crisis. The UN
appealed for disaster relief to Namibia, but had
difficulty hearing it. According to the government,
about a third of the population depended on emergency
An increasingly hot political issue was the slow pace
of redistribution of land from white big owners to black
small farmers. In 2004, the government decided to start
confiscating land areas for "fair compensation" for the
owners (see Agriculture and Fisheries).
Ahead of the November 2004 elections, the big
question was for a long time whether "country father",
President Sam Nujoma, would try to remain in power,
which would have required a new constitutional change.
Nujoma, however, refused to stand. The party was
expected to appoint Foreign Minister Hipido Hamutenya as
his successor, but he was instead fired. Swapo's
candidate became the Minister of Land Affairs,
Hifikepunye Pohamba, a close ally of Nujoma.
Pohamba becomes president
Pohamba and Swapo won the presidential and national
assembly elections, with just over 76 percent of the
vote in both cases. The opposition claimed that
irregularities had occurred and demanded recalculation
of all votes. After several trips, the votes were
recalculated but the result was largely the same.
Pohamba took office as president in March 2005.
Nujoma remained as party leader and maintained a strong
influence over politics. Pohamba gave the
anti-corruption priority the highest priority and, among
other things, set up an anti-corruption commission. In
August of that year, a minister was forced to resign,
accused of illegally appropriating state money.
In 2006, several mass graves were found in northern
Namibia, with victims of fighting during the Freedom War
1966–1989. The opposition and human rights groups
reiterated previous demands for a Truth and
Reconciliation Commission, similar to that in South
Africa, but Swapo continued to act coldly.
Cracks within Swapo in 2007 led to several prominent
party representatives jumping off and forming a new
party, the Democracy and Progress Collection
(RDP). One of the founders of the new
party was Hipido Hamutenya, who was challenged before
the 2004 elections (see above).
Swapo continues to dominate
After 47 years as party leader, Sam Nujoma resigned
at Swapo's congress at the end of 2007. President
Pohamba assumed the chair of the party. His successor as
vice chairman was Hage Geingob, who also received a
ministerial post in 2008.
In the 2009 presidential election, Pohamba received
support from 76.4 percent of voters - in the decimal
point the same vote share as in the previous election.
Hamutenya came in second with just over 11 percent of
the vote. Swapo also maintained his dominance in
Parliament. The opposition claimed that the election
fraud occurred and went to court to appeal. After
several legal trips, the Supreme Court rejected the
opposition parties' complaints in 2012.
At the end of 2012, Geingob was re-elected as Swapo's
Deputy Party Chairman and shortly thereafter was also
elected Prime Minister, a post he also held in
1990-2012. This made it clear that Geingob was meant to
be Swapo's candidate in the 2014 presidential election.