Monday, July 29, 2013

Post Independence of Namibia

Post independence

Namibia's founding president, Sam Nujoma.
Since independence Namibia has successfully completed the transition from white minority apartheid rule to a democratic society. Multiparty democracy was introduced and has been maintained, with local, regional and national elections held regularly. Several registered political parties are active and represented in the National Assembly, although Swapo Party has won every election since independence. The transition from the 15-year rule of President Sam Nujoma to his successor, Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2005 went smoothly.
Namibian government has promoted a policy of national reconciliation and issued an amnesty for those who had fought on either side during the liberation war. The civil war in Angola had a limited impact on Namibians living in the north of the country. In 1998, Namibia Defence Force (NDF) troops were sent to the Democratic Republic of the Congo as part of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) contingent. In August 1999, a secessionist attempt in the northeastern Caprivi region was successfully quashed.

Re-election of Sam Nujoma

Sam Nujoma won the presidential elections of 1994 with 76.34% of the votes. There was only one other candidate, Mishake Muyongo of the DTA.
In 1998, with one year until the scheduled presidential election when Sam Nujoma would not be allowed to participate in since he had already served the two terms that the constitution allows, SWAPO amended the constitution, allowing three terms instead of two. They were able to do this since SWAPO had a two-thirds majority in both the National Assembly of Namibia and the National Council, which is the minimum needed to amend the constitution.
Sam Nujoma was reelected as president in 1999, winning the election, that had a 62.1% turnout with 76.82%. Second was Ben Ulenga from the Congress of Democrats (COD), that won 10.49% of the votes.
Ben Ulenga is a former SWAPO member and Deputy Minister of Environment and Tourism, and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.  He left SWAPO and became one of the founding members of COD in 1998, after clashing with his party on several questions. He did not approve of the amendment to the constitution, and criticised Namibia's involvement in Congo.
Nujoma was succeeded as President of Namibia by Hifikepunye Pohamba in 2005.

Land reform

One of SWAPO's policies, that had been formulated long before the party came into power, was land reform. Namibia's colonial and Apartheid past had resulted in a situation where about 20 percent of the population owned about 75 percent of all the land.  Land was supposed to be redistributed mostly from the white minority to previously landless communities and ex-combatants. The land reform has been slow, mainly because Namibia's constitution only allows land to be bought from farmers willing to sell. Also, the price of land is very high in Namibia, which further complicates the matter.
President Sam Nujoma has been vocal in his support of Zimbabwe and its president Robert Mugabe. During the land crisis in Zimbabwe, where the government confiscated white farmers' land by force, fears rose among the white minority and the western world that the same method would be used in Namibia.

A Congolese soldier during the Second Congo War, 2001.

Involvement in conflicts in Angola and DRC

In 1999 Namibia signed a mutual defence pact with its northern neighbour Angola. This affected the Angolan Civil War that had been ongoing since Angola's independence in 1975. Both being leftist movements, SWAPO wanted to support the ruling party MPLA in Angola to fight the rebel movement UNITA, whose stronghold was in southern Angola. The defence pact allowed Angolan troops to use Namibian territory when attacking UNITA.
The Angolan civil war resulted in a large number of Angolan refugees coming to Namibia. At its peak in 2001 there were over 30,000 Angolan refugees in Namibia. The calmer situation in Angola has made it possible for many of them to return to their home with the help of UNHCR, and in 2004 only 12,600 remained in Namibia. Most of them reside in the refugee camp Osire north of Windhoek.
Namibia also intervened in the Second Congo War, sending troops in support of the Democratic Republic of Congo's president Laurent-Désiré Kabila.

The Caprivi conflict

The Caprivi conflict was an armed conflict between the Caprivi Liberation Army (CLA), a rebel group working for the secession of the Caprivi Strip, and the Namibian government. It started in 1994 and had its peak in the early hours of 2 August 1999 when CLA launched an attack in Katima Mulilo, the provincial capital of the Caprivi Region. Forces of the Namibian government struck back and arrested a number of alleged CLA supporters. The Caprivi conflict has led to the longest and largest trial in the history of Namibia, the Caprivi treason trial.