BY Nii Ntreh, 4:00pm October 20, 2020,

Namibia president not happy white population won’t vote for his party – Racial politics explained

President of Namibia, Hage Geinob. Photo Credit:

“I have never seen it that way, and they (white Namibians) said anything else but Swapo. I have noted that and I will not forget that. People are declaring war against Swapo. Swapo who made them enjoy peace and unity and enjoy their comfort. The comfort you have been enjoying all this time and you declare war against Swapo. I heard you (sic).”

The quote above is attributed to the president of Namibia, Hage Geinob, when he spoke at the launch of the electioneering campaign of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) on October 17. Namibia’s local and regional elections are coming up on November 25, and Geinob, a characteristically passionate speech-giver, was trying to incite SWAPO supporters to the poll.

The elections will give the electorate the opportunity to elect representatives at the local government phase, a key level of political authority in the country of about 2.5 million inhabitants. A lot of power rests with Namibia’s executive, which curiously includes the president, prime ministers and a cabinet.

In Namibia’s 30 years as an independent state, no political party has been more successful at the polls than SWAPO. The independence-winning SWAPO has been so dominant that the country’s proportional representative democracy does not even yield a significant minority for opposition parties.

All of this granted, Namibia’s white minority population, who are just about 7% of the country, are not enthusiastic supporters of SWAPO. However, that demographic is thought to be the bulk of business owners in the country.

This mixture of their politics and their economic fortune set white Namibians on the path of a tensive relationship with SWAPO administrations. Geinob, a former law professor who came into power on the promise of restructuring Namibian society to give opportunities to the many poor, has not shied away from confronting those he belives are the problem.

In 2017. Geinob proposed a bill before the legislature, the Empowerment-Bill Clause, that would have seen white Namibian businesses forced to sell 25% of stakes to Namibians of African descent. But the proposal was abandoned when it became clear that foreign investors were ready to walk away if the bill was passed.

Namibia, which was colonized after World War I by apartheid South Africa, has seen various attempts to bridge the wealth gap between whites and Black people collapse. However, the country has never witnessed the levels of volatile expression of frustration seen in neighboring South Africa which is dogged with a similar problem.

President Geinob has refused to apologize for the comments made at the campaign launch, even though he has been called out by opposition leaders. But it is well within reason to treat his lamentations and complaints as part of his personal frustrations in dealing with a problem he has cited.

Last Edited by:Nii Ntreh Updated: October 20, 2020


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