Politics of Namibia

The Constituent Assembly of Namibia produced a constitution which established a multi-party system and a bill of rights. It also limited the executive president to two 5-year terms and provided for the private ownership of property. The three branches of government are subject to checks and balances, and a provision is made for judicial review. The constitution also states that Namibia should have a mixed economy, and foreign investment should be encouraged.

While the ethnic-based three-tier South African-imposed governing authorities have been dissolved, the current government pledged for the sake of national reconciliation to retain civil servants employed during the colonial period. The government is still organizing itself both on a national and regional level.

The Constituent Assembly converted itself into the National Assembly on February 16, 1990, retaining all the members elected on a straight party ticket.

The judicial structure in Namibia parallels that of South Africa. In 1919, Roman-Dutch law was declared the common law of the territory and remains so to the present.

Elections were held in 1992, to elect members of 13 newly established Regional Councils, as well as new municipal officials. Two members from each Regional Council serve simultaneously as members of the National Council, the country's second house of Parliament. Nineteen of its members are from the ruling SWAPO party, and seven are from the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA). In December 1994, elections were held for the President and the National Assembly.

Namibia has about 40 political groups, ranging from modern political parties to traditional groups based on tribal authority. Some represent single tribes or ethnic groups while others encompass several. Most participate in political alliances, some of which are multiracial, with frequently shifting membership.

SWAPO is the ruling party, and all but one of the new government's first cabinet posts went to SWAPO members. Formerly a Marxist oriented movement, SWAPO now espouses the principles of multiparty democracy and a mixed economy. SWAPO has been a legal political party since its formation and was cautiously active in Namibia, although before implementation of the UN Plan, it was forbidden to hold meetings of more than 20 people, and its leadership was subject to frequent detention. SWAPO draws its strength principally, but not exclusively, from within the Ovambo tribe. In December 1976, the UN General Assembly recognized SWAPO as "the sole and authentic representative of the Namibian people," a characterization other internal parties did not accept.

In 1999 presidential and parliamentary elections, SWAPO continued its history of political dominance, taking 55 of the 72 Assembly seats, and returning President Sam Nujoma to the office for his third term. The principal opposition parties are the Congress of Democracies (COD) and the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA), with each possessing seven seats in the National Assembly.

Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Namibia
conventional short form: Namibia

Data code: WA

Government type: republic

Capital: Windhoek

Administrative divisions: 13 regions; Caprivi, Erongo, Hardap, Karas, Khomas, Kunene, Ohangwena, Okavango, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa

Independence: 21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)

National holiday: Independence Day, 21 March (1990)

Constitution: ratified 9 February 1990; effective 12 March 1990

Legal system: based on Roman-Dutch law and 1990 constitution

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch: chief of state: President Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA (since 21 March 1990)
head of government: Prime Minister Theo-Ben GURIRAB (since 28 August 2002)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president from among the members of the National Assembly
elections: president elected by popular vote for a five-year term; election last held 30 November-1 December 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA elected president; percent of vote - Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA 77%

Legislative branch: bicameral legislature consists of the National Council (26 seats; two members are chosen from each regional council to serve six-year terms) and the National Assembly (72 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: National Council - elections for regional councils, to determine members of the National Council, held 30 November-1 December 1998 (next to be held by December 2004); National Assembly - last held 30 November-1 December 1999 (next to be held by December 2004)
election results: National Council - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - SWAPO 21, DTA 4, UDF 1; National Assembly - percent of vote by party - SWAPO 77%, COD 10%, DTA 9%, UDF 3%, MAG 1%; seats by party - SWAPO 55, COD 7, DTA 7, UDF 2, MAG 1,
note: the National Council is a purely advisory body

Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission)

Political parties and leaders: Congress of Democrats or COD [Ben ULENGA]; Democratic Turnhalle Alliance of Namibia or DTA [Katuutire KAURA, president]; Monitor Action Group or MAG [Kosie PRETORIUS]; South West Africa People's Organization or SWAPO [Sam Shafishuna NUJOMA]; United Democratic Front or UDF [Justus GAROEB]

International organization participation: ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMEE, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO

Flag description: a large blue triangle with a yellow sunburst fills the upper left section and an equal green triangle (solid) fills the lower right section; the triangles are separated by a red stripe that is contrasted by two narrow white-edge borders

See also : Namibia

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