Namibian Politics

Namibian Politics -Will Swapo Ever Lose An Election?

Namibian Politics Has Been Largely Controlled By The Swapo Since It Gained Its Independence. How Likely Is It That The Swapo Will Ever Lose An Election? How Did This Come To Happen And To What Extent Is Namibia Truly Democratic?

Introduction

The history of Namibia can be traced to different stages starting from the time of colonial powers in the 19th century to 1990 when it attained its independence. The country through South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) party achieved its independence. The party was a national liberation movement, a political party and has been in power for more than two decades.

Parliamentary election in 2009 saw the party garner more than 70 percent of the popular vote. The name of the party has been deeply rooted therefore, making it quite difficult for stakeholders to change it. Stakeholders insist on replacing South West Africa with Namibia but the efforts have not been successful. The party has built itself across the country and in 2009; many people believed that the party would lose to its political rivals only for the party to emerge a winner. As a result, political analysts across the globe have put across the issue as to when the party will lose in a general election.

How likely will SWAPO ever lose an election?

SWAPO is one of Namibia’s oldest political parties. It has a solid financial base that is used in running its political affairs therefore gaining an edge over its competitors. The party has been ruling since independence. As a result, it has been gathering financial resources that are sufficient for running political businesses. SWAPO will also use its financial ability as a source of competitive benefit in its general elections.

The party has additionally managed to win past elections because of its solid financial strength as well as popularity in the country’s public domain. With these features, SWAPO is not likely to lose in a general election in the near future.

From the time the country attained independence, SWAPO has utilized its power to suppress and oppress its rival parties. Opposition parties according to Ntinda (2009) have been subjected to disarray and are humiliated horribly. The party has also interfered with the activities of political parties. Efforts by the parties to create a network across the country have been sabotaged by SWAPO.

Ntinda (2009) also added that many of these parties have been rendered hopeless and are not sure of their future. In 2008, many parties hoped that the party would lose in the elections. However, the parties suffered a stunning defeat from the ruling party. In 2009, SWAPO won parliamentary elections by almost a landslide. According to Shipale (2009), the future of rival parties appears bleak.

Frustrations are cropping up in the parties as time goes by. Many opposition parties as we speak are not eager to challenge the ruling party in any upcoming general election. They are of the idea that proper measures have to be put in place to address their plight during and after general elections. Failure to which, the parties are still subject to harassment and embarrassment. Many opposition parties in the recent past have boycotted by elections because they no longer have faith their state Electoral Commission (ECN).

There are parties that have an extra mile to cobble with political coalition in an effort to block SWAPO from winning during elections. Even so, this hasn’t been successful because the party has been successful in almost all elections. DTA for instance pulled out from the Okahandia by elections of 2009 on the basis that it did not trust the ECN. Besides losing faith it the Electoral Commission, the party also believes that SWAPO would win automatically in the election because of prevailing standards in the state.

SWAPO as discussed by Ntinda (2009) has been using state resources and systems to achieve a competitive edge against its rivals thus, emerging a winner. From the insights, it won’t be easy for an opposition party to defeat the ruling party presently and in the near future. The question is how this come to occur did and to what extent, is Namibia truly democratic?

SWAPO was the state organization that has been dominant amongst the citizens of the country. It has co-opted other political parties including South West African National Union (SWANU) and Namibia African People’s Democratic Organization (NAPDO). The party at the time of its independence was quite popular among most of the state population. It has been using the platform to outwit rival parties unjustly in general and by elections.

The country and its citizens are celebrating democracy of 26 years. The Constitution of the Republic of Namibia is a tool that facilitates social equality in the country. Niikondo (2009) defines democracy as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people.” With the creation of the country, citizens of the country have looked forward for ideal political systems that would help them choose and replace the leadership through fair and free elections. Even so, this has not been the case because of oppression and humiliation of opposition parties during elections and political campaigns.

The right to choose a leader of choice as we speak does not exist in the country. Even though the state has solid democratic

Institutions, Namibians have not had the opportunity and ideal political conditions to replace their governance. It is not right for one political party to lead for two decades democratically. This has not been the case in developed nations including the USA where republicans and democrats have been interchangeably ascending powers. SWAPO is additionally believed to be the pioneer of democracy in the country. Even so, it has not successfully managed to sustain democracy as established (Totemeyer, 2007).

Conclusion

Namibia is one of the countries in Africa that achieved its independence in the late 20th century. Since then, SWAPO has been the ruling party. It has struggled to ensure that it achieves independence from colonial masters using its financial capability and popularity.

The party has since 1990s won in general elections. It has also been using its power to humiliate and oppress rival parties thus emerging a winner in elections. As a result, by suggesting that the party is likely to lose in any upcoming election, you would be wrong. Democracy cannot be realized with such existing political conditions.

 

Bibliography

Bauer, Gretchen. 2001. Namibian the first decade of independence: How democratic? Journal of Southern African Studies 27. 1: 12-67.

Cedric Thornberry (2004). A Nation Is Born: The Inside Story of Namibia’s Independence. Gamsberg Macmillan Publishers Ltd. pp. 9–11.

Galaich, Glen; Mozaffar, Shaheen, and Scarritt James. 2003. Electoral institutions, ethnopolitcal cleavages, and party systems in Africa’s emerging democracies. American Political Science Review 97.3: 45-90.

Leys, Brown. 2005. Histories of Namibia. London: Merlin Press.

Ntinda, Asser. 2009. Opposition parties are in disarray, horribly humiliated and hopelessly unsure of their future. http://www.swapoparty.org/zoom_in_08.html

Niikondo, Andrew. 2009. Namibia’s democracy since Independence. http://www.swapoparty.org/namibias_democracy_since_independence.html

Shipale, Paul. 2009. Losing Parties and their “Back-burner strategy. http://www.swapoparty.org/losing_parties_and_their_back_burner_strategy.html

Wagner, Karl. 2009. Donor support of opposition parties in Namibia. How foreign support for parties effects democracy in a new democracy. http://www.ascleiden.nl/pdf/thesis-wagner.pdf

Totemeyer, Gerhard. 2007. The Management of a Dominant Political Party system with particular reference to Namibia. http://library.fes.de/pdf-files/bueros/namibia/05913.pdf

 

Weiland, Heribert. 1995. Landslide victory for SWAPO in 1994: Many new deaths but few new votes. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 33, 2: 10-40.

 

 

 

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