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NAMIBIA: FROM GERMAN RULE TO THE HANDS OF APARTHEID SOUTH AFRICA REGIME; TO INDEPENDENCE & STABLE DEMOCRACY

Pre-Independence History

1886- Germany annexes ‘South West Africa, Territory (Today Namibia) after signing a Treaty with Portugal and Britain. An Uprising against German Occupation led by Herero and Nama People in this Territory leads to a deadly Clash with German Forces resorting to brute Force to suppress the Rebellion. A 4-Years bloody Confrontation between 1904-1908 leaves 80% of Herero People and 50% of Nama People Dead in what is Today remembered as ‘Herero-Nama Genocide’.

May 1915 shortly after World War 1 where Germany was the biggest Loser, the British Union Apartheid Government of South Africa begins Military onslaught against the German Regime in a bid to dethrone them and occupy this ‘South West African Territory’. Overwhelmed and Outnumbered the German Forces retreated and finally surrendered this Territory to South Africa on July 1915 after controlling it for 3-Decades. The league of Nations gave South Africa official Mandate to govern ‘South West Africa’.

Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo via ‘Ovamboland People’s Congress’ alongside Sam Nujoma, Jacob Kuhangua, Louis Nalengani, Emil Appolus and Lucas Haleinge founded ‘Ovamboland’s People’s Organization’-(OPO) on April 1959 as a Nationalist Organization to demand ‘South West Africa’s’ Independence from Apartheid South African Regime that had made this Territory One of its Provinces. Sam Nujoma was elected to lead this Organization after its first Congress.

Herero Chiefs Council led by Chief Hosea Kutako formed ‘South West African Union’-SWANU on September 1959 to act as an Umbrella Resistance Movement against South African Rule. Jariretundu Kazonguizi was elected to lead SWANU with support from OPO which had joined SWANU to unite for One Struggle for Independence.

After talks between Nujoma, Kazonguizi and a Herero Scholar Mburumba Kerina who were at the United Nations General Assemby in New York to Petition the United Nations to compel South Africa to grant ‘South West Africa’ Independence courtesy of Herero Chief’s Council; the Idea to transform OPO into a National Liberation Movement was agreed upon and on April 1960 OPO was transformed into ‘South West Africa People’s Organization’-SWAPO. Sam Nujoma was elected to lead SWAPO. The UN General Assembly of 1961 made a demand to the South Africa Regime to end its Control over ‘South West Africa’ but the high-handed Apartheid Regime could hear none of that.

In 1962 SWAPO founded its Military Wing (South West Africa Liberation Army) marking the beginning of what is Today referred to as ‘Namibian War and Struggle for Independence’ that went on all the way to 1989. The United Nations General Assembly again in 1968 made formal Recognition of SWAPO as the Sole Legitimate of ‘South West African People’; It also adopted Mburumba Kerina’s Proposal to rename ‘South West Africa’ to NAMIBIA as it’s known Today (derived from the Word NAMIB which means ‘a Vast Place’ in Nama Dialect.

With South Africa’s grip to Namibia growing weak under SWAPO’s unabated onslaught, Local and International Pressure to cede control over Namibia especially from the ‘Western Contact Group at the United Nations Security Council’; a Ceasefire Agreement was announced on August 1988 at Geneva-UN Premises. This was further solidified by the December 1988 ‘Tripartite Accord’ between Angola, Cuba and South Africa on Troops Withdrawal. The UN sent a Peace Force to monitor the Agreement and oversee a Free Transparent Election towards Namibia’s Independence.

A Constituents Assembly Election was held on November 1989 and SWAPO through a successful Campaign led  by Current President Hage Geingob Won  41 Seats (57%) with its main Challenger DTA (Democratic Turnhalle Alliance) Winning 21 Seats to the Assembly in what became Namibia’s first Multi-Party Elections where a Record 10 Parties Contested. Hage Geingob a former UN Secretariat Political Affairs Officer and Member of SWAPO’s Central Committee was elected as the Chairman of this first Constituent Assembly which he lead in formulating and adopting Namibia’s Independence Constitution on February 1990. The Results of this Election saw Sam Nujoma unanimously declared as Namibia’s first President with Hage Geingob as his first Prime Minister prior to Full and Official Independence that was granted March 21,1990 the day when the then President of South Africa’s Apartheid  Regime F.W De Klerk accompanied by South Africa’s Independence Icon Nelson Mandela who had just been released from Prison and 20 other Heads of State witnessed Sam Nujoma and Hage Geingob Swearing in to respectively become the first President and Prime Minister of Independent Namibia.

Post-Independence Namibia

President Sam Nujoma ruled on; On December 1994 Namibia’s first Post-Independence Elections were held and SWAPO Won with a Landslide Victory with 53/72 Seats in Parliament. President Nujoma got his first Direct Mandate from the People Winning the Presidential Election with 76%; his only Competitor One Mishake Muyongo from the main Opposition Alliance DTA got 24% with his Party Winning 15-Seats.

A controversial Namibian Constitution Amendment courtesy of SWAPO’s Majority in Parliament was made on November 1998 to allow President Nujoma to contest for a Third 5-Years Term. Future Presidents after Nujoma would however remain restricted to Two Constitutional Terms. Namibia’s Second General Elections were held on November 1999 and Nujoma was again Re-elected with 76% this time against Three Competitors from DTA, COD and UDF Parties. SWAPO still managed to retain its Dominance with 55/72 Seats.

President Nujoma’s Party SWAPO through its then Secretary-general Hifikepunye Pohamba announced on November 2001 that President Nujoma had declared his Plan to step down at the end of his third Term in 2004. On September 2002 President Nujoma demoted his Prime Minister Geingob to a local Government Minister amid Succession Strife upon which Geingob decided to Resign from Government. On the General Elections of November 2004; President Nujoma’s chosen Successor One Hifikepunye Pohamba won the Presidential Election with striking 76% like his Predecessor against 7 other Candidates. His Party SWAPO  maintained its Dominance again Winning 55/ 72 Seats in Parliament.Namibia’s 4th General Elections were held on November 2009 and President Hifikepunye was Re-elected with 75% for his Second and Last Term with SWAPO Winning 54/72.

The 5th General Elections were held on November 2014 and the then SWAPO Vice President and President Pohamba’s Prime Minister Hage Geingob who he had Appointed on December 2012 was elected to Succeed him with a landslide Victory of 86% beating 8 other Candidates. SWAPO again maintained its Dominance in Parliament with 77/96 Seats against 15 other Parties.

Namibia’s November 27, 2019 General Elections

NAMIBIA’s 6th Post-Independence General Elections are set to be held on November 27, 2019. 78-Years Old President Hage Geingob will be seeking his Second and Last Term as President against 10 other Candidates who have been cleared by the Electoral Commission ECN to contest for the Top Job. Independence Party SWAPO in Power since 1990 will be seeking to maintain its Dominance in Parliament against 14 other Parties.

President Geingob’s Two Main Challengers according to Special Voting conducted on November 13th, general Perspectives and Projections are seen to be one 62-Years Old Panduleni Itula; a Member of SWAPO since 1970’s who has rebelled and is now running for the Top Seat as an Independent Candidate. Another Key Challenger is main Opposition Alliance ‘Popular Democratic Movement’-PDM (formerly DTA) Candidate 42-Years Old McHenry Venaani who recently received backing from ‘United People’s Movement’-UPM in a bid to Challenge both President Geingob and SWAPO. There is only one Female Candidate who has become the first Woman to run for the Top Job in this Country; 57-Years Old former Social Worker Esther Muinjangue under NUDO-Party.

There are slightly over 1.3 Million Registered Voters who will be casting their Votes in 4241 Polling Stations across 121 Constituencies within Namibia’s 14 Regions.

Namibia November 27,2019 Election Results

INCUMBENT 78-Years Old President Hage Geingob was declared the WINNER of the 2019 Presidential Election with 464,703 Votes out of the Total 826,198 Valid Votes Casted which is 56.3% securing his Second and last 5-years Term as President. This is a sharp decline from 87% that he garnered in 2014 when he came to Power.
Independence/Ruling Party #SWAPO  led the National Assembly Election with 63/96 Seats which is also a sharp decline from 77/96 Seats it Won in 2014;For the first time in Namibia’s History SWAPO lost its overwhelming Majority in Parliament. Main Opposition Party PDM managed to win 16 Seats up from the 5 it won in 2014. A new entrant the ‘Landless People’s Movement’-LPM managed to win 4 Seats. 8 other Parties that contested in this Election managed to win a Seat or Two. 4 other Parties in this Election did not win any Seat.
Voter Turnout stood at 60% which is also a sharp decline from 72% recorded in 2014.
Geingob’s closest Rival Panduleni Itula came a strong Second with 242,657 Votes or 29.4%. Main Opposition Candidate McHenry Venaani of the PDM came a distant Third with 43,959 Votes or 5.3%. Namibia’s first Female Candidate Esther Muinjangue of the NUDO managed 12,039 Votes to become Position 6 out of 11 Candidates.

Namibia Quick Fact-File

  • Namibia currently has an estimated Total Population of 2.5 Million People who according to World Bank ‘Income Inequality’ Report live in the Second Most Economically Unequal Country after their Neighbors South Africa. It means the Gap between the Rich and the Poor in Namibia is the Second highest in the World after that of South Africa.
  • Namibia’s estimated 15 Billion Dollars GDP is mainly built around Mining with Namibia being Africa’s biggest Producer of Uranium in Africa and 4th in the World. Diamonds, Gems, Copper,Precious Metals and Jewellery are also Mined in Namibia. Fishing and sale of Boats, Fishing and Floating Vessels is also a robust Indusrty in Namibia where ‘Namibian Dollar’-N$/NAD is the Country’s Currency
  • Namibia is Home to the World’s Oldest and most Ancient Desert; the Namib Desert which is estimated to be about 80 Million Years Old
  • Namibia’s Namib Desert has the World’s highest Sand Dune known as Dune 7 which towers at 383 Meters high
  • The November 2014 Namibia General Election which was done using ‘Electronic Voting Machines’-EVMs made Namibia the first African Country to conduct a General Election Electronically
  • Christianity is the main Religion with Namibia’s Official Language being English; a Local Language known as Oshiwambo by the Ovambo People is spoken by at least Half of Namibia’s Population
  • Namibia’s Capital City is known as Windhoek which means ‘Windy Corner’ in Afrikaans.

(Images Courtesy)

GUINEA-BISSAU; GLIMMERS OF STABILITY IN ONE OF AFRICA’S MOST IMPROVERISHED ECONOMY UNDER INCESSANTLY TURBULENT DEMOCRACY

Pre-Independence History

1446: Portuguese arrive and occupy the Present-day Territory of Guinea-Bissau as part of their Cape Verde Territory; they started using this New Coast Territory as a Key Slave Trade Joint to a point of making it a ‘Slave Coast’ where Locals and other Africans captured elsewhere were bundled in transit to Europe and America.

This Territory is later in 1879 separated from Cape Verde to become a separate Portuguese-Guinea Colony. In 1951 Portugal declared Guinea-Bissau as one of its Provinces just like Cape Verde as starts issuing Africans in the Two Colonies Portuguese Citizenship; this is the point at which the Agitation to Resist Portuguese Dominance and Assimilation began. The first African Nationalist Movement to emerge in Anti-Portuguese Colonization was the ‘African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde’ (PAIGC) founded on September 1956 by a Renown Pan-African Revolutionary and Agronomist one Amilcar Cabral born in Guinea-Bissau to a Guinea-Bissau Father and a Cape Verde Mother. He founded this alongside other like-minded Nationalists like his Brother Luis Cabral, Aristides Pereira, Fernando Fortes, Julio Almeida, Elisee Turpin among others.

They began their pursuit for Independence in a peaceful style but the repressive Portuguese Colonial Regime responded with brute quelling Force, Violence and arbitrary arrests. Of note is the ‘Pidjiguiti Massacre’ of August 1959 when Portuguese Forces opened Fire on Guineans employed at the Pidjiguiti Port in Bissau who were demonstrating because of Oppression and low Wages where over 50 were killed with many others left with serious injuries. This among other heinous Acts meted on Africans in both Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde made PAIGC to change tack to Armed Resistance marking the start of ‘Guinea-Bissau’s War and Struggle for Independence’ .

With support from Cuba, USSR and China who helped PAIGC Freedom Fighters with Arms and Training making their Resistance strong for the Portuguese Forces. With the coordination between their fellow armed Comrades in Resistance from Mozambique and Angola under the ‘Conference of Nationalist Organization of Portuguese Colonies’ their Resistance grew even stronger.

By 1967 PAIGC Freedom Fighters had managed to regain control in over Two-thirds of Guinea-Bissau with Portuguese Forces retreating to the Coastline. On October 1972 PAIGC held an indirect National Assembly Election that resulted to a ‘Guinea-Bissau People’s Assembly’ and a Government Structure in their Stronghold in readiness for a full Takeover and Independence. Unfortunately on January 20, 1973 at Conakry in their Neighbouring Guinea where PAIGC had one of its Offices their Leader Amilcar Cabral was finally Assassinated by a PAIGC Guerilla identified as ‘Inocencio Kani’ with Instructions and backing from the Portuguese Regime who had on several Occasions tried to Capture and Kill Amilcar Cabral in a bid to destabilize PAIGC and thereby stop their Push for Independence.

A Military Coup on April 1974 at Lisbon-Portugal overthrew the Autocratic Regime of Estado Novo and the New Government that took over started Negotiations to end the already weakened Portuguese Hold on African Colonies. This saw Portugal granting Independence to all its Colonies in Africa between September 1974 and November 1975 starting with Guinea-Bissau on September 24, 1974. A Year later on July 5, 1975 Cape Verde followed in Independence and the then leading PAIGC Members one Luis Cabral (Brother to the slain Amilcar Cabral) and Aristides Pereira became the first Presidents of Independent Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde respectively.

Post-Independence Guinea-Bissau

The Two immediately began Talks to merge their Newly Independent States that had a common History but unfortunately President Luis Cabral was overthrown in a November 1980 Military Coup led by a former PAIGC Guerilla and his Prime Minister one General Bernado Vieira. This killed the Unification Dream and marked the start of Guinea-Bissau’s Political Tribulations.

Bernado Vieira began his Reign via a Military Council until 1984 when a New Constitution was adopted amid growing Pressure for Multi-party Democracy led by Aristides Menezes via his ‘Democratic Front’  among other similar Movements. The ban on Political Parties was lifted in 1991 ahead of a General Election of August 1994. The Elections saw President Vieira get a Democratic People’s Mandate with 52% of the Votes casted against Mr. Kumba Yala of the Social Renewal Party-PRS who got 47%. This was the first Post-Independence Multi-Party Election that saw 8 Candidates contesting for the Top Job in Guinea-Bissau.

On June 1998 President Vieira fired his Military Chief of Staff one Ansumane Mane a move that triggered a Violent Rebellion between Rival Forces in the Army. The Parliament on November 1998 passed a Motion demanding Vieira’s Resignation which further worsened the Situation to Civil War. President Vieira’s Forces were subdued by those of his Rival General Ansumane and Vieira fled to Portugal on June 1999.  The Supreme Military Council named his former Prime Minister Satumino Da Costa was named the acting President of PAIGC and Parliament’s Leader Malam Sanha as the acting President ahead of the November 1999 Election to replace Vieira.

The then Leader of Opposition Kumba Lala of the PRS Party Won this Election and was sworn in as the new President on February 2000. General Ansumane Mane was on November 2000 Killed by Forces Loyal to President Kumba after bitter differences between the Two. Kumba’s Reign was still troubled by his strained relations with his Ministers, Political Instability, Stagnant Economy and Civil Unrest. He would later on September 2003 get Ousted in a Military Coup over what the Junta said was general Incapacity.

The Junta appointed a Civilian transitional Government led by Henrique Rosa as the Interim President and Artur Sanha as his Prime Minister in a bid to return the Country to Stability and Constitutional Order. The Two oversaw the March 2004 Legislative Elections and July 2005 Presidential Elections.

The July 2005 Presidential Elections saw two dramatic Appearances; Ousted President Kumba Lala returned to the Scene despite his ban from Politics and was cleared to run. Ousted President Bernado Vieira returned from Exile and was also cleared to run by the Supreme Court despite Charges levelled against him during the 1998/1999 Civil War that saw his Ouster. His former Party PAIGC that had already expelled him backed former Interim President Malam Sanha in this Election. Malam Sanha Won this Election with 35%, followed by Vieira with 28%, Kumba Lala came third with 25% meaning a Second Round for the Two Top Contenders. Kumba Lala backed Vieira in the Second Round and Vieira Won with 52% with his Rival Malam Sanha coming close Second with 47%.

Vieira got back to Power as President but this time round it would end disastrously for him. Attempts on his Life began on November 2008; suspecting Mutiny from his then Military Chief of Staff and his long-time bitter Rival General Batista Tagme, Forces loyal to him Killed General Batista on March 1, 2009. In Retaliation, disgruntled Forces loyal to General Batista killed him the following Morning on March 2, 2009 while trying to flee a Coup.

Raimundo Pereira the then Leader of Parliament immediately assumed the Office of the President as an Interim President according to the Constitution ahead of a Presidential Election in 90-days. A Presidential Election was held on June 2009 and former Interim President Malam Sanha under PAIGC defeated former Ousted President Kumba Lala with 63% to 36% in a Second-Round Vote.

President Sanha was Diabetic and his Health started deteriorating soon after ascending to Power. On January 9, 2012 while in Hospital at Paris President Sanha died. The then Leader of National Assembly and immediate-former Interim President Raimundo Pereira returned to Presidency again in Interim Capacity ahead of another Presidential Election in 90-days.

A Presidential Election was held on March 2012 and Carlos Gomes Junior Won with 48% followed by former Ousted President Kumba Lala with 23%. A Second-round Vote was set for late April but before this repeat  Presidential Election, Interim President Pereira was Ousted by the Military and Mamadu Kuruma the Chair of the Junta took over alongside Manuel Nhamadjo as the designate Interim President. The Junta also arrested Gomes Junior and Kumba Lala and cancelled the scheduled repeat Election between them. The Junta promised a Presidential Election in Two Years. On April-May 2014 a Presidential Election was held and Jose Mario Vaz under PAIGC was declared Winner with 62% against Junta-backed Nuno Gomes Nabiam who got 38% in a Second-round Vote. A few days to this Election, former Ousted President and PRS Party Founder/Leader Kumba Lala died of a Heart Disease.

An Economist and former Finace Minister in Jose Mario Vaz locally known as ‘Jomav’ was sworn in as the New President on June 2014 promising reforms in the troubled Democracy/Economy.

November 24, 2019 Presidential Elections

A Presidential Election is set to be held on Sunday November 24, 2019 8 Months after the March Legislative/Parliamentary Elections that were Won by the Independence Party PAIGC. 62-Years old President Mario Vaz who is the first President to finish a Presidential Term since Guinea-Bissau’s Independence is in this Election seeking a Second Term as an Independent Candidate after falling out with PAIGC the Party that brought him to Power. The Party expelled him on August 2015 when he fired his then Prime Minister over what he called ‘breach of Trust’ throwing the Parliament and the Government Systems into Chaos. He recently on October 29th again fired his Prime Minister Aristides Gomes  and Appointed a New one Faustino Fudut; Gomes refused to step down amid escalating Political and Electoral Unrest in the Country until ECOWAS intervened to stop President Vaz from effecting this Change. President Mario has been sacking his Prime Ministers from time to time since the day he took Office in 2014;He has so far worked with 7 Prime Ministers.

In this Election he will be competing with 11 other Candidates (all Male) led by his main challenger and former Prime Minister one 56-Years old Domingos Pereira who has the blessing of the Ruling Party PAIGC and two-times former Prime Minister 70-Years old Carlos Gomes Junior locally known as ‘Cadogo’ who recently returned from Exile in Portugal where he fled after the 2012 Military Coup. Carlos had won the first-round of March 2012 Presidential Election that was cancelled with a Military Coup thereafter. Other Candidates are another former Prime Minister to President Jose Mario who is also an Army General one 47-Years old Umaro Sissoco and 53-Years old Nuno Nabiam who came Second in the April 2014 Election.

There are slightly over 760,000 Registered Voters out of Guinea Bissau’s Total Population of 1.8 Million People who are expected to Vote in this Election across the 8 Regions of Guinea-Bissau.

November 24th Presidential Election Results

Two former Guinea-Bissau Prime Ministers managed to beat their former Boss President Jose Mario Vaz in the November 24th Presidential Election securing their place in a decisive Run-off Election between them scheduled for December 29th,2019.This is because none of the 12 Presidential Candidates managed to garner 50% of the Votes for a Clear-cut Victory in this first Round.56-yrs old Domingos Pereira under the Country’s Independence/Largest/Ruling Party #PAIGC led with 40% followed by 47-yrs old General Umaro Sissoco who got 28%.Incumbent President Jose MarioVaz who was seeking his Second Term in Office came a distant Fourth with 12% according to Electoral Commission CNE Chair Pedro Sambu. This first round was quite peaceful with a significantly high Voter turnout with Voters/Citizens expressing high hopes for a Rebirth of their Politically and Economically troubled Country.

Some Major Issues and Facts In Guinea-Bissau

Guinea-Bissau continues to battle with Challenges of deep-seated Poverty, Corruption, Poor Governance, Incessant Political Instability and Turmoils and Drug Trade and Trafficking. Since Independence 45-Years ago Guinea-Bissau has seen 6 successful Military Coups and at least 15 thwarted Military Coups. Guinea-Bissau has also been made a Den of Drug Trafficking and Trade where well-connected Drug Lords from South and Latin America in Collusion with Corrupt Guinea-Bissau Authorities and Political Class who take advantage of Guinea-Bissau’s weak Security Apparatus, Porous Borders and Poor Law Enforcement Institutions to make the Country a Narcos-Transit Den for Drugs and Narcotics destined for Europe and other Parts of the World including Africa. Guinea-Bissau was in fact named as Africa’s Narcos-State by the United Nations in 2008.

In terms of Gross National Income which currently stands at $750, Gross Domestic Product currently at $1,429 Million and the number of People living below the Poverty line currently close to 70% of the Total Population; Guinea-Bissau is still among some of the Poorest Nations in Africa and Globally. Over 80% of the Population is dependent on Subsistence Agriculture with Food Insecurity and Malnutrition still a major Challenge according to the World Food Program.

Guinea-Bissau main Export is Nuts in form of Cashew Nuts, Coconuts, Peanuts, Brazil Nuts with Cashew Nuts being the Top Export and Foreign Exchange Earner. Fishing is also a significant Industry in this Country. There is also plenty of Timber in this Country. The Minerals Potential of this Country remains largely unexplored.

One Key Tourist attraction Site in Guinea-Bissau is the ‘Bijagos Archipellago’ which is a group of 88 breath-taking tranquil Islands, Islets and Beaches off its Coast with Magical Ancient and Unadulterated Culture, People and Traditions, a rich Flora and Fauna Biodiversity that remained intact even in the face of Portuguese Colonization. The UNESCO in 2013 named ‘Bijagos Archpelago’ as a World Heritage Site, a Sanctuary and Biosphere Reserve.

The Official Language here is Portuguese inherited from their Colonizer although ‘Guinensi’ which is Portuguese Creole is widely used as the Country’s Lingua-Franca. About 45% of the Population are Muslims with 22% being Christians; the rest are Traditionalists. West African CFA Franc is their Currency. Bissau the Country’s Capital City is the biggest City in this Country; Its Name was added to the Country’s official Name ‘Guinea-Bissau’ to differentiate it from its Neighbor Guinea-Conakry (former French Colony) which is also identified with its Capital City Conakry.

(Photos Courtesy)