Namibia. A total of 16 parties and nine presidential candidates ran in the parliamentary and presidential elections held November 28. According to Countryaah.com, Namibia population in 2020 is estimated at 2,540,916. An electronic voting system was used for the first time in the elections. It was also the first time that elections were held on one day in all constituencies.
Before the elections, a new party was formed called the Namibian Economic Freedom Fighters (NEFF). The party was described as a direct sister party to the left-wing South African party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by Julius Malema, who made himself known for several controversial statements, including against South Africa’s white population.
During the electoral movement, the ruling South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) with President Hifikepunye Pohamba at the forefront presented a gender equality initiative, which meant that half of all MPs would be women. An ambition was also to present a female candidate for the 2019 presidential election. As Pohamba had already ruled during the two terms of office allowed by the Constitution, the former prime minister and SWAPO’s vice president, Hage Geingob, were elected new party leader candidates.
As expected, SWAPO became the big winner of the election and Geingob, which received almost 87% of the vote, became the one to take over the presidential post. In second place was McHenry Venaani from the opposition party Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) with 5% of the vote followed by Hidipo Hamutenya from Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) who got 3.4%. SWAPO got 77 seats while the opposition parties DTA and RDP received only five and three seats in parliament respectively. The African Union (AU) and the South African Cooperation Organization (SADC) which monitored the election rated it as relatively free and fair but pointed out that there were technical problems during the election day.
In August, a young protester was shot to death during a demonstration held outside SWAPO’s headquarters in the capital Windhoek to pay attention to the situation of the youth whose parents participated in the South African independence war. The incident was described as unusual in Namibia, where political violence rarely occurs. However, the recent rise in youth unemployment has caused great dissatisfaction among the population, which is clearly divided into rich and poor. Youth unemployment was reported to be around 40% during the year.