31 years on, Namibians aren’t in a festive mood

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31 years on, Namibians aren’t in a festive mood

The ruling party, beset by corruption scandals, is losing ground as the economy stutters and incomes plummet

Henning Melber

Namibia celebrated 31 years of independence this year. But Namibians are not in a festive mood. A 2019 survey (http://www.afrobarometer.org/press/trust-political-institutions-decline-namibia-afrobarometer-survey-shows) by Afrobarometer, the independent African research network, showed a significant loss of trust in the country’s governance.

Worse: 2020 became “a year like no other” (https://ippr.org.na/publication/namibia-qer-quarter-4-2020/) since independence in 1990, as the Covid-19 pandemic compounded the effects of a prolonged recession which began in 2016 (https://www.namibian.com.na/159400/archive-read/Namibia-goes-into-technical-recession).

The legitimacy of the former liberation movement, the South West Africa People’s Organisation (Swapo (http://www.swapoparty.org/history.html)), has steadily been eroded due to a combination of factors. These have included socioeconomic decline, Swapo’s increasingly outdated populist narrative, financial scandals and elite self-enrichment. In addition, opposition has grown in the form of electoral support for new parties...

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