Namibia’s Elections Chip Away at Some of the Ruling Party’s Dominance

Namibia’s Elections Chip Away at Some of the Ruling Party’s Dominance
Namibia’s president, Hage Geingob, casts his ballot in the country’s election, Windhoek, Namibia, Nov. 27, 2019 (AP photo by Brandon van Wyk).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

Something unexpected finally happened in an election in Namibia: The South West Africa People’s Organisation party, or SWAPO, which has dominated Namibian politics since the country’s independence in 1990, stumbled. Incumbent President Hage Geingob still secured a second term in last week’s vote, but the party lost its parliamentary supermajority, perhaps heralding a new and more competitive political landscape.

Geingob’s administration was hobbled by a number of problems, including an economy that hasn’t been growing since 2016 and wealth inequality that is among the worst in the world. There was also the revelation of a bribery scandal that landed just before the election, involving allegations that government ministers had received at least $10 million from an Icelandic company in exchange for fishing rights.

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