Namibians voted Wednesday in what had been expected to be the toughest competition yet for the party which has dominated for three years of liberty because the southern African nation wrestles with an economic meltdown and its main corruption scandal.
President Hage Geingob, Namibia’s third chief because the sparsely populated and largely arid country freed itself from the shackles of apartheid South Africa in 1990, is looking for a second and last period from 1.3 million registered Republicans.
Geingob’s ruling SWAPO party has tackled a number of the issues left after years of rule, initially by Germany and then by white minority South African administrations.
SWAPO is currently coping with an economy in recession for almost 3 decades, among Namibia’s worst droughts and its main graft scandal — most of which have appeared to produce this vote suddenly tough for Geingob, who obtained with 87% last moment.
Geingob confronts nine challengers such as Panduleni Itula, a dentist-turned-politician who’s a SWAPO manhood but operating as a different. Petula is popular with young people, almost half of whom are jobless.
Concurrent legislative polls will select 96 members of parliament, analyzing SWAPO’s 77-seat bulk.
Outcomes are expected within two days.
Beneath SWAPO, the former guerrilla movement which fought for liberty, the percentage of Namibians living beneath the poverty line dropped by three quarters, from almost 70 percent in 1993 to 17 percent in 2016, according to the World Bank.
The market was marred by a drought that ravaged agricultural export crops, in addition to by unprofitably low rates for Namibia’s main commodities that are hard, uranium and diamonds.
The Bank of Namibia expects the market to contract with 1.7percent in 2019, which will be its third year of declines in a row.
A scandal where two ministers have been alleged to have conspired to distribute fishing licenses into Iceland’s largest fishing company, Samherji, in return for kickbacks has also taken the shine from the ruling party.
“I need to change. I’m tired and sick of corruption in this country that nobody is doing anything around,” 55-year-old businessman Jacques Kotzee said.
But devotion to the former guerrilla movement stays high.
“But I am voting for citizenship since I feel this government can enhance the lives of individuals, given an opportunity again.”
Whether the result is shut or not, a SWAPO triumph is very likely to be contentious, particularly as a court threw out a case mounted by the resistance against using electronic voting machines it worries is used to deceive.
The military said in a statement that it had been on high alert for violence, that Namibia has averted in previous surveys.