The Political Parties in Namibia

The dominant force in the Namibian party system and parliament is the SWAPO (South-West Africa People's Organisation), founded in 1960 as a Marxist liberation movement in Ovamboland. Founding fathers were Sam Nujoma and Herman Toivo ja Toivo. The SWAPO fought the struggle against the South African oppressors.

SWAPO received 57% of the votes in the first elections (1989) and gained in the folllowing elections regularly more than 70%. Also in the last elections in 2009 it could keep its two-third majority. Although SWAPO explicitly denies to be an ethnic movement, most of its electorate lives in Ovamboland, just like half of the Namibian population.

Today the party stands for a moderately socialist course. The main goal is the abolition of poverty. A land reform is part of the political agenda, not showing much progress so far. It is the declared aim of the governing party to raise Namibia above the status of a developing country until 2030.  

Photo: Sam Nujoma, Founding Father of the SWAPO and officially "Father of the Nation".

Like in South Africa, the opposition parties are politically weak and hardly relevant. The DTA (Democratic Turnhallen Alliance), the main party of the white minority, holds only 2 seats. NUDO (National Unity Democratic Organisation), a Herero party which had separated from the DTA in 2003, also only has 2 seats. And the CoD (Congress of Democrats), founded in 1998, with its charismatic leader Ben Ulenga could secure only 1 seat in 2009. It lost most of its electorate to the RDP (Rally for Democracy and Progress), founded in 2007 by discontent SWAPO members. With 8 seats the RDP is at present the strongest opposition party in the National Assembly. All opposition groups together hold 18 of the 78 seats.