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Global issue 20

Spotlight Namibia Pohamba addresses the UN Climate Summit as President of Namibia in 2014 components in national planning and development”. The latest such plan, NDP 4, focuses on fewer targets than previous plans and involves the dramatic upscale of Namport, Namibia’s primary port, positioning it as the main route to Southern Africa. It also looks to the creation of the Walvis Bay Corridor Group for the transport of freight to Namibia’s neighbours. When UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon visited Namibia to commission the UN House in Windhoek, he praised the country on its establishment of liberties such as press freedom and gender equality, also commending its democratic system and its handling of © Evan Schneider / UN Photo the refugee situation since the country’s independence – Pohamba has helped reduce the number of refugees by several thousand since 2001. But the President was not content to bask in such praise, thanking the Secretary-General but also expressing his frustration with the UN’s misleading classification of Namibia as an upper-middle-income country, saying that this is impacting badly on its economy as it paints an unrealistically wealthy picture of Namibia and blocks the inflow of foreign aid. “It seems no one understands us, despite the fact that the United Nations has representatives in the country who see the reality on the ground,” he says. “We have very poor people and I hope one day the United Nations system can assist us.” After a decade in power, Pohamba now says that he is ready to hand over the reins to a new leader. He believes that the inauguration of the new President and members of the National Assembly will demonstrate the maturity and strength of Namibia’s democracy. “We are proud that democracy in our country has ensured peace and stability and provided a conducive environment for socioeconomic development and progress. Yes, the challenges are many, however, they are not insurmountable,” he adds. “We are facing the future with confidence and determination. “We are proud that the Namibian people from different political persuasions came together in an unprecedented act of patriotism and crafted one of the most acclaimed national constitutions in the world. This enduring fundamental law enshrines and guarantees our people’s most fundamental rights and basic freedoms, including the right to life, equality, freedom of expression and freedom of association. It is the foundation upon which we established our new republic, determined to advance the best interest of all our people, and ready to make its contribution towards global peace and security. This nation will always celebrate and give requisite honour to our proud history.” On 21 March 2015, on the ten-year anniversary of his first ascent into presidential office, Pohamba will pass the mantle on to fellow Swapo member Hage Geingob, who has served as Prime Minister since 2000, thus continuing the party’s basically unchallenged quarter century in office. 1979 Takes charge of Swapo affairs in Zambia 1990 Takes the role of Minister of Home Affairs after the country gains indepedence. Successive cabinet reshuffles see him become Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, and Minister Without Portfolio over the next ten years © Ernmuhl / CC 3.0 1981 Studies politics in the Soviet Union before transferring to the Swapo headquarters in Luanda, Angola 1997 Swapo elects Pohamba its secretary-general 2001 Takes over as Minister of Lands, Resettlement and Rehabilitation and works on land reform issues 2002 Swapo elects Pohamba its vice-president 2009 Pohamba and Swapo are reelected 2007 Becomes president of Swapo upon Nujoma’s resignation 2004 Nominated by Nujoma as his successor, wins the presidential election and becomes Namibia’s second President, taking office on 21 March 2005 © Pgallert CC BY-SA 3.0 www.global global f i rst quar ter 2015 -br ief ing.org l 27 © A. Savin / CC BY SA 3.0


Global issue 20
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