Library University of Namibia in Windhoek

August 10, 2014 at 11:43 Leave a comment

Please find the full version of the book ‘Party systems and cleavage structures in southern Africa : determinants of party success and failure in Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia’ at the Library of the University of Namibia in Windhoek.

The case of Namibia starts at page 105:

5 Namibia
5.1 Introduction
The independence of Namibia is the result of negotiations for the ending of the Angolan War in 1989 between Angola and Cuba on the one hand and South Africa’s mandate of administration on the other hand (Kadima and Pottie 2002). The settlers’ oligarchy, which was established in the 1960s and 1970s by South Africa (Bratton and van de Walle 1997, 77) became a multi-party polyarchy or at least limited polyarchy with a multi-party system (Temelli 1999, 270). In independent Namibia, voting by PR prevails.
In Namibia government coalitions for ethnic reasons can be founded due to the ‘high’ ethnic cleavages, structured with a distinct dominance of one ethnic group which is far from absolute majority (Temelli 1999, 124–125). Temelli (1999, 153–154) sees ‘no religious’ cleavages in the country due to the dominance of Christian faith with over 90%. In terms of the macro socio-economic structure Temelli (1999, 207) implies for Namibia’s democratic development negative impacts of the global economic development. The Election Observation Mission (EOM) report (1999, 7) for Namibia summarises the socio-economic and political situation as follows: With a land area of 319,000 square miles and a population estimated at 1,695,000 (1997), Namibia is one of the world most sparsely populated countries. More than half of the population lives in the Ovamboland region, located in northern Namibia, bordering Angola. Approximately 158,500 (1997) people live in the capital city ofWindhoek. The Ovambo are the most prevalent ethnic group in Namibia, comprising just over half of the total population. The remaining population includes: Baster, Damara, English, Germans, Herero, Khoi, Kavango, Losi, Nama, Portuguese, San, and Tswana. The country is predominantly Christian. While English is the sole official language, Afrikaans remains the most commonly understood language. After a prolonged independence struggle against South African apartheid rule, Namibia gained independence on 21 March 1990. Following the competitive pre-independence elections to the Constituent Assembly in 1989 and the adoption of a particularly liberal constitution in 1990, Namibia’s multiparty democracy has continued to be nurtured. The country generally enjoys political and social stability as a multi-party democracy. Since 1989, the first multi-party elections, two political parties have dominated the spectrum (EOM report 1999). The predominant SWAPO calls itself Party of Namibia, and has governed the country since 1989 with an absolute majority, in
contradiction to the theory of the consequences of a PR voting system. The Democratic Turnhalle Alliance (DTA) is ‘a Coalition of Parties that has participated in governance under the South African Administration’ (EOM report 1999) and is the
main opposition party. A number of political movements register for the elections and receive a small proportion of votes and seats in the national assembly without any opportunity of having a significant impact. While Elischer (2010) concludes for the first free and democratic election in 1989, that ‘[m]ost manifestos demonstrate little concern with programmatic ideas’, Boer
(2004) describes the ‘differences of the political party platforms’ according to the scheme, drawn from the MRG. He includes External relations with the subjects of foreign affairs, decolonialisation and peace. For the domain Freedom and democracy, he challenges the party manifestos regarding the statements for freedom and domestic human rights, democracy and constitutionalism. The aspect of government includes decentralisation, efficiency and government corruption as well as government effectiveness and authority with reference to good governance. The domain Economy consists of analyses for economic policy and growth, tax policies and public spending, including investment and unemployment. Boer further subsumes poverty reduction efforts, privatisation and minimum wages to Economy. The fifth domain isWelfare and quality of life with environmental protection, provision of housing, health and education in the country. The Fabric of society reflects crime and the rule of law. The final domain in Boer’s survey is Social groups,
including labour relations, land reform and redistribution, support of minorities, the role of women and pensioners. The survey included political manifestos, public statements and letters of several smaller and the two major political parties in Namibia until 2004, and finally concludes, looking at the manifestos of the parties (especially the three largest, namely the COD [Congress of Democrats], DTA and the SWAPO Party). Interesting policy proposals that set the parties apart, however, the ‘similarities are overwhelmingly greater than the differences’ (Boer 2004, 18). ‘Given the similarities in ideological and social policy issues, voters use other aspects to differentiate between parties and decide which party to vote for: such as ethnicity, liberation struggle credentials and individual personalities’ (Lebeau and Dima 2005, 23). The EOM report for Namibia (1999), Boer (2004) as well as Lebeau and Dima
(2005) give comprehensive descriptions of the different parties. ‘The party [SWAPO] has broad support throughout the country.’ […] ‘[i]ts roots [date] back to 2 August 1957 when a group of contract labourers and students formed the Ovamboland People’s
Congress (OPC), a party focused on the plight of Ovambo contract labourers […] During the liberation struggle SWAPO identified itself as a socialist party [and] changed almost overnight into a moderate, social-democratic pro-capitalist party’, according to Boer (2004) who refers to Dobell (1998). ‘The DTA became a unified political party on 2 December 1991. However, its roots can be traced back to 5 November 1977 when the DTA was formed as an alliance (rather than a party) between like-minded political parties with the ing NUDO [National Unity Democratic Organisation] and the RP [Republican Party of Namibia], had walked out of the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference together when the NP [National Party] insisted that certain racist apartheid legislation should be maintained in a proposed new constitution. […] The DTA has been the official opposition since independence, but it has constantly and dramatically lost voter support during the years’ (Broer 2004). ‘The [DTA] was launched in the wake of the Turnhalle Conference as a multi-racial Coalition of African, European, and Coloured groups. The Coalition was transformed into an integrated political party
in 1991’ (EOM 1999). The RP broke away from the alliance , under the force of ‘mostly whites’, in 2003, and now operates independently (Lebeau and Dima 2005). The youngest party, CoD, ‘the Congress of Democrats is a new party created during 1999. Initially former SWAPO members comprised 37% of the membership and 32% were first time members of a political organisation’ (EOM 1999). ‘The CoD differs from the SWAPO Party, the party it broke away from, in that it desires to have a smaller government, fewer parastatals, more power for the Regions, and a greater role for traditional and religious leaders’ (Boer 2004). ‘MAG [Monitor Action Group] was formed in 1991 by members of the Aksie Christelik Nasionaal (literally, ‘Action Christian National’) alliance, who wanted to concentrate on shaping opinions rather than on conflict politics. MAG, which is historically linked to the Namibian counterpart of South Africa’s National Party (NP), [holds] beliefs [which] are the most fundamentally different from all others, starting with the fact that it does not recognise the (secular) Constitution of the Republic of Namibia’ (Boer 2004) and is a religion-based (mainly Christian) party (Lebeau and Dima 2005). The ‘NUDO considered instituting a government of national unity’ and is ‘representing Herero interests’, the ‘MAG had no interest in forming a government, and ‘the SWAPO Party […] wins in the Oshiwambo-speaking northern regions and […] influence in the Kavango and Caprivi regions [due to ethnic voting patterns]’ (Lebeau and Dima 2005, 22; Simon 1995). Simon (1995, 108) comments on the number of small parties that register for elections: ‘The large number of parties in a population of only 977,742 registered voters is high. One possible explanation for so many political parties is the desire of individuals for power. In addition, the ethnic base of most parties promotes a tendency among parties to view the country’s leadership as being under the control of a particular ethnic group – this factor can negate democratic growth.’ The following section will show a heterogeneous society with several aspects in which the fragmented party system can be motivated. But the reason for the overwhelming SWAPO success, and seemingly the most political factor, is the income level as the analyses will show.  hope of establishing an internal government. The 11 founding parties, including NUDO [National Unity Democratic Organisation] and the RP [Republican Party of Namibia], had walked out of the Turnhalle Constitutional Conference together when the NP [National Party] insisted that certain racist apartheid legislation should be maintained in a proposed new constitution. […] The DTA has been the
official opposition since independence, but it has constantly and dramatically lost voter support during the years’ (Broer 2004). ‘The [DTA] was launched in the wake of the Turnhalle Conference as a multi-racial Coalition of African, European, and Coloured groups. The Coalition was transformed into an integrated political party in 1991’ (EOM 1999). The RP broke away from the alliance , under the force of ‘mostly whites’, in 2003, and now operates independently (Lebeau and Dima 2005). The youngest party, CoD, ‘the Congress of Democrats is a new party created during 1999. Initially former SWAPO members comprised 37% of the membership
and 32% were first time members of a political organisation’ (EOM 1999). ‘The CoD differs from the SWAPO Party, the party it broke away from, in that it desires to have a smaller government, fewer parastatals, more power for the Regions, and a greater role for traditional and religious leaders’ (Boer 2004). ‘MAG [Monitor Action Group] was formed in 1991 by members of the Aksie
Christelik Nasionaal (literally, ‘Action Christian National’) alliance, who wanted to concentrate on shaping opinions rather than on conflict politics. MAG, which is historically linked to the Namibian counterpart of South Africa’s National Party (NP), [holds] beliefs [which] are the most fundamentally different from all others, starting with the fact that it does not recognise the (secular) Constitution of the Republic of Namibia’ (Boer 2004) and is a religion-based (mainly Christian) party (Lebeau and Dima 2005).
The ‘NUDO considered instituting a government of national unity’ and is ‘representing Herero interests’, the ‘MAG had no interest in forming a government, and ‘the SWAPO Party […] wins in the Oshiwambo-speaking northern regions and […] influence in the Kavango and Caprivi regions [due to ethnic voting patterns]’ (Lebeau and Dima 2005, 22; Simon 1995). Simon (1995, 108) comments on the number of small parties that register for elections: ‘The large number of parties in a population of only 977,742 registered voters is high. One possible explanation for so many political parties is the desire of individuals for power. In addition, the ethnic base of most parties promotes a tendency among parties to view the country’s leadership as being under the control of a particular ethnic group – this factor can negate democratic growth.’ The following section will show a heterogeneous society with several aspects in which the fragmented party system can be motivated. But the reason for the overwhelming SWAPO success, and seemingly the most political factor, is the income level as the analyses will show.

Entry filed under: Namibia, PhD, Publication, Southern Africa. Tags: , , .

MF 2014 Manifesto South Africa Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek

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about the blog

This blog is about countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regarding societies, political parties and policies. Most interest will be spent on the countries: Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.

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