Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, November 15, 2004

Life after Nujoma
Namibians are going to the polls to elect the successor to the old war-horse Sam Nujoma. Sam and I have never agreed on many things, and it seems that life after Nujoma will be fairly congruous with life with Nujoma.

Firstly, his likely successor and Land Minister, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has been hand-picked by Nujoma himself, whilst the outgoing President has fired other candidates, without reason, to ensure his stooge's selection as SWAPO's candidate. Secondly, with SWAPO's two-thirds majority, he is virtually ensured of sweeping to victory and continuing Nujoma's principles on land grabs, anti-homosexual rhetoric, and staunch support of Mugabe. Finally, Nujoma is hardly fading into the good night, as he will remain the president of SWAPO, and will clearly retain huge influence in the affairs of the country.

The central election issue was land (In the US, "It's the economy, stupid", in Southern Africa "It's land, stupid"), with SWAPO promising that 162 foreign-owned farms would be expropriated. Whilst Pohamba claims that he will discuss compensation with foreign owners, he seems to be very keen to accelerate the land expropriation program, which could starve Namibia of any lingering, and desperately needed, FDI.