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Namibia Expects New Head of Opposition


In Namibia, observers say the ruling SWAPO party (South West Africa People’s Organization) is likely to maintain its lead in both the presidential and parliamentary elections. However, they say the official opposition in the 72-member National Assembly is expected to change hands – from the coalition led by the Democratic Turnhalle Alliance to the Congress of Democrats (CoD) led by former freedom fighter Ben Ulenga.

Mr. Ulenga says the DTA is a party of the past – created by South Africans during independence to try to maintain its grip on Namibia. As for the ruling party, SWAPO, he says it is not democratic and has failed to improve the economy, education, and health. He says it has also failed to exercise good governance. Mr. Ulenga says the differences between the many small opposition parties in the National Assembly are not based on ideology. He says his group, the CoD, has been working hard to bring the opposition together, and he believes that united, they can “launch an onslaught against SWAPO.”

Mr. Ulenga, who was himself a liberation fighter, credits President Sam Nujoma with leading the country to independence nearly 15 years ago. But he says the negative side of his legacy has been nepotism and corruption – two problems his movement will try to reverse. The anti-corruption group Transparency International ranked Namibia as among the least corrupt in Africa.