Namibian president set for re-election next month amid economic crisis

Hage Gottfried Geingob, president of Namibia, looks on during a session of WEF on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, September 5, 2019. (Reuters/File)
Updated 18 October 2019

Namibian president set for re-election next month amid economic crisis

  • Geingob, Namibia’s third president since rule by apartheid South Africa ended in 1990, is seeking a second and final term
  • Fourteen political parties will take part in this year’s election

WINDHOEK: Namibians will elect a president on Nov. 27, with Hage Geingob expected to be returned with a reduced margin as voters complain about the worst economic crisis since independence nearly 30 years ago.
Geingob, Namibia’s third president since rule by apartheid South Africa ended in 1990, is seeking a second and final term.
He is being challenged by nine other hopefuls including a member of his own SWAPO party, Panduleni Itula, who is running as an independent. The country will also elect 96 members of parliament.
SWAPO, the former liberation movement turned governing party, currently has 77 seats in parliament while its closest rival, the Popular Democratic Movement, has five.
Geingob, who served as the country’s first prime minister from 1990 to 2002 and between 2012 and 2015, won his first presidential election with 87% of the vote.
The southern African nation’s economy has contracted in the last two financial years. The Fitch ratings agency, the International Monetary Fund and the country’s central bank all expect a third year of contraction in 2019.
Analysts say Geingob’s administration has failed to decisively deal with corruption.
Namibia uses a majority system for presidential elections, in which the candidate with more than 50% of votes is declared the winner, and a proportional representation system for legislative elections.
Fourteen political parties will take part in this year’s election.
Regional and international observers have largely declared Namibia’s past elections as fair and credible, however the opposition has expressed concern about plans to use electronic voting machines without a paper trail that can be audited in the event of an election dispute.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

Related