WINDHOEK (Reuters) – Namibia’s ruling SWAPO party was expected to extend its near quarter-century in power in elections on Friday as voters and investors looked for a steady hand to guide the uranium and diamond-producer through a global commodities slump.
The former liberation movement turned governing party has won widespread support at the helm of one of Africa’s healthiest economies through its investment in railways and other infrastructure, and provision of free primary education.
It has faced some dissent in recent years – more than 100 protesters chanted slogans calling for land distribution in the capital last week – and a growing challenge from the resurgent opposition Democratic Turnhalle Alliance.
But analysts say those are unlikely to be enough to threaten SWAPO’s current two-third parliamentary majority in the southern African country.
“We want to propel Namibia to greater prosperity. We want to emancipate our people from economic hardships,” Prime Minister Hage Geingob, a SWAPO stalwart, told thousands of voters in the north as he campaigned to become the country’s third president.
Current President Hifikepunye Pohamba cannot stand again because of a constitutional two-term limit.
“There are problems but not that bad. SWAPO has done a lot and can still do more,” insurance salesman Willem Xoagub, told Reuters.